Traditional Pubs, Dublin
Mc Daids is one of Dublins pubs that regularly features on the 'Top 10' Traditional Pubs in Dublin.
We chose to go here after viewing the statue of Phil Lynott, which is opposite this pub. We'd just been to the Green Gallery in the Stephen Green Shopping centre, where there was a sketch of Philo posing outside McDaids.
McDaids was established in 1779, previously it was sited at another nearby location on Chatham Street.
This present building was previously one of Dublins morgues (it was also a one time Moravian Chapel) This was a favoured place for Irish writers including Patrick Kavenagh. McDaids was the setting for Grace, by James Joyce.
Our visit was on a Saturday lunchtime, and surprisingly, it wasn't too busy. We took a stool at the bar and waited for our Guinness to be poured. There is a selection of bitters and lagers too - Kilkenny, Smithwicks, Heineken, Carlsburg, Becks and Stella Artois, as well as wines and spirits - (there looked to be a good selection of Irish (and Scottish) Whisky/Whiskey) as well as soft drinks/tea and coffee. A traditional pub with dark wooden furnishings and fittings. Some lovely old tiles on the walls and bar, stained glass and old mirrors.
There are plenty of interesting articles in frames on the wall, including the history of McDaids and James Joyce amongst others. Photo's of past visitors also - check out Hilary Clinton enjoying a drink here!. This bar is opposite the 5* Westin Hotel%L, where the rich and famous stay when they're in Dublin.
Smoking area at the front of the pub.
Sports, particularly Rugby, are shown on the TV screen in the bar.
Dress Code: Casual attire, but No Stag Party gear! We witnessed one such group dressed casually, but 'the stag' was dressed as a leprechaun - No way was the bar tender allowing them in!
The Black Sheep Tavern is a cozy nook that specializes in Irish craft beers. It's located in North Dublin, on the corner of Capel and Parnell Streets. I'm grateful to the bartender at the Bull and Castle for steering me here!
Across the street from Christ Church Cathedral, the Bull & Castle is a tavern that is proud to serve a very broad and diverse Irish and international beers. I found my bartender here to one of the most knowledgeable fellows about beer that I met in Ireland. Very good selection of local favorites. Be sure to ask your bartender and see if they have anything from the Brown Paper Bag Project.
Mulligan's is one of the most attractive historic pubs in Dublin. It's located on Poolbeg Street, close to the River Liffey. Stepping inside is akin to a trip in a time machine. Wonderful lincrusta wallpaper.
"When the Scotch House closed they went round to Mulligan's. They went into the parlour at the back and O'Halloran ordered small hot specials all round. They were all beginning to feel mellow. Farrington was just standing another round when Weathers came back. Much to Farrington's relief he drank a glass of bitter this time. Funds were getting low but they had enough to keep them going. Presently two young women with big hats and a young man in a check suit came in and sat at a table close by. Weathers saluted them and told the company that they were out of the Tivoli. Farrington's eyes wandered at every moment in the direction of one of the young women. "
-- James Joyce, "Counterparts" in _Dubliners_
Camden St is ok , still a lot of touristy pubs in terms of Flannerys, The Palace etc. If you want some good old fashined non tourist pubs try Nearys on Chatham St or Mulligans on Poolbeg St. THe buses run until 11.30 Sunday to Thursday and then at the weekend they have what are called Nitelinks .
Dress Code: NA
We were looking for somewhere fairly near to our hotel (by Connelly Station) for a quiet drink, so we didn't fancy the bustle of Temple Bar. I remembered seeing this place during one of my previous visits and thought that it looked a likely place.
Well, it was a good choice, and turned out to be our favourite bar. We returned here the following night and enjoyed a meal here too.
The Oval is a traditional Victorian pub, built in 1820, it still has some of its original features. Due to its location, a few doors down from the General Post Office, it suffered considerable damage during the 1916 rising, and had to be rebuilt
One of 'The Newspaper pubs', as staff from the Independant newspapers used to frequent the bar. Apparently, some of the regulars are immortalised in sketches adourning the Ovals walls.
The Oval Bar isn't named after it's bar -(it's rectangular, not Oval shaped) but from the lunette (glass window) above the 2 storeyed bow-window facade. It is quite an unusual architectural design.
For some strange reason, this friendly and authentic hostelery doesn't seem to appear in the many lists of 'Dublins Top 10 Traditional Pubs'. It appeared to be popular with locals, workers and visitors of all ages and characters. Perhaps it's a blessing that it isn't one of the Top 10, as we had space to sit in comfort, and enjoy the ambiance.
So, first impressions - A traditional Irish pub, with a polished dark wood, marble topped bar, brass fittings, tiled floor, mirrors, shaded lights.
A friendly welcome from the bar man, who invited us to 'take a seat, and I'll bring your drinks over'
We soon made ourselves comfortable. A good pint (or two) of The Black Stuff, quiet conversation and 'people watching' it soon became clear to us, that the bar staff were very professional hosts- discreetly watching to see that their customers/'guests' weren't left waiting for a drink, anticipating that we might want food before they stopped serving (we'd already eaten), working the bar with a calm, natural ease.
