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Dublin’s pubs are world famous and you should make sure to sample at least a couple during your stay. Below are some suggestions to start you off. A few things to note: in general you order at the bar and pay immediately, though if you are ordering food sometimes you just pay for everything at the end as in a restaurant. If you are served to your table it is common to leave some of your change as a tip but you never tip someone for just serving you over the bar counter.
The times alcohol can be sold are regulated by law and this affects bars, restaurants, clubs, etc. In general bars stop serving alcohol at 23:30 except on Fridays and Saturday when they stop an hour later. A few bars stay open until about 02:30 especially towards the end of week. Almost all Dublin city centre pubs serve food at lunch time but many close their kitchens about 14:30 or 15:00 and do not serve food in the evenings. The most common drink is beer and all bars have many different types on draught (=tap in North America). Beer is commonly drunk in pints; you can expect to pay about Eur 4.20-4.70 for a pint of Guinness (Jan 2006). Contrary to what some tourists believe, most Dublin pubs do not provide live music !
Despite its reputation as a party city, clubbing in Dublin is pretty tame, hampered by alcohol licencing laws which means venues must close by 03:00. Clubs are often rented out to different promoters on different nights so the same venue could host drunken students or a salsa club on different nights! Clubs nights change frequently so to be sure check out magazines like In Dublin or online guides like dublinks or entertainment ireland .
Almost all bars and clubs worth visiting are in the city centre and within walking distance of one another. The dedicated Clubs in the city can be found here . These clubs are all members of the Irish Nightclubs Association.
Children /Teens and Pubs
Teenagers under 18 and children aren’t allowed in a Pub after 9pm Summer and Winter.
Nightlife by area
North of the river
Northside nightlife is quieter but some areas are worth checking out. Just over the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge from Temple Bar is Quartiere Bloom, a small lane lined with Italian wine bars and restaurants. The outdoor seats are very popular on weekend summer evenings. On the corner of Mary Street and Jervis Street, beside the shopping centre, a former church was converted in 2005 into a large and luxurious bar called John Keatings. Close by Capel St contains some of Dublin’s gay life including the funky bar GUBU at the corner of Great Strand St. For jazz and music fans, The Bleu Note on Capel Street has nightly live bands with a focus on jazz, blues and soul acts.
Many of the bars in Temple Bar are tourist traps that were historically full of stag or hen parties (although this trend is receding as these parties head off to the Baltics and other cheaper destinations). Some of the few that are not include the old style Palace Bar on Fleet St, near the corner with Westmoreland St and the Octagon Room in the Clarence Hotel on East Essex St where the blue glass ceiling masks the often gloomy Irish weather. It is worth noting that these two bars are not late venues so will not cater for people looking for nightlife after 23:30. Two other bars to consider both lie on Parliament St: The Porterhouse, a busy micro-brewery with a wide food menu and free live music many nights, and The Front Lounge, a stylish split level place with sofas popular with gays and straights. One of the older bars in the area is actually the seminal Temple Bar. Nearly uniquely this has been run by the same person for over 10 years and still attracts some locals.
Grafton Street to Georges Street
The blocks immediately south of Temple Bar between Grafton Street and South Great Georges Street contain a large number of bars, restaurants and clubs mostly pitched at the 20- and 30-something market. On South William Street try Dakota, a large modern bar with a good food menu; further up there is the Spy/Wax club venue at the Powerscourt Centre. South William Street is also home to The International Bar, which is famous for its open mic singer-songwriter nights and comedy club upstairs. On Fade Street, just of George’s St, the Market Bar is a large lofty bar which serves good tapas till 21:30. Almost opposite at 35 South Great Georges St, Hogans, continues to pack em in and stays open til 02:30 Thurs to Sat. For a more traditional feel on George's street, the Long Hall has a diverse crowd. On Dame Lane, behind The Globe bar on Georges St., you will find the ever popular club Ri-Ra (pronounced "Ree Raw"). One of the most famous pubs, and most untouched in the area, is Kehoe's of South Anne Street. Head upstairs if you want to drink your pint off the top of a piano like the one you have at home. Possibly the most valuable pub in Dublin it has been preserved for decades - right down to the carpets! Another old school, and often jam-packed treasure off Grafton Street is McDaids on Harry Street, and across the street the indie/rocker crowd to frequent Bruxelles. For late nights the Gaiety Theatre on King Street South at the top of Grafton Street offers a range of live acts and DJs, and a cinema over a number of rooms and floors.
Wexford Street, Camden Street and environs
As it heads out of town, Georges Street changes its name several times within the space of a mile. When it becomes Wexford St and Camden St there are a number of pubs of different styles. Whelans and The Village lie side by side and offer live music and DJs respectively: check the websites tickets.ie for more details on who is playing. The bars in the area range from Solas at 31 Wexford St, which serves good pizzas till 21:00 and boasts a wide range of beers and DJs to Devitts at 78 Lower Camden Street which has regular trad music sessions upstairs. The clubbing options in this area include the large PoD/Tripod complex in an old railway station on Harcourt St at Hatch St which has different themes each night.
Stephen's Green, Merrion Row and Baggot Street area
For a real experience of local pubs, go to the Merrion Row and Baggot Street area. The pubs in this area are frequented by workers from nearby banks, estate agents and other businesses, as well as by media types and politicians from the nearby Dáil Eireann (Irish Parliament). The Shelbourne Hotel, Stephen's Green is a place to "see and be seen". Doheny and Nesbitts is popular with locals, and is very busy after office hours (between 6 and 8 in the evening, and on Friday and Saturday nights. Foleys is popular with both local and visiting politicians: Bill Clinton drank a pint there on his visit to Dublin in 1996. James Toners is another popular haunt. O'Donoghue's was traditionally the stomping ground of many famous musicians such as The Dubliners, and still has Irish music most nights, though is rather touristy. Continuing out along Baggot Street you have Larry Murphys and The Henry Grattan, both with outdoor seating for balmy summer evenings, and smokers all year round. Walk across Baggot Street Bridge and The Waterloo and Searsons are both popular with the local office set. Dawson Street, off St Stephens Green is home to the cosmopolitan and modern Ron Blacks, Cafe En Seine and Sam Sara.