On your way to Dublin? Hate to break it to ya, but it’s going to be a boozy one (embrace it!). Before we get started, I think it’s important to open one’s mind to foreign cultures, I therefore believe that your transition into Irish culture should happen via the following 4 drinks:
-The traditional pint of Guinness – Whether you like stout or not. People should be made to drink one as they step off the plane. It’s a rite of passage. Irish culture at its core (how do you think people cope with the abominable Irish weather??). If you’re really reticent, I’ll allow the half-pint.
-An Irish coffee – Black coffee spiked with whiskey topped off with cream.
-A Baileys coffee – Milky coffee spiked with Baileys topped off with cream. One of my absolute favourites.
-A shot of Baby Guinness – Made with Kahlua & Baileys. It’s like dessert in a shot glass, you can’t go wrong.
Also, I’d recommend refraining from ordering an Irish Car Bomb – personally I’ll laugh at anything but remember it’s a purely American invention and ordering it will make you look like an insufferable tool. Toodles!
If your weapon of choice is cocktails:
Fade Street Social (Rooftop) –
Great cocktails, pricey but delicious nibbles and a roof terrace with a giant baby. Super central. Perfect on a nice day.
Drury buildings (Outside seated area with roll-out cover) –
Cocktails are nice, location is also very central but I think their selling point is the cute little outside area.
East Side Tavern (Few tables outside) –
I have a particularly soft spot for this place because I used to live really close to it, I love the decor inside, they make a mean cocktail and I have a favourite barman there. They also used to have a bottomless mimosa brunch which I only got the chance to try once (they stopped doing it out of the blue – I suspect because of people like me who can happily down 10 mimosas on a Sunday morning).
The Bar With No Name (Covered rooftop outdoor seating) –
Commonly referred to as No Name Bar, to find it look for a door between Hogan’s and Fade Street Social (blink and you’ll miss it); there’s no sign outside indicating that this is in fact a bar. But don’t be scared, open the door, go up the stairs and get yourself a dreeeenk. Once again, the big selling point for me here is the outdoor area. Cocktails are good, ambiance is good, but the circus tent roof and fairy lights are the one for me.
Grogan’s (Tables available outside) –
This is one of Dublin’s unmissables. Old, not that much seating, but there are tables outside and as I’ve said before they pour one of the best pints in the city. You’ll always find locals there. Don’t forget to grab yourself a toastie if you get peckish.
Arguably the BEST pint in Dublin. This place is very small and there’s always that same man talking to himself at the counter (No honestly. This one time I was waiting at the bar checking out my split ends, thinking he was having a conversation with the barman. Then I realised the barman had been standing there looking at me expectantly for a while waiting for my order while the other guy was in fact having a hilarious conversation with himself.)
O’Donoghue’s (Covered and uncovered courtyard) –
Another unmissable one. This pub has two entrances, the normal entrance to the left and the courtyard entrance to the right. Again, one of the best pints in Dublin. If you’re looking for wine, know that it will be served to you out of a small bottle (you know like the ones you get on planes). This place has such an authentic feel to it and quite often you’ll be able to catch locals playing trad’ music there (often involving spoons as a percussion instrument – I shit you not – it’s an Irish thing). My first time there, there was a table of about 20 people outside, all of them singing sad traditional Irish songs. It was so beautiful I got instant goosebumps.
Doheny & Nesbitt across the way is also worth a visit.
Toner’s (Courtyard in the back) –
One of the oldest pubs in Dublin, Toner’s is down the road from O’Donoghue’s. Great pint, charming pub and beer garden (to access the beer garden you need to exit the pub and go to the end of the alley on your left).
Anything going in terms of drinks, it’s all about the place itself:
Cafe en Seine –
The decor in this pub is unique: old school, fancy and velvety. It’s very small but SO worth checking out.
The Barge (Covered tables outside + permission to cross the street to sit by the canal) –
Used to be my local, I therefore love this place. The inside is unique, with the barge-like ceiling and various corners you can hide in. I would however also recommend you grab a drink inside, cross the street and sit on the pavement by the canal.
McGrattan’s (Courtyard in the back) –
I never went to McGrattan’s much because it just didn’t look like much from the outside, lost at the end of an alleyway, I therefore only discovered it shortly before I left Dublin. It’s actually a great place, incredibly cosy inside and – BONUS POINTS – they have pool tables. There’s also a ‘Hall of Fame’ of pictures all over of its walls of countless celebrities who have come to the pub over the last few decades. Finally, the place is buzzing outside on sunny days.
The Church (Outdoor seating) –
Good for coffee or drinks – the main appeal here is that it’s a Church that’s been converted into a bar (and therefore worth going to at least once).
There are so many more epic places I could name but the whole point is to narrow it down for you so I’ll stop here.