The Best Bars in Ireland
Ireland has a thriving pub culture as part of our friendly village feel. There are so many fantastic places to enjoy a pint on this green isle so this article is aiming to help you pick. This list uses both Google reviews and TripAdvisor scores to find the best bars in Ireland. Most lists are a top ten but there may be a few extra if there’s a tie. Don’t be too sad if you’re favourite doesn’t make the list, there are always more pubs in the sea.
We have written lists of great Irish pubs before but this ultimate guide aims to help give you insight into the best each region has to offer. Read on to find where to find the best bars in Ireland, by region.
Locations in this Article
- Best bars in Belfast Ireland
- Best bars in Cork Ireland
- Best bars in Donegal Ireland
- Best bars in Dublin Ireland
- Best bars in Galway Ireland
- Best bars in Kilkenny Ireland
- Best bars in Killarney Ireland
- Best bars in Limerick Ireland
- Best bars in Waterford Ireland
Best Bars in Belfast Ireland
1. Kelly’s Cellars
Belfast’s oldest traditional bar and a slice of Irish comfort, with warm fires to sit by and servings of stew. Kelly’s Cellars is unique in its cellar architecture and interesting nicknacks. Their friendly staff with make sure you have a great time and a great local drink.
2. Bert’s Jazz Bar
Base in the high-end Merchant Hotel is Bert’s Jazz Bar, this beautiful venue is host to live music, great cocktails, and lively atmostphere.
Madden’s is a great example of an old traditional pub, you will get some of the best pints of Guinness in the city here. They also have traditional Irish music on every night of the week in their upstairs performance area.
4. Jeggy Nettle
In Belfast’s University district is this cozy pub. They are home to pub quizes, live music, as well as a friendly atmostphere and great staff. They are also a dog friendly pub so you can bring your furry friend along too.
5. Duke of York
Housed in the iconic Commercial Court is The Duke of York. This bar is covered floor to ceiling in amazing breweriania (bar memorabilia). The entire bar is a feast for the senses and the selection of Irish and Northern Irish tipples available make it a great stop. Check out the gallery on their website to see more of their stunning interior.
6. The Sunflower
Still maintaining their security gates from The Troubles in Belfast as a reminder of the cities social history is The Sunflower Public House. This pub serves up great craft beer inside the pub and outside in their beer garden. A hidden gem of their pub is the woodfired pizza oven in their beer garden, perfect for soaking up rays and soaking up the beers.
7. The Harp Bar
The Harp Bar was a big venue for punk bands in the 70’s and 80’s in Belfast and is still a great place to catch live music in Belfast today. If you are looking for an exciting atmosphere and great pints this is the place to be on your weekend in Belfast.
8. Muriel’s Café Bar
Calling all gin lovers, Muriels Cafe Bar, formerly Muriels Gin Tavern, is a gin lovers paradise. For the perfect serve, to a range of amazing cocktails Muriels is a fantastic bar to visit. It also has quirky decor including plush sofas, botanical wall paper, and lingerie strung on washing lines from the ceiling. One of the best bars in Ireland for gin.
9. The Spaniard
The Spaniard is a hidden gem in Belfast’s cocktail bar scene, it not only has the cozy vibe and well poured guinness of a traditional pub but also an interesting and ever-changing cocktail menu. They also specialise in interesting tequilla cocktails, if thats your tipple of choice.
One of Belfast’s most iconic looking bars is Bittles, this Victorian pub is known for great Guinness and its interesting decor featuring paintings of Irish history and historical figures.
Lavery’s is a massive bar made up of several different sections, they have great beer gardens on offer, an entire floor of pool tables, and live sport on big projector screens. The Woodworkers bar within Lavery’s is an industrial style bar serving up fantastic craft beer options and offers beer flights and board games. One of the best bars in Ireland for craft beer and playing pool.
Best Bars in Belfast Ireland – Honourable Mentions:
- Mc Hugh’s
- The Crown Liquor Saloon
- The Deer’s Head
- The Dirty Onion
- The Perch Rooftop Bar & Rita’s
- White’s Tavern
Want more advice on the best bars in Belfast check out our other articles on Belfast bars. We have guides on the best places for traditional Irish music, the perfect gin serves, and craft beer in Belfast. So have a read and find your new favourite Belfast bar.
Best Bars in Cork Ireland
1. Coughlan’s Bar
Home to two centuries of history, a friendly staff, a heated beer garden, and one of the best gin selections in the country. Coughlan’s is a great place to relax and enjoy a drink and maybe some live music, they also have events such as comedy nights and more. Voted IMRO Irish Venue of the Year in 2013 and 2019 look no further for one of the best bars in Ireland for entertainment.
