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Galway is home to a vibrant nightlife scene
The city has many, many pubs and bars as well as a few nightclubs. The possibilities are endless, from a quiet night out with friends to traditional Irish music and storytelling, or a night out dancing. The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18. There is a a Galway based website called Galway City Pub Guide which gives great reviews and tips including video & photos from pubs in galway. For a listing of pubs, bars and events in Galway visit IrishTourist's pub page.
TRAD MUSIC SESSIONS
Many come to Galway to party as much as they can, but many a connoisseur will come to find the best Galway has to offer, in terms of good quality trad music. If this is what you're looking for, your best bet among all pubs is The Crane Bar on Sea Road: 2 floors, one bar on each of them - ground floor is open to anyone willing to play trad music (and there are usually a lot of musicians there), while the 1st floor is reserved for musicians 3 nights a week, some well known, some less. It is well worth to cross the bridge and walk the extra 5 minutes to spend an unforgettable evening there. Second and third: Taaffes, on Shop Street, and Tigh Chóilí, almost facing each other in the pub district, are good trad pubs too, just check inside, next to the door, if musicians are there or not, and if the style suits you (Taaffes 6 PM sessions sometimes do not materialize)
Cookes Thatch Pub which is one of only two Thatch Pubs left in the City and dates from the 1600's has Trad music sessions on Wednesday and Sunday nights which generally consist of 5 or more musicians.
Off the beaten track, but well worth the short walk, is the Thursday night music session at the Western Bar, just up from Eyre Square. This is one you won't find in the tourist books, but in the last year or two has become one of the liveliest city jams. Sessions, despite what is advertised in the windows, usually begin at 10PM (used to be 9:30) :
The best bar scene is small country pubs. Here you get a taste of old Ireland. Galway city pubs are great too, but you will still find traditional ireland, despite the huge changes this country has gone through.
LATE BARS AND NIGHTCLUBS
Galway has a young population and twentysomething visitors will see that the city will not be found wanting for lively nightspots. The Front Door, on the corner of High St and Cross St is a very popular establishment with the young working crowd. The Front Door Pub is a large but intimate premise in the heart of The Latin Quarter in Galway City. Discover the five bars and hidden nooks, spread over two floors that is open until 2am every night, has live bands Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and DJs every night, a must for visitors and locals when looking for the perfect pint and a fantastic night out!.
The Dáil Bar, is another great spot located at the junction of Cross Street and Middle Street, is a focal point for the locals of Galway to gather over a drink and discuss the day’s events, hence the literal meaning of The Dáil.... “a meeting place”. The Dáil Bar’s location in The Latin Quarter gives visitors the opportunity to experience Galway in full flow. A recommended visit just around the corner is Thomas Dillon Jewelers, home of The Claddagh ring and then a brief stroll down Quay Street towards The Spanish Arch to experience what Galway life is all about. The Dáil bar is open until 2am seven nights a week. If you enjoy locally sourced and delicious bar food beside a warm blazing fire, listening to the best in live music with Galway’s finest acts or enjoy a vast array of Irish Whiskeys, then The Dáil Bar is the place to be.Other popular choices include Kellys(formerly the Living Room) on Bridge St, The King's Head at the junction of Shop, Mainguard and High Streets, The Quays, which has a great club over it for live music (The Quays Live) on Quay St, and The Skeff on Eyre Square.
As the city's nightlife thrives on it's student population during midweek, Sunday - Thursday nights are dominated by a very young age group of drinkers, and things can get slightly boisterous as the night progresses! At the weekends the students are largely replaced by locals, and parties of revellers from all around the country (and further afield) also descend on the city. Popular nightclubs include Electric Garden, Halo, which is right beside CP's, Carbon on Eglinton St and Karma just off Williamsgate St opposite Holland's Newsagents.Also don't forget Coyotes Late Bar and The Stock Exchange which is located at 34 Shop Street, and is open Wednesday to Monday and Admisson is free! Doors are usually 11pm on nightclubs in Galway and closing is at 2.30am, admission can cost between 5 and 12 euro depending on the venue and what night of the week it is, though there are usually a host of club reps around Shop street giving out stamps for free or reduced admission.
Galway has its own latin quarter made up of medivial streets and this is where the crowds usually head at the weekend. One such bar is Busker Brownes and it was a former convent in the 1600's. It is very impressive and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as being one of the busier night spots. There is usually a live band every night such as the Black Magic Big band - an 18 piece jazz band that perform every Monday for free.