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Dublin Travel Guide

The Best Pubs in Dublin, According to Locals

It started as a quest to get a pint before dinner. It ended with a slight bit of adventure, a few pints down and new friends.

After a day of sightseeing in Dublin, my boyfriend and I wanted to wind down and take in some of the local scene (people watching is one of my favorite activities) before meeting our group for dinner. We picked a random pub not too far from the hotel but one that also looked quaint and packed; we figured the crowds were a good sign. A tight squeeze with nowhere to sit, I felt like karma had beckoned to us when a woman told us she was getting up. While we snuck into the seats, another couple had the same idea. We claimed them, fair and square, but ended up chatting with Colette and “Irish Stu” and learned that we had some interesting connections to home.

A few minutes later, we were following them to Stu’s “favorite bar.” Another pint down at The Palace Bar and we learned what truly made this one of Dublin’s best watering holes. We also learned that while The Temple Bar is worth a visit for the history, it’s a bit of a tourist trap that locals avoid. Well, not only did we pick their brains about other places to sip, but we asked just about anyone sitting next to us for the rest of the trip for their recommendations, too. Here are 8 Irish Pubs in Dublin that the locals hang out at.

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The Palace Bar

There is something truly special about The Palace Bar. Small stools and communal tables mean that strangers become friends, giving up chairs and pushing tables together so that everyone has a place to be. Hardly a phone in sight, it’s a quintessential Irish pub that has maintained its ethos through the years. If we didn’t have people waiting on us, we would have sat there the rest of the evening sipping pints and soaking up all of Dublin we could.

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Mary’s Bar & Hardware

Nestled among all the glitz and glam of Grafton Street and the surrounding area is Mary’s Bar & Hardware. Set to look like a hardware store where everything in the bar is actually for sale, the amount of students strolling in from Trinity College made it pretty noticeable later in the evening. Once inside, there were Dubliners of all ages hanging out at crowded tables, singing along to the live music and even playing card games. We sat next to two brothers who introduced us to Baby Guinness shots and insisted we sip up all of Ireland’s specialties.


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Vintage Cocktail Club

A speakeasy with a door that reads only “VCC” in small letters, this spot came recommended by our friends at Mary’s Hardware. Reservations are highly suggested as space can fill up quickly, even if popping in only for a cocktail. The Vintage Cocktail Club menu takes imbibers through history via cocktails. Low lights, candles, and a roaring fire transport you back to the 1920s for a fully immersive experience.

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The Mint Bar

Inside the College Green Hotel in Dublin is an experience not to be missed at The Mint Bar. While it used to be a bank vault, the designers did their best to create an exclusive, upscale experience. Sure, you can go for a pint of Guinness, but The Mint’s signature cocktail and mocktail creations are well-balanced and unique. Or, sip a classic cocktail amongst the classics, as the moody bar is decorated with books, a calling card of Dublin as it was home to great literary composers (like Jonathan Swift and James Joyce) as well as the famous Trinity College Library.

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The Hairy Lemon

Recommended by one of our drivers and just about everyone else we met is The Hairy Lemon. However, there is nothing fancy about this place. A local watering hole with several bars and tables squeezed in throughout wherever they can fit, this pub is packed to the brim at all hours of the day and night, and it’s easy to see why. The traditional Irish fare is delicious, the drink menu is truly no-fuss and The Hairy Lemon is the perfect gathering place for a bit of laid-back fun.

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Bar 1661

Recommended by two top mixologists living in Ireland as well as friend Lindsay Myers (a travel journalist who frequents Ireland), was Bar 1661. This cocktail bar is all about elevating the cocktail scene in Ireland and showcasing what local ingredients can do. Highly awarded, this bar has a cocktail for everyone. However, Belfast Coffee is what it is known for. A spin on the traditional, this coffee is made with cold brew and poitín, which is a traditional Irish distilled spirit. A healthy menu of innovative and yet truly Irish cocktails will make this a repeat performance during your time in Dublin.

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The Bankers Bar

One of Dublin’s traditional Irish pubs, The Bankers Bar is the perfect place to pull up a stool and have a pint (which takes 119.5 seconds to pour, and the bartenders will all tell you so!). It was one of the most welcoming places we stopped in Dublin, and it was absolutely packed to the brim with Dubliners of all ages. No frills, no fuss, kind patrons, bartenders who serve with a smile; it’s Irish hospitality at its finest.

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The Long Hall

Full of charm and character in the coolest way possible is The Long Hall. One of the oldest bars in Dublin, it still looks the part, as Victorian-era. There are antique clocks, elaborate carvings, and chandeliers that are mismatched, giving it so much character. Many of these things are rumored to have been unchanged since the late 1800s, and having a Jameson and ginger ale here is like stepping back in time. It has one of the most attentive bar staff, who are friendly and helpful, but this is a bar’s bar – peanuts and crisps only alongside tipples and drams.

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Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Leinster

Set to open in March 2024 is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first foray into the Irish market. Perched atop this new, Georgian-style hotel, the rooftop restaurant is stunning with marble floors, beautifully upholstered seating options, and tall trees designed to mimic the outside coming in. However, the cocktail menu is one you won’t want to miss if in Dublin. We were able to get a sneak peek prior to opening and each drink is made with innovation, as well as unique flavors. The coffee and raspberry cocktail is made with clarified soy yogurt and is one of the most surprising sips on the menu, while the Tarragon is a fresh take on the herbal ad vegetal cocktail trend that’s growing in popularity in the States. Meanwhile, the Peach and the Passionfruit transform a traditional Bellini into something next level. Both are available as a mocktail.