This modern and moody bar is a great place to go for beer lovers. They have a huge range of craft beer from Wheat Beer to Berry Sours. Enjoy something a bit different in their fun atmostphere. You can even take some beers home as they also opperate an off-licence at the bar. If beers aren’t your thing, fear not as they also have a selection of cocktails on the menu and an impressive range of gins and whiskeys.
3. Sin E
Opening its doors in 1889 Sin E is one of Cork’s oldest pubs and it remains a traditional Irish pub today. It’s name is a joke based on the funeral parlour that was next to it when it opened with Sin E translating to “That’s It”. A must see spot on Cork’s Heritage Pub Trail. Sin E is also one of the best places in Cork to catch a traditional Irish music session.
4. Costigan’s Pub
Predating even Sin E, Costigans opened its doors in 1849 but as a fishmongers. They have changed a bit since then and are now focused on delivering the best pints they can. They are still a traditional bar with a snug and parlour area to take a seat in and now have a lovely heated beer garden too. For a bit of a laugh and more information on Costigans you can check out their Youtube channel.
One of the best bars in Ireland for a great pint of Murphy’s.
Known for their super friendly staff, welcoming atmostphere and entertainment, this cozy pub is a real gem in Cork. Nana’s is a great stop for locals and tourists alike as staff are happy to give advice and recommendations for your stay in Cork. A great recommendation is to try Nana’s out for yourself!
Based in the oldest bar in Cork is Barbarella. This lively and vibrant cocktail bar is a fantastic place for a night out in Cork, lots of interesting drinks on offer here. They even have a fancy shot menu, just incase you want to raise a toast. One of the best bars in Ireland for a night out with cocktails.
7. Mutton Lane Inn
A traditional Irish pub great for local ales and friendly staff is Mutton Lane Inn. Some staff say it may be haunted but either way you’ll be in good company. If you want some cozy and fun atmostphere this is a great spot to check out while you’re in Cork.
8. The Oval Bar
This Mackintosh style building was built by an Ediburgh group of architects in the 20th century and it is one of the historically important 20th century buildings within Cork. Now it stands as one of the best bars in Cork as a interesting indie night out spot. They even have a nice outdoor seating area for the summer season.
9. The Raven Bar
Do you fancy some gastronomy with your craft beers and cocktails? The Raven Bar is the place to be, they have a fantastic food menu filled with local produce. Their great atmostphere and art deco interior makes this a great place to enjoy some great food and drink in Cork.
10. The Shelbourne Bar
The perfect place for whiskey lovers who are in Cork. The Shelbourne have over 400 bottles of whiskey to try from making sure there is a whiskey to suit your every mood. If you fancy something a bit different they also have a menu filled with whiskey cocktails. You can also pick up a whiskey gift set from them to take home if you are visiting Cork. One of the best bars in Ireland for Whiskey.
The Shelbourne also offer online whiskey tasting courses for those who want to know more about the great whiskey on offer at their bar. Check out their website to book.
Best Bars in Cork Ireland – Honourable Mentions:
- Canty’s Bar
- Charlie’s Bar
- Gallagher’s Gastro Pub
- The Hi-B Bar
- The Idle Hour
- The Long Valley Bar
Best Bars in Donegal Ireland
1. The Forge
A hidden gem of Donegal town and the best pint of Guinness to be found if reviews are to be believed. Make sure to check out The Forge to find the best of local atmostphere, bar staff, and great craic! Take in the cozy atmostphere and some pub grub or show up on Thursday’s for a weekly pub quiz.
2. The Reel Inn
This beloved and award winning pub is a fantastic stop if you are looking for a true traditional Irish pub experience. The Reel Inn offers fantastic drinks and entertainment and with music and dance 7 nights a week they are one of the best bars in Ireland for traditional Irish music.
3. Marina’s Café & Wine Bar
If you are looking for a fantastic glass of wine and a great meal then you should be at Marina’s. Their friendly staff will lead you to a table and serve you amazing pub food with a smile. They even have daily specials ranging from pasta to curry. If you find yourself inspired by the sea views of the Wild Atlantic Way they are also known for their fantastic chowder.
4. The Bank Bar
Looking for a relax bar atmostphere and the best selection of live sport in Donegal? Look no further than Bank Bar for some light food, great drinks including craft beers and cocktails and dedicated serving staff. They show both Sky Sports and Eir Sport meaning you never have to miss your sporting events to enjoy some time with friends at the bar.
