Dublin has no shortage of drinking establishments. Whether you’re a student traveler or studying abroad, it’s helpful to know what you can expect from certain pubs and clubs. Here are my recommendations for the best places to grab a pint or a dance in Dublin (and there will be dancing!)
Doyle’s Pub on Pearse Street, running adjacent to Trinity College and very central for visitors out and about in town, appears to be your standard Irish pub. The ground floor is exactly what you’d expect from an Irish Pub, with brown leather couches and stools, dark wood paneling, and very dark lighting. But Doyle’s has a hidden part to it that the bypasser wouldn’t otherwise know – or trust – to be a great time. There are three floors and the upstairs always has great dancing on weekends. We usually meet for pints on Fridays, enjoy complimentary snacks of chips and sausages, and head up for a dance til late in the night. It’s great if you’re not a real club-goer but enjoy music and dancing during your nights out. This place is appropriate for all travelers who are 18 and over.
Sweeney’s is probably the most alternative pub I frequent in Dublin. If your idea of a visit to New York involves plenty of time in Brooklyn, I would say this is your scene. Also located very centrally on Dame Street, Sweeney’s has live music, sometimes on three floors and most of the time without any cover charge. My favorite part of Sweeney’s is that the back of the pub faces Dame Lane, which is the alley which runs parallel to the very busy Dame Street, where many other pubs and food establishments have their pedestrian entrances. Patrons can bring their drinks into the alley and mingle with people from other establishments. I always make friends in Dame Lane! It’s one of my favorite spots in Dublin. You’ll know Sweeney’s by its red awning. I would not recommend bringing your parents here!
Aaah The Workman’s. Loved and hated throughout Dublin, somehow, my nights seem to always end here. Located on the Quays, Workman’s is a two floor pub/club with dancing, music and no cover on weekends! This was actually where my cousins took me for my first night out in Dublin, and when I saw it, I thought the upstairs was really someone’s apartment that had been taken over by a lot of young, drunk Dubliners (I was wrong.) If you love live music and dancing, this is the place for you. Be warned, they make very strong cocktails, and it gets very crowded after 11 on weekend nights. Still, for a dance with no cover, this is my favorite place. There’s always a DJ upstairs and sometimes live gigs downstairs followed by another DJ. All kinds of dress and people are welcomed here, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the over 30 crowd on a weekend.
The Black Sheep is a local favorite. The only place on the list located on the North side, The Black Sheep is a Galway pub, offering a wide selection of craft beers from the West coast of Ireland. Their food menu is absolutely delicious, and they provide a recommended brew to pair your meal with. They also provide board games for their customers and foosball downstairs. I would recommend the Black Sheep for the beer lover and for a more calm but nonetheless enjoyable night out. You won’t find as many tourists here, as it is hidden away on Capel Street, which an extension of Parliament Street, but it still isn’t too far of a walk away from the central parts of the city center.
Wherever you choose to go, just remember to be safe. Take note of where you are and how you will get home before you start the evening’s festivities. Bring your friends, dancing shoes, and IDs and have a great night out in Dublin!
Photo Credit: Amy Wiener