Dublin’s pub scene is famous the world over, and this reputation is well deserved; more than seven hundred community watering holes dot the Dublin map from corner locals to Temple Bar superpubs. At nearly all of these pubs, you’ll find the biggest and most common brands on draught: Guinness, Smithwick’s, Bulmer’s cider, and European lager. For many Dublin visitors, a pint of Guinness in any hole in the wall will suit just fine, but those looking for Irish craft beers served up by knowledgeable hop heads will have to look just a bit harder.
On the edge of the busy, touristy Temple Bar neighborhood, find a great selection of locally made craft beers for cheaper-than-Guinness prices at Porterhouse. This comfortable brewpub has been bucking the macro beer trend for more than twenty years, maintaining a standard lineup of more than a dozen beers with occasional limited-edition brews sprinkled in. In addition to the Porterhouse labels, look for the guest beers from around the world on tap or in bottles.
L. Mulligan Grocer
Northwest of the busy city center in Stoneybatter, find this classy gastropub tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. Inside, look over the fine food menu and the selection of interesting and rare drinks. Ask the bartender what they have on cask to try traditional ale as it was served a few hundred years ago: cellar temperature, less fizzy, and guaranteed fresh. If you want to get really adventurous, try the poteen—a traditional Irish homemade moonshine, now produced and sold legally. If you opt for poteen at “mountain strength,” keep it away from any open flames.
This retro-hip bar at the north end of Capel Street keeps an always-changing selection of Irish and international craft beers on tap, and serves them up for prices better than you’ll find only a few blocks away in Temple Bar. Ask the bartender what’s best on the rail and relax on one of the comfy old couches in the back. Get a game of Jenga going if you’ll be staying awhile.
57 The Headline
This recently-restored pub and restaurant near the Grand Canal keeps one of the largest steady selections of interesting ales in the city—two or three choices from each of several craft breweries. Choose from more than twenty beers or ask for a beginner’s whiskey tasting tray.
The Brew Dock
On the eastern side of the city, in the Docklands, you can’t do better than the Brew Dock for traditional atmosphere and contemporary taste. This is one of several pubs operated by Galway Bay Brewery, and here you can try the entire lineup of this Western Ireland favorite. Get your hoppy pale ale or milk chocolate stout and find a seat at a well-worn wooden table upstairs for a nice view of this developing neighborhood.
On your next visit to Dublin, look beyond the popular touristy pubs to one (or more) of these hidden gems, meet some fellow malt and hop enthusiasts, and discover your new favorite Irish beer.