5. The Harbour Bar
This fantastic family run bar are proud to serve up fantastic drinks and food from Donegal from vegetables grown in Donegal’s peat rich soil to Donegal caught seafood. This is a great place to grab something to eat or drink while you are in Donegal town.
6. McCafferty’s Bar
A home of revelry and great times in this family run Donegal pub. Home to live music 7 nights a week, live sport, and traditional Irish Music Monday to Thursday.
7. The Olde Castle Bar
Architectural charm and fantastic sea food are just two of the great things you will find at the Olde Castle Bar. Winners of the McKenna’s Guide ‘Best in Ireland’ award 6 years in a row this is one of the best bars in Ireland for gastropub food.
8. The Reveller Bar
A lively venue hosting live music, live sport, and promotional night outs including fun events such as UV discos.
9. Abbey Hotel Bar
Located within the Abbey Hotel, this contemporary venue is the perfect place for casual dining with friends and family and some nice drinks.
Best Bars in Donegal Ireland – An Honourable Mention:
Although, this is a list dedicated to Donegal Town, the County of Donegal’s best pub is the Singing Pub, Downings. This isn’t a fact, or backed up by stats like the rest of the lists. It’s just a very true opinion from the writer of this article who wanted to give them a shout out.
Best Bars in Dublin Ireland
1. Bar 1661
Winner of Irish Craft Cocktail’s award for ‘Best Cocktail Bar in Ireland’ this modern bar in Dublin 7 is a must-visit for cocktail drinkers visiting Dublin. Truly this is one of the best bars in Ireland for cocktails.
An unusual offering from Bar 1661 is their large range of Poitín, a traditional Irish drink often overlooked in favour of Whiskey. Their name containing the number 1661 is significant in that Poitín was made illegal in Ireland in 1661. They want to celebrate Poitín and its place in Irish distilling past and future. They even offer a Poitín masterclass once a week.
2. The Hacienda Bar
A truly unusual experience awaits you at this Dublin speakeasy. Press a buzzer marked bar outside and await the proprietor, a man called ‘Shay’ who will let you in if the bar is open. Once inside enjoy the jovial atmostphere, ecclectic decor, jukebox tunes, and pool tables in this truly unique experience.
3. Bowe’s Lounge Bar
A cozy lounge established in 1880 and situated in the heart of Dublin city.
A family run gastropub with a history dating back to 1854 is Brannigan’s. Named after famous Dublin Garda James ‘Lugs’ Brannigan.
5. Confession Box
The Confession Box is a traditional Irish pub with an interesting bit of Irish history behind its name. Located near Mary’s Pro Cathedral this small bar was supposedly host to Irish Revolutionaries from the Irish War of Independance. Some of those involved in the conflict were excommunicated from the Catholic church, including Michael Collins. It is suggested that priests who had compassion for their position would offer penance to revolutionaries who recieved communion while at the bar. Hense, its name as the Confession Box.
You may not recieve communion wafers or penance there today but you may get one of the best Guinnesses in the city.
Mulligan’s started its life as a Shebeen but has been a licenced venue for over 300 years now. It an old fashioned pub with buckets of Irish charm and tradition. They also pride themselves on fantastic Irish hospitality.
7. Peruke & Periwig
Filled with baroque charm and fantastic atmostphere is Peruke and Periwig. In their ground floor bar you can take a seat on a plush sofa or arm chair and enjoy pints, craft beer, and cocktails. Or book into their upstairs restaurant and enjoy their decadent food menus, they also have a snack menu which includes charcuterie boards if you get peckish.
8. The Brazen Head
One of the oldest buildings in Dublin dating back to the 11th century houses The Brazen Head Pub. It is still a great place for music, food, and great drinks today.
9. The Cobblestone
Self described as a drinking pub with a music problem, The Cobblestone is perfect for the person seeking out traditional Irish music in Dublin. This cozy and traditional pub is built on family history and respect for great music.
10. The Long Hall
Keeping its Victorian charm after 250 years in business is The Long Hall. The seating runs as deep as its history in this iconic looking Dublin pub. Enjoy traditional charm and great atmostphere here.
11. The Palace Bar
12. The Temple Bar
Want to learn more about bars in Dublin? Check out our article on The Temple Bar District.
Best Bars in Dublin Ireland – Honourable Mentions:
- Vintage Cocktail Club
- The Celt
- Kehoes Pub
- The Old Storehouse Bar
- The Dame Tavern
- The Stag’s Head
- Merchant’s Arch
- 9 Below
- O’Donoghue’s Bar
Best Bars in Galway Ireland
1. O’Connor’s Famous Pub
The beloved O’Connor’s Pub is a real traditional pub experience to be had in Galway. This pub has no food or TV just great atmostphere and pints. They also serve cocktails which get rave reviews and for the Ed Sheeran fans this bar was used for the music video to ‘Galway Girl’.