On first glimpse, The Oval appeared to be quite small, but it actually has 3 floors!
The toilets are downstairs - entered through a gap in the wall opposite the bar.
Outside on the front is a seating/smoking area to enjoy the warmer days/nights
On the two nights that we were here, the Darts Grand Prix semi-final and final were being played 20 minutes away at the Citywest hotel and Conference Centre. The matches were playing on the TV screens in the bar. Now, neither of us are huge fans of televised sports, least of all darts, but we were soon drawn into the exciting final between 15 times world Champion, Phil 'The Power' Taylor, and 'local boy' Brendan Dolan, a former decorator from County Fermanagh.
According to the bars website, all 'Big Matches' are shown here, and it's a popular pre and/or post match venue for those heading to/from Croke Park.
NOT to be confused with The Oval, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge.
Background music of soft rock at a comfortable low volume. (we didn't hear any traditional or otherwise Irish music) I'm not sure if there are any live music sessions.
Prices (October 2011)
Pint Guinness 4.25 Euros
Glass Guinness 2.55
Pint Heineken 4.65
Glass Heineken 2.75
OPENING HOURS: Open Daily, from 10-30 (12-00 Sunday) to 23-30 (00-30 Friday and Saturday, 23-00 Sunday)
Dress Code: Not as far as I could see.
Although it is not located within the core of the Temple Bar area, it is among the pubs with the best reputation. Or maybe it is because it is outside of it and thus not found by the Temple Bar drunkards. Still, it has an open atmosphere and tourists are as welcome as locals here. Whenever I appeared here, it seemed to be full of life. Even in the morning after St. Patrick’s Day, some locals seem to come here for a pint of breakfast. The front bar gives you the impression that this is a rather small pub. However, it consists of several other rooms with additional bars, including one in the first floor and another in the basement. Beside usual live music, further events like book readings, comedy and whatever you can imagine take place here. It is also the place where the 1916 rebellion walking tour starts, one of the things in Dublin I cannot praise high enough. To sum up, this pub is among my favourite ones in Dublin.
A day before New Year's Eve 2006 I finally made it to Dawson’s Lounge. Dawson’s Lounge is located on Dawson Street, just a step away from St Stephen’s Green and around the corner from Grafton Street. It is advertised as Dublin’s smallest pub and I was previously jinxed in always visiting Dublin the few days when they were closed for some private functions. So I was pretty excited to finally find it open and met VTer Krumel there.
It sure was worth the wait. I absolutely love pubs with an atmosphere, and this little bar sure was oozing with it. You enter through a very narrow set of stairs that lead down to a little room that is vaguely reminiscent of a private living room and can be considered chockablock once you have a dozen people or so inside. The atmosphere was great and we soon got talking to a bunch of people from all over the place and fell out the door a few hours later to wake up with a severe hangover afterwards.
Dress Code: Come as you are
The Porterhouse chain only has five pubs - in Bray, Temple bar (Dublin) , Glasnevin (why ?) and 2 in London.
The pub in Parliment Street is perhaps mainly frequented by tourists and beer-lovers, rather than 'locals' , but is still very worthwhile sampling.
The signs in the pub could be seen as a direct dig against Guinness -
e.g "Home of the best stout in the world", when the Guinness brewery is only about half a mile up the road. Another sign says "Home of the largest Irish-owned brewery in the world".
They brew eight different beers here, including several stouts (originally called Porters after the men who used to drink the stuff in ancient markets), ales and lagers.
I was especially enamoured of the Porterhouse Red, which was a fine hoppy brew.
This micro-brewery is a refreshing throwback to the days when the Liffey was lined with small breweries - before the days of mass production and mass-marketing. Support it - and enjoy it!
One of my favourite pubs in Dublin is the Palace Bar in Temple Bar. It's frequented by an older crowd, mainly journalists and writers... what can i say?? it's one of those old style pubs like there are very few left - where people go to talk to drink - not just to see and be seen
Dress Code: definitely informal. it's what you are that counts, and what you say - not what you look like.
in my opinion the stags head is one of the nicest pubs in dublin. dating back to 1770 it has beautiful woodwork and interesting stained glass windows. even for those who do not drink it is worth stopping in for a look.
Dress Code: casual.
This was the best Pub I visited while in Dublin visiting my son who was in college at Trinity. He showed this place to me, with its inside patio and all its nooks and crannies. Of course the Guiness is wonderful and poured correctly, and the Craic is fine and the music is fine....Being with my son during his college years was the unbeatable best thing! I have a picture of us in the Hairy Lemon that I will have to scan and then I will add to this notice....Thanks for the memories!
Dress Code: not that I saw
'The international bar' is something of an institution in Dublin. And by that I don't mean it is a place they put you in if you are 'nuts'.
The bar stands imposingly on Wicklow street, Dublin 2, but the insides feel full even if there are only half a dozen people in the place. It's authenically Irish as you are going to get with a collection of pub furniture and nic-nacs that any Irish-themed pub would kill for. The difference is that these bits and pieces have been built up over the years in an ad-hoc way rather than being bought in a job-lot at an auction by a so-called interior designer.
