5. Davy Byrne’s
Go on a Saturday afternoon and spend all afternoon there. They show the latest scores on Ceefax during the football season. Mentioned in Ulysses, though you’d never know it from the modern décor. Attracts an amazing crowd – locals, tourists, mad old people. Just off Grafton Street. Good, high-quality food and great staff. A good pub for meeting and chatting with eccentrics.
Simply wonderful. Former haunt of Brendan Behan and Paddy Kavanagh, among other literary giants, and again just off Grafton Street so an ideal place to seek solace after spending too much. There is an excellent upstairs room here which is ideal for parties, book launches and leaving dos, but it will be impossible to stop people drifting down to the intimate main bar. Gets packed at weekends, but on week-nights, and especially in the daytime, this is an excellent place to hang out. And the literary connections make you feel like you’re doing something cultural. Good toasted sandwiches. Nip across the road to the heavy metal disco, downstairs in Bruxelles, if you dare.
3. The Palace
Described in The Observer in 1998 as “an almost perfect pub”. Has a snug. Serves what must be among the top 3 pints of Guinness in town. Part of Temple Bar but the drunks do not seem to get there. A journalists’ hang out. It is usually quite empty at lunchtime. Does a good line in soup and sandwiches. If this was not Dublin, this would easily be the best pub in town.
Maybe it is the fact that they serve what is unquestionably the best pint of Guinness you will get anywhere in the world. Maybe it is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff. Maybe it is the big tables in the back room, where you will not be able to help chatting away to some new friends. Maybe it is all these things. Mulligans is special. Smoky atmosphere, perhaps not surprisingly given the number of journalists who have made this their local. No trip to Dublin is complete without a night spent in Mulligans.
1. The Porterhouse
A brew pub. The beer on offer – from the session beer Porterhouse Red to the 7% BrainBlasta, to the hundreds of bottled beers from around the world, is second to none. The lunch and evening menus are first class, including a brilliant Irish Stew, and excellent hot beef sandwiches. There is live music most nights. And you can usually get a seat. The service, at the tables, is perfect. And – thank the lord – they are opening a sister-pub in Covent Garden this year. This is the best place to be, night or day. It stays open until 2.00am as well. It wins awards worldwide for its beer, and keeps the indie flag flying high, against the corporate might of Guinness, who would stamp out this kind of place if they could. For the beer, the food, the décor, the atmosphere, the clientèle – I salute you, The Porterhouse. You’re the best.
Apologies to the following pubs which deserve a mention but just failed to make the top 10 – Stag’s Head, Long Stone, Dawson Lounge, Bleeding Horse, Norseman, Grogan’s, Oval, Flowing Tide (especially The Neptune Bar, with the priest), Magowans, Mahaffeys, O’Neill’s (not the chain), and even Pravda.
Update sent in by Jeanette Laracy (June 2002):
The Mean Fiddler became the Club Mono some time ago.
Update sent in by Kieron O’Reilly (January 2002):
Irish Pub closing times are now as follows:
Mon – Wed: 11.30
Thu – Sat: 12.30
Late night bars open ’til 1.30-ish
Update sent in by Lisa Tierney:
There are plenty of pubs in the city centre that have seating outside such as:
The Odeon (off Harcourt Street)
The Bailey (off Grafton Street)
The Quays in Temple Bar has a small courtyard out the back.
The Temple Bar Pub in Temple Bar has a section that has no roof so it’s kind of outdoors.
Bruxelles also has seating outside on the street in summer.
Davey Byrnes is another.