A modern bar with fantastic food and cocktails as well as local craft beers.
3. O’Connell’s Bar
One of the best bars in Ireland for beer garden is O’Connell’s bar. Their interesting beer garden looks like a mock-street with cobbled path, store fronts, and plenty of places to take a load off and have a pint.
4. Ol’ 55 Bar
Known for their range of great beers and whiskey, the Ol 55 is loved by locals. They don’t just offer fantastic local beer, they also have great live music and live sport.
5. The Bunch of Grapes
This family run pub is a great place to relax and enjoy a great pint of Guinness and take in their interesting decor filled with nick nacks.
6. The Crane Bar
One of Galway’s best known traditional Irish pubs and one of the best bars in Ireland for traditional music live.
7. The Salt House
8. Tigh Choili
9. Tigh Nora Galway
The place to be for gin lovers in Galway, and home to Nora’s Irish Gin. This is the perfect place for the perfect serve.
10. Carroll’s on Dominic Street
A cozy traditional pub with a vibrant outdoor seating area. Their beer garden is award winning and a great place to grab a cocktail or some great food.
11. Taylor’s Bar & Beer Garden
Want to hear more about the best places to grab a drink in Galway? Check out or article for even more in-depth information and further suggestions.
Best Bars in Galway Ireland – Honourable Mentions:
- Hyde Bar
- Tigh Neachtain
- Garavan’s Bar
- John Keogh’s Gastro Pub
- Murty Rabbitts
- Taafes Bar
- The Front Door Pub
- The Dail Bar
Best Bars in Kilkenny Ireland
1. O Riadas
The best of traditional Irish pub culture and a great place to enjoy a pint and some chat. Their super friendly staff will make you feel at home here.
2. The Nore Bar
3. The Front Room
4. Bridies Bar & General Store
5. Cleere’s Bar & Theatre
6. Ryan’s Bar
8. Brewery Corner
9. Hole in the Wall
10. Lenehan’s Public House
11. Tynan’s Bridge house Bar
Best Bars in Kilkenny Ireland – Honorable Mentions:
- J. B. Burkes Pub
- The Bottling Store
- Hackett’s Bar Kilkenny
- The Dylan Whiskey Bar
- Matt the Miller’s Bar
Best Bars in Killarney Ireland
1. Jack C’s Bar
2. The Lane Café Bar
3. Jimmy Brien’s
4. Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder
5. Curious Cat Wine Bar
6. Hussey’s Bar
7. John M Reidy
8. The Ross
9. Courtney’s Bar
10. Killarney Brewing Company
Best Bars in Killarney Ireland – Honourable Mentions:
- Buckley’s Traditional Bar
- Hannigan’s Bar
- Murphy’s Bar
- O’Connor’s Traditional Pub
Best Bars in Limerick Ireland
1. Dolan’s Pub & Restaurant
2. JJ Bowles
3. Fennessy’s Vintners
4. Mother Macs
5. Mickey Martin’s Pub
6. The Black Swan
7. Tom Colin’s Bar
8. Jerry Flannery’s Bar
9. Katie Daly’s
10. Ma Hogan’s Bar
11. Myles Breen’s Bar
12. The Glen Tavern
Best Bars in Limerick Ireland – Honourable Mentions:
- The Locke Bar
- WJ South’s Pub
- Portley’s Bar
Best Bars in Waterford Ireland
A lively bar with an interesting self-serve system and calendar packed with fun entertainment.
3. An Visce Beatha
4. Grattan Bar
5. Phil Grimes
6. Henry Downes
7. Lawlor’s on the Quay
8. Tully’s Bar
9. The Fat Angels
10. Geoff’s Café Bar
Best Bars in Waterford Ireland – Honourable Mentions
- Davy Mac’s Bar
- Itty Bitty’s
- Jordan’s American Bar
- The Gingerman
Map of the Best Bars in Ireland
Click here to access our map of the best bars in Ireland.
Ireland is chock full of fantastic bars, this list shows just some of the amazing offerings there are here. I’m sure we missed a few so why not let us know what you think are the best bars in Ireland in the comments below? Or check out some of the bars in this list for a nice pint and some great craic. Planning a bar hopping roadtrip? Want to know where the best traditional pubs in Ireland are? Or where the oldest pubs in Ireland are? We have loads more articles on the great pubs in Ireland for you to enjoy!