While a trip to Dublin will leave you spoilt for choices when it comes to pubs, finding a traditional Irish pub in Dublin’s city centre is a bit more difficult. One of the most commonly asked questions by those who are planning a trip to Dublin is: Where can I find a traditional Irish pub that might also serve food and have live traditional Irish music performance? Here are some of the best options, a few are well known and others are known only by the locals.
15 South William St
This pub is still a great secret amongst local Dubliners and a place where you would rarely find a tourist. It is located only a few minutes walk from Grafton St. To this day it remains one of the best traditional Irish pubs in Dublin. Grogan’s isn't fancy nor is it spacious, but it has a casual and relaxed atmosphere where you will find people having lively conversations while enjoying a drink. Grogan's traditional Irish pub feel even carries over to its beer. The bar staff still takes pride in pouring a good pint and here is one place where you will find some of the best Guinness in Dublin.
Situated in the busy Grafton street area, this pub is easy to find. Recent renovations have taken away some of Davy Byrnes traditional Irish pub charm, but not all of it. It is one of the most famous pubs in Dublin, primarily due to one of its most famous patrons, James Joyce. Joyce was a regular visitor to the pub and friendly with the original owner, Davy Byrnes. The pub was made famous by its mention in James Joyce's book, Ulysses Though Davy Byrnes has lost some of its old charm, it is still a comfortable and popular traditional Irish pub in Dublin. Another great quality about this Dublin pub is its food. You will find some of the best pub seafood in the city centre. Davy Byrnes is also host to regular live music performances, both modern and traditional Irish.
Corner of Johnson’s Place, at the end of South William Street
This is another great local secret. Peter's Pub has remained one of the most traditional Irish pubs in Dublin. It has not been tempted to revamp itself to fit in with all the sleek and trendy modern pubs surrounding it. This is definitely an authentic Dublin pub. It is only a short walk from Grafton St., at the upper end near the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre. Peter's Pub is small and cosy, creating a relaxed friendly atmosphere, perfect for a pint and a chat.
The Long Stone
This is a great Irish pub and one of the best overall pubs in Dublin. Inside you will find traditional surroundings with a twist. There is usually a good buzz with a friendly crowd. They serve tasty food and even include vegetarian options, which though not difficult to find in Dublin eateries, it is hard to find on pub food menus. There's a wide selection of beers and a late license meaning you can enjoy yourself until 2:30 a.m., when the bar staff flicks the lights announcing last orders. This is one that visitors will want to check out.
The Brazen Head
Bridge St, just off Merchants Quay
In some ways this is perhaps the most traditional Irish pub in Dublin and it certainly deserves attention. The Brazen Head is thought to be the oldest pub in Dublin. There has been a pub of some kind at the same location since the 12th century. The pub's décor has been left very traditional and many of the original features have been preserved. Nearly every night the Brazen Head offers some kind of live music, and it has been the host for some of Ireland's most famous traditional musicians, including The Dubliners and Cristy Moore. It is one of the most popular traditional Irish pubs in Dublin amongst tourists; so you will find a friendly place in which to have a drink, enjoy some Irish culture and meet a variety of people.
Johnnie Fox’s Pub
Glencullen, Co. Dublin
This may be a little out of the way for the average visitor to Dublin. It requires a taxi to and from, adding to your expenses, but if you are willing to make the trek, you won’t be disappointed. Johnnie Fox's is not only an authentic traditional Irish pub (established in 1798); it is also the highest pub in Ireland, serves excellent food and provides performances of traditional Irish music.
Oliver St John Goherty
This is a lively traditional Irish pub with literary connections. Starting at around 2:30 every afternoon, you will find live traditional Irish music being played, perfect for relaxing with a pint after you have filled up on the carvery lunch.
Mulligan's is another well-known watering hole. The bar still has its original Victorian furnishings, ensuring you will experience that traditional Irish pub atmosphere. It has good quality pints and a friendly sociable clientele.
The Long Hall
South Great Georges St.
This Irish pub is aptly named. When you enter you are faced with a long bar that leads to an area where there are seats and tables. The interior is decorated with items from the past such as paintings and other paraphernalia. The Long Hall is a Dublin pub where you can relax and have a quiet pint.
Palace Bar was established in 1843 and is one of the longest operating and most traditional Irish bars in Dublin. You get weekly traditional Irish music sessions and a casual surrounding. The pub has an interesting history and when you walk in, it is almost like walking back in time.
For more information about what to see and do in Dublin, visit this Dublin Travel Guide.