Because the centre of Dublin is pretty small and the best bars and clubs are all to be found in or near the centre it can sometimes seem on weekend nights that the whole city has become one massive block party. This makes fora great atmosphere early in the evening, but by the time 3am rolls around the scene can be pretty ugly. I mean ugly in an ugly way, not ugly in a scary or frightening way. For the most part Dublin is a safe and friendly city to go out in. Trouble will rarely find you, but if it does you will usually spot it coming. Walk away people, live to party another day.
So go out there and have some fun! Here are some places we recommend and some we feel we just have to mention:
Most Dubliners give out about Temple Bar claiming it is overrun by English stag and hen parties and therefore avoid it all costs. This is certainly true most weekends but there are a few good bars worth a visit early on an evening out:
- The Porterhouse, Parliament Street: large friendly brew pub with Dublin’s largest selection of imported beers. Live music Tues, Wed& Sat nights, trad session on Sundays.
- The Foggy Dew, Fownes St: lively traditional bar with a good mix of punters, live music on Sunday evenings.
- The Morgan, Fleet St: more chic and sophisticated than most Temple Bar pubs. A comfy spot for some early evening cocktails.
- The Quays, Temple Bar Square: this music pub is tourist central but everyone tumbling out of the place seems to be smiling. Live music at all hours of the day makes this the place to go if you’re in the mood for singing along to everything from Neil Diamond to well known Irish ballads.
Other City Centre Bars:
- Hogan’s, South Great George’s St: trendy, but laid back crowd. Quality background music supplied by DJs seven nights a week. Recommended.
- The Globe, South Great George’s St: trendy, beautiful twenty-somethings. Excellent music, live jazz on Sundays from 6pm orso. Becomes part of Ri Ra nightclub after midnight.
- Café En Seine, Ron Blacks & Sam Sara, Dawson St: these three bars are worth checking out for their opulent décor alone. At night the décor is matched by an equally opulent crowd. The most expensive barsin Dublin, but worth a look just the same.
- Dakota, South William S.: one of the better super pubs, comfy seats,table service, good music, packed at the weekends so more suited to groups of friends.
- The Bank, Dame St: splendid Victorian building that used to be a bank. Popular after work spot. Check out that ceiling!
- The Morrison, Ormond Quay Lower: mellow chic on the ground floor of the hotel of the same name, good views of the river. Ideal for some comfy cocktails.
- The George, South Great George’s St.: Dublin’s first and best known gay bar. Bingo on Sunday nights is a hoot. For a more civilized experience try the Front Lounge on Parliament Street.
10 Minutes from the City Centre (walking):
But well worth the extra effort. These bars tend to have a more relaxed attitude, with a less intentionally cool crowd:
- Whelan’s, Wexford St: friendly student bar out front, live music seven nights a week in the intimate venue behind. Eclectic mix of music styles from rock to traditional, local bands and international names.Always worth checking out what’s on here.
- The Village,Wexford St: larger sister venue to Whelan’s showcasing better known local and international acts. Popular downstairs bar has DJs most nights of the week.
- Anseo, Wexford St: just up the street this unpretentious yet happening bar has DJs from Wed to Sat playing funky offbeat tunes. Tuesday is open mike night for aspiring singer songwriters.
- Vicar Street, Thomas St: Dublin’s premier live music venue. The place to catch big name bands in a club setting: http://www.aikenpromotions.com/
- Sin E, Ormond Quay Upper: raucous, but friendly bar with a mixture of DJs and live music.
- Dice Bar, Queen St., Smithfield: ultra-cool, New York style lounge bar with DJs seven nights.
The Dublin club scene is in a constant state of flux. Clubs and club nights move venues and change names all the time. For the most up to date info check the following website:
- http://entertainment.ie/ Also carries movie, theatre and live music listings.
There are some permanent fixtures on the Dublin clubbing scene though and that fact alone makes many of these Dublin institutions:
- Lilly’s Bordello, Grafton St: the place to bump into Bono &friends. Though there are more fake celebs than real ones by all accounts. Dress for success.
- Reynards, off Dawson Street: another celeb hangout, popular with the Ron Blacks/Café en Seine crowd.
- POD, Harcourt St: reliably atmospheric club in the vaults of an old train station playing mainly house music.
- Tripod, Harcourt St: part of the POD complex, this larger club hosts visiting international DJs and live bands.
- Crawdaddy, Harcourt St: another part of the POD, smaller more intimate live music venue hosting local bands and indie types. The three venues together make this place a good bet any Friday or Saturday night.
- Spirit, Middle Abbey Street: a rave palace on three floors playing mainly hard house, young 20s crowd.
- Ri Ra, Dame Court: reliable weekday club. Strictly Handbag on Mondays is probably the best night of the week.