Grafton Street is Dublin’s lively entertainment and shopping hub. Its humble beginnings date back to the 1700s when the area was merely surrounded by marshes and shamrock-hued farmland for grazing livestock. It later morphed into a peaceful country lane for upper-class residents and today, it’s a thriving district brimming with buskers, artists, musicians and a blend of local and international shops that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The meandering streets begin at St. Stephen’s Green in the southside and finish at the foot of the legendary Trinity College Dublin in the northside, just a 10-minutes walk from the River Liffey.
Afterwards, tired souls (and soles) seek refuge, relaxation and thirst-quenching satiation in pubs nearby. Here are best bets in and around Grafton Street to toast sláinte to a good drink or two.
Providing liquid refreshment since 1823, this storied Victorian building features Irish pub hallmarks such as private snugs, stained glass windows, a lacquered wood bar and smoky mirrors. Contrasting its old-world decor is a gamut of lively, vivacious locals who enjoy pints of Guinness and Irish whiskies such as Teeling, Redbreast and Connemara.
This tiny pub opened in 1887 and is named after its original proprietor Thomas Neary. Today, it is a cherished UNESCO City of Literature Bar located in the Theatre District and close to The Gaiety Theatre, so don’t be surprised to find yourself chatting it up with post-performance stage artists in the evenings. It’s also been a stalwart fixture for famed Irish poets and scholars seeking libations and lively conversations.
3. Davy Byrnes
Literary luminary James Joyce enjoyed frequenting these premises so much that he famously referenced the pub in his novel, Ulysses. It is no surprise then that Davy Byrnes pub has been on many people’s bucket (and drinking) lists. It offers a convivial atmosphere and the robust drink menu features local whiskies, cocktails, champagne and an enticing international wine list. Should you desire to pay homage to Joyce, then order the Bloomsday Special: Gorgonzola cheese and a glass of burgundy.
In its previous life as The Maltings, the pub was a revered political and literary hub. It attracted legends such as poet John Betjeman and actor Charlie Chaplin. Today, as The Bailey Bar, it has been reincarnated into a light, airy and contemporary spot for al fresco dining on the expansive outdoor patio. Feature drink favourites include more than 50 international wines, a thoughtfully curated list of local whiskies and the chance to craft your own gin and tonic.
This modernist, industrial-chic space with golden tones is a popular spot with the after-work crowd. Creative cocktails here wreak happy havoc on your tastebuds. The crowd-pleaser is the sweet L&D Espresso Martini. For those seeking alternatives to dessert in a glass, there’s also the unique tank Beer. Lemon & Duke is one of only two bars in Ireland to serve unpasteurized beer. Sipping these next-level fresh suds allows you to tap into fuller and richer flavours.
This nightclub and lounge is a departure from your humble pub dwelling. You’ll be greeted with a sultry boudoir setting complete with velvet seating, crystal chandeliers and nude art-house portraits that line the walls. There are premium bottle service packages along with an extensive drink list that features an array of Irish whiskies, craft beer and vintage champagnes. Or for something different, sign up for Lillie’s laboratory bar. It’s Ireland’s first micro-distillery where on-site mixologists host classes on distillation and the art of crafting cocktails (minimum 10 people to book).
Visiting Ireland’s Country Pubs
(Video) Music, laughter and rural hospitality are the order of every day in Ireland's cozy country pubs just outside Dublin. On a trip with Rural Tours, drink the perfect pint of Guinness at The Blue Light Pub, watch live dancers at Johnnie Fox’s Pub & Restaurant and eat Irish comfort food at Glenmalure Lodge.