The capital and largest city in Ireland, Dublin, which is also the capital of the province of Leinster, is located on the country’s east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. The city, which boasts a population of nearly 1.4 million permanent residents, is unique in that it incorporates all the history and traditions of the Old Country, mixed with its modern infrastructure and architecture, to create a truly diverse city that is loved by its people.
With ancient structures like the Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral leading the way, Dublin has remained a popular tourist destination for centuries, drawing millions of people each year from across the globe, some coming to learn about their Irish heritage and others merely enthralled with the Irish culture.
Speaking of culture, drinking and bars are a big part of Dublin’s identity, and the city is by far the country’s busiest nightlife destination, boasting hundreds of pubs, bars, lounges and other nighttime hotspots within the city limits—haunts that are always packed to the gills, particularly on weekends and on important “drinking holidays,” such as St. Patrick’s Day.
In the following article we will highlight several of the best and brightest drinking establishments in the city of Dublin, including a cursory description of each locale’s drink and grub offerings; amenities; and the typical crowd and atmosphere you’re likely to find at each bar.
Located at 57 Harcourt Street in the Dublin City Center, Odeon is NOT your traditional Irish pub. Recently reopened after a fairly extensive remodel, Odeon is a superbly lavish and plush drinking locale, sporting dark curtains and Old World lampshades that emit a warm and romantic glow throughout the bar and restaurant areas.
The Odeon Bar serves up all the traditional libations—beer, wine and spirits—and their in-house-inspired medley of cocktails is truly special and satisfying. Among the many original concoctions you will find here are the Spiced Mojito, a combination of cardamom-infused Cuban spiced rum and fresh lime juice, topped with mint and spiced pineapple; the Guy Fawkes, made with gunpowder tea-infused gin and a blackberry truffle; and their own special take on the Manhattan, with house-made truffle bitters to give it a wonderful smoky taste. The bar even has an impressive cache of dessert drinks, including their Edible Collins (made with gin and jelly) and an array of Hot and Cold Cosmopolitans.
Soft jazz and blues music is piped into the bar over a great sound system at this dress-to-impress bar—a wonderful place for an anniversary dinner and cocktail.
The Garage Bar
Located in the Temple Bar community of Dublin, the Garage Bar is a laidback establishment with over 50 varieties of draught beer on tap, including the ever so popular Guinness Ale. A bit of a departure from some of the other cookie-cutter style Irish pubs in the city, the Garage Bar, which is located on Essex Street, boasts an open floor plan and furnishings that seem more suitable for a mechanic’s shop than a bar. Here you will find vintage 1950s gas pumps scattered throughout the space, a bar front fashioned from all car doors, sawdust floors and seating around old wooden tables with a tire base.
The unique décor is not the only thing that drives waves of customers to this fun drinking establishment. The Garage Bar features great prices on pitchers of beer and reasonably priced cocktails that are mixed fresh and ably by the friendly bartenders. Great music is always pumping out of the bar’s jukebox, and the two pool tables at the back of the club are always bustling with happy partiers.
37 Dawson Street
Formerly known as Ron Black’s, 37 Dawson Street is a lively and ritzy lounge, a space that boasts more than its fair share of antiques, and accents that include decorative curtains, custom-made sofas, a roaring fireplace and animal heads adorning the walls. There are four separate and unique areas in this light-filled and very large bar, each with its own personality. In one room you are likely to find antique bookshelves packed with first-edition scripts, only to find a neon-based dance floor and DJ booth in the next,
The drink menu at 37 Dawson Street is extensive and delicious, and while most customers are known to sip on wine and classic cocktails, others turn to the signature menu of libations, such as their No. 37 Bloody Mary, a mixture of Absolut Vodka, tomato juice and an amazing combination of eleven different spices, condiments and juices. One of the four distinct rooms, known as the Whiskey Bar, has a separate entrance and seating area, where patrons can sample over a 100 different varieties of whiskey while relaxing on comfy leather sofas that will melt away the worries of the day.
The Black Sheep
With a name indicative of a true Irish pub, the Black Sheep, located on Capel Street in Dublin’s City Centre District, is the sister bar to Camden Street’s Against the Grain pub. The Black Sheep has a rustic vibe and atmosphere, punctuated with wide wooden tables and a range of fun board games stashed away for a competitive game night among friends.
The Black Sheep is the type of place where the clientele may stay for hours to enjoy the great beer, wine and terrific food—an Irish-inspired menu of snacks, appetizers and calorie-packed comfort meals. There are over 100 craft beers on tap at the Black Sheep, making it one of the preferred destinations for beer and ale aficionados in the city, of which there are many.
The Rum Bar
Also located in the city’s downtown quarter, the Rum Bar is the place to go for the sweet island liquor from which it takes its name, as the bar carries more than 100 different varieties of rum from around the world.
The Rum Bar, which boasts a rather relaxed atmosphere and a speakeasy-type feel, is packed most nights of the week during happy hour, mostly with the city’s working class, but it also hosts a much younger crowd into the late-night hours, when the music starts pumping and straight-up shots become the most popular order.
Bridge in Dublin by clairetardy/Pixabay CC0 license