Dublin Nightlife

While the live music is still robust in the city, in Dublin's dance clubs the dominant sound is once again becoming electronic dance music, and the crowd that flocks to them every night of the week is of the trendy, under-30 generation. Leeson Street—just off St. Stephen's Green, south of the Liffey, and known as "the strip"—is a slightly frayed and uncool nightclub area aimed at the over-30

crowd that revs up at pub closing time and stays active until 4 am. The dress code at Leeson Street's dance clubs is informal, but jeans and sneakers are not welcome. Most don't charge to get in but they have hefty markups on drinks.

Despite rampant remodeling during the boom years, the traditional pub has steadfastly clung to its role as the primary center of Dublin's social life. The city has nearly 1,000 pubs ("licensed tabernacles," writer Flann O'Brien calls them). And although the vision of elderly men enjoying a chin-wag over a creamy pint of stout has become something of a rarity in the city center, there are still plenty of places where you can enjoy a quiet (or not so quiet) drink and a chat. Last drinks are called at 11:30 pm Monday to Thursday, 12:30 am Friday and Saturday, and 11 pm on Sunday. Some city-center pubs have extended opening hours and don't serve last drinks until 1:45 am.

As a general rule, the area between Grafton and Great George's streets is a gold mine for classy pubs. Another good bet is the Temple Bar district (though some of the newer ones are all plastic and mirrors), but things can get a little rowdy there. And if it's real spit-on-the-floor hideaways you're after, head across the Liffey to the areas around Parnell Square or Smithfield. Beware of the tourist-trap, faux-traditional pubs where you can hardly hear the music for the roar of the seven flat-screen TVs.

Most pubs serve food at lunchtime, many throughout the day and into the early evening. This is an inexpensive way to eat out, and the quality of the food is often quite good.

If you will need late-night transportation, try to arrange it with your hotel before you go out.

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Dublin Nightlife

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The Liquor Rooms

  • Bars/Pubs

This quality cocktail joint under the Clarance Hotel consists of individually designed rooms and a huge list of expertly made cocktails.

The Long Hall

  • Bars/Pubs

One of Dublin's most ornate traditional taverns, the Long Hall has Victorian lamps, a mahogany bar, mirrors, chandeliers, and plasterwork...

The Mint Bar

  • Music Clubs

A basement venue set in a former bank vault, the Mint Bar is a classic cocktail bar presenting live jazz, lounge, and swing music Thursday...

The Odeon

  • Bars/Pubs

The converted main building of Harcourt Street's old railway station houses this large, modern bar. Both the lunch and dinner menus include...

The Old Stand

  • Bars/Pubs

One of the oldest pubs in the city, the Old Stand is named after the now demolished Old Stand at Lansdowne Road stadium, home to Irish...

The Porterhouse

  • Bars/Pubs

One of the few bars in Ireland to brew its own beer, the Plain Porter has won the best stout award at the "Brewing Oscars," beating out...

The Sugar Club

  • Music Clubs

There's a touch of Vegas about this landmark venue with the tables and chairs on tiered levels that look down on the stage. The Sugar...

The Turk's Head

  • Dance Clubs

The Turk's Head pub/nightclub is known for its extravagant mosaics, Moroccan woodwork, bits of Arabian Nights decor, and its world-culture...

The Workman's Club

  • Music Clubs

Housed in a former workingman's club, this no-frills, hip spot specializes in indie club nights and attracts an artistic and hipster...


  • Bars/Pubs

Though billed as a Victorian bar, Toner's actually goes back 200 years, with an original flagstone floor to prove its antiquity, as well...


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