Dublin is the definition of the craic. Every visit to this lively city should involve a little bar and pub hopping to really get a feel of the place. Dublin’s nightlife is the perfect opportunity to get to know the friendly locals, and perhaps even listen to some live traditional folk music.

Here are our top 10 pubs and bars we think you should visit:

1. THE LONG HALL

One of Dublin’s more lavish pubs, The Long Hall is a place to meet the locals. The décor is decadent with opulent mirrors, rich reds and globe lamps. Perfect for a quiet afternoon pint of Guinness, or a livelier tipple in the evening. Named after a chapel dedicated to Saint George in 1181, The Long Hall’s atmosphere is charming and graceful. Check out the original engravings of the dealings between the Russian Emperor Paul I with the Polish patriot Kosiusko on the walls.

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: Dame St. / Temple Bar

2. THE HAIRY LEMON

The name alone makes this modern pub stand out from the crowd, and you’ll find it right in the heart of Dublin’s creative quarter. The Hairy Lemon gained international status when it was used as a filming location for the award winning 1991 movie The Commitments. One of Dublin’s trendier pubs, it serves great food, great drink, and great craic.  

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: Dame St. / Temple Bar

3. THE STAG'S HEAD

Wood panelling, stag-themed stained glass windows, and an actual stag’s head suspended above the bar, you’ll know you’ve arrived when you enter The Stag’s Head in Dublin. Its unusual décor made the cut when this pub was used as a shooting location for Educating Rita, The Treaty, and even a Guinness commercial. Nestled in a narrow passageway on Dame Court, it’s a Dublin pub frequented by locals and tourists alike.  

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Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: Dame St. / Temple Bar

4. THE BLEEDING HORSE

Steeped in history, The Bleeding Horse on Upper Camden Street dates back to at least the 17th century. There are two possible explanations for the name of this pub. Some believe when a horse got the ‘staggers’ it was bled by a farrier at the inn. Others think the pub is named after a wounded horse that fled the Battle of Rathmines in 1649. During the 1960s the name of the pub was changed to ‘The Falcon’, but this was soon restored back in the 1970s.

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: St. Stephen’s Green

5. THE BRAZEN HEAD

Dating all the way back to 1198, the Brazen Head is officially Ireland’s oldest pub. An oldie but certainly a goodie. Centuries of history are displayed in the pictures and scrolls covering its walls. Timeworn and atmospheric, this pub on Bridge Street was once the place for refreshment after crossing the river at low tide. On a visit to The Brazen Head, ask the locals where the name came from…

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: Arran Quay

6. THE PALACE BAR

Entering The Palace Bar is like stepping back in time. Its Victorian décor, undisturbed by the passage of time, gives this pub a traditional, cosy feel. Once a local of Bertie Smyllie, the Editor of the Irish Times back in the 1940s and 1950s, this gem has held on to its authenticity over the years. Located on Fleet Street, it’s the perfect place to be when big sporting events are aired.

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: College Green

7. MULLIGAN'S

Once a ‘shebeen’ or illegal drinking house, Mulligan’s used to be the local for sailors and dockers in need of refreshment after a hard day’s graft. An excellent spot today on Poolbeg Street for a mellow pint of good Guinness, this traditional pub in Dublin is decorated in mahogany and dark cornicing. One of its many claims to fame is, in mid 1950s John F Kennedy visited to be shown Joyce’s favourite stall at the bar. 

Red Line, Stop: Pearse Street

8. THE PORTERHOUSE

The place to be for an in-house Irish brew, The Porterhouse is Dublin’s first pub brewery serving dark velvety porters, through to sweet red ales. Passionate about good beer, it’s spread across 4 floors and draws in a lively crowd. Overlooking Parliament Street, on the western edge of Temple Bar, The Porterhouse can get pretty packed, but it’s really worth seeing what the fuss is all about.

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: Dame St. / Temple Bar

9. THE BLACK SHEEP

If it’s a craft beer haven you’re after, The Black Sheep is your perfect watering hole. Dozens of beer on tap, and dozens more available by the bottle – global and local labels. Nestled at the north end of Capel Street, offering good food and free foosball, it’s a popular place for local workers. The light and airy interior, with simple wood furniture, make for a calm setting for an evening pint.

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Red Line, Stop: Parnell Square

10. THE TEMPLE BAR

The Temple Bar pub boasts more than 450 varieties of rare whiskeys – Ireland’s largest collection. Impressive in itself. Couple that with live traditional music playing 7 days of the week, and you’re sure to find yourself a good night. Originally known as ‘Temple Barr’ due to the raised estuary sandbank along which you could walk, this pub has become so famous it now offers merchandise. So you can go there and get the t-shirt!

Blue Line & Red Line, Stop: Dame St. / Temple Bar

So whether you’re after a traditional boozer, some live music, or somewhere a little trendier, Dublin’s nightlife certainly won’t disappoint. Pub hop your way through the above list of best pubs in Dublin, and you’ll really learn the meaning of The Craic. And for the morning after the night before, hop on a bus tour to learn everything the city of Dublin has to offer.