Grab a Pint and Gather Round
Let’s make two things clear: This isn’t a pub crawl and there won’t be any Irish Car Bombs. Drinking is a thing of culture in Dublin, where a night at the pubs is akin to visiting the vineyards of Bordeaux. Indeed, the city’s best bars host some of its finest architecture, literary history and traditional musicians. So grab a pint--and, OK, a farm-to-table shepherd’s pie--and see what we mean.
Where to Stay
Make your stay at a rocker-owned hotel
Bono and The Edge weren’t aiming to become hoteliers. They just loved the glass-ceilinged Octagon Bar so much, they decided to buy the historic hotel surrounding it. After checking into your minimalist-chic suite overlooking the River Liffey, head downstairs for an incredible meal at Michelin-starred Cleaver East and a creative cocktail at the prohibition-style Liquor Rooms. Still thirsty? You’re only a couple blocks from Temple Bar, the city’s main entertainment district.
Where to Eat
Nouveau Irish cuisine, pub fare and all-liquid diets
The Pig's Ear
Cooking show star Stephen McAllister is giving Irish cuisine a good name. Using local ingredients (including stout and toasted barley), he elevates classic dishes without skyrocketing the prices. Come for the pig belly served with black pudding and parsnips. Stay for the buttermilk custard made with rhubarb and ginger.
Known for its perfect pints of Guinness, 100-plus whiskies and craft beers on tap, Bowe’s is the ultimate authentic Irish pub. We especially love the original stained glass and red chesterfield banquettes, not to mention the colorful characters who can always be found inside.
What to Do
Drinking is better when you’re learning too
Take a Literary Pub Crawl
James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde…these authors definitely didn’t get their inspiration from slurping coffee in a cubicle. Join an unconventional walking tour of the literary icons’ favorite pubs while getting a crash course in Irish literature and folklore.
Cheer(s) at a Hurling Match
Hurling is Ireland’s national sport (think: super-manly field hockey), and watching a match with die-hard fans is truly a cultural experience. Head to the sports-centric Living Room Beer Garden for the largest outdoor screen in Europe or to Palace Bar, the Tipperary hurling team’s unofficial headquarters for the past century.
Jam at O'Donoghue's
One of the most renowned and oldest traditional music bars in Ireland, this place draws top folk acts seven nights a week. Wallpapered with photos of the legends that have played here (The Dubliners included), it’s the best place to tap your foot to the harp and fiddle.
What to Skip
Don’t get hung up on a trendy name
The Bar Temple Bar
Temple Bar is the main nightlife neighborhood in Dublin, but don’t be fooled by the tourist trap pub that tries to capitalize on the same name. In this neighborhood, stick to the historic Palace Bar and Porterhouse microbrewery.
What to Pack
Leave your Gortex at home. The "brolley" is the locals’ rainy day pick. Choose a bright color to combat the Irish gray skies--in a travel size of course.
Story Map App (Free)
You’re in the land of storytellers, so use this app to have a real Dubliner narrate your journey with historic tidbits, ghost stories and drunken tales as you wander the streets.
Even in summer, it’s never quite hot enough for shorts in Ireland. Show a little leg at the bar while keeping warm with a cute pair of cropped pants.