Between the mirrors, tiles and dark wood it is a very traditional drinking hole where conversation should rule. Thankfully that conversation is created by a mix of people from all walks of like with just a sprinkiling of tourists that means the place actually lives up to its' name.
The international bar has had a healthy policy of diversification in the past few years (like the best farms eh ?) so a number of other thriving operations are in operation apart from the 'core business' of flogging vast amounts of the black stuff.
There is a theatre space upstairs that mounts everything from highbrow shakespere to wierdo fringe rubbish. The downstairs cellar hosts a regular club that is very well regarded. i believe it was founded by Ardal O'Hanlon who is best known for his 'Father Dougal' character in the Father Ted T.V comedy series.
It is also the base for the '1916 rebel walking tour'. I've not taken the tour myself, but I believe it has had a series of excellent reviews.
Dress Code: clothes
I came across this interesting traditional pub, early Monday evening. I was hoping to hear some traditional live music (away from the tourist type bars).
This was originally a music shop, that specialised in selling and repairing traditional Irish musical instruments. The repair shop is still in operation on the upper floor. If you look at the pub sign hanging outside (pic 1), it says " J Mc Neill Pub Music Shop. In the window is a display of musical instruments. This business was established in 1834. Th old fashioned front of the shop is complete contrast to its neighbour - The 'Barbie pink' sex shop - 'Good Vibrations'!! (pic 3)
A framed newspaper article in the window of Mc Neills stated that there was live music each night. This is the kind of place where people just walk in with their instruments and play, others join in playing or singing.
Well it was a bit early, but I decided to go in. The place was empty apart from the barman, standing behind the dark wood bar that dominated the small narrow front room. I ordered a half pint of Guinness and took a seat near the fireplace. A notice above the fire stated that this area was for the use of musicians, and that anyone else sitting here might be asked to move. Well as there wasn't anyone else in here I stayed put. The bar is quite traditionally (and authentically) furnished and decorated. (I'm afraid that my photographs are too dark to see clearly). The bar man also wore the waistcoat and tie, that is the uniform seen in Irish pubs
On the wall opposite was a large etched mirror, advertising D.W.D. (Dublin Whisky Distillery) 10 year old Whisky. This was illuminated by 2 old glass lamps.
The old fireplace was quite ornate. There wasn't a fire in the grate, but I'm sure there would be in the cold winter. There was a fire screen and coal scuttle in front of the fire.
Off this room was a corridor, with another small room. Toilets are up a flight of stairs. There is another Toilet outside in the small enclosed 'Smokers Yard' where there are stools and barrels used as tables. This was quite a pleasant area.
There was no sign of any musicians, and there had been less than a handful of customers. I ordered another Guinness and asked if there would be music later. I was told that it's mainly later in the week and the weekend. I was a bit disappointed, but I'd enjoyed a sit down with a Guinness, with some peace and quiet - It had been a long day (I'd spent most of it exploring Howth) so set off back to my hostel (Calling in for a nightcap at O'Sheas hotel-where there was Live Music )
Hopefully, I'll return here one day, when there is Live Music.
Dress Code: Casual.
O'Sheas is located in a Georgian building. It is"An institution in the city, renowned for its traditional Irish music & set dancing"
It was Traditional Irish Music 'Pub of the Year 2003' and received an Award for being A Traditional Irish Music bar in 2006. These awards are displayed outside (pic 2)
I visited this bar a couple of times during my weekend stay, as it was at the end of the street, where my hostel was located, and being a hotel had a late bar (which was still open after I'd arrived back from the Saturday nights Bruce Springsteen concert. - I wasn't so lucky on the Sunday night, when the bar closes earlier, but I nipped in again on the Monday for a nightcap and more live music).
The Traditional dark wooden bar is located in the hotels basement. It is divided into different areas, with seating and tables. Food is served here - traditional and International dishes, from Breakfast until evening. There is an extensive menu displayed outside (pic 2)
On the Saturday night, there was a lively atmosphere. It was quite busy, but not too crowded- i.e you could get served easily, and you could walk to a table with your drink intact!
I ordered a pint of Guinness, and found a spot where I could enjoy the live music and 'people watch' A duo were singing traditional Irish and folk songs, accompanied by their fiddle and guitar. A group of friends and family? of different generations were enjoying their night out, dancing, singing and laughing.
I spent some time chatting to a Dutch couple who'd been to the Springsteen concert too.
On the Monday night, again there was live music from a man playing guitar, and a young girl playing Violin/fiddle. They were very good too. Again, there was a good atmosphere.
I felt quite comfortable here by myself.
This hotel bar, maintains an authentic traditional atmosphere, which is popular with locals- elderly men sitting at the bar, families and friends sitting at tables or standing chatting.
Mainly 30+ age range.
Dress Code: Casual to casual smart - Some of the locals were dressed up for their night out, others were in jeans, t-shirts, jumpers.
Waterproof Jackets/ Umbrellas were in evidence- Dublin was enjoying a rainy weekend - There had been a few torrential downpours!