7 Pubs to visit in Temple Bar, Dublin

I invite you to get lost in the pubs as you wander through the Temple Bar District. Just don’t miss your flight! This downtown hub is one of the oldest areas of Dublin and is great to get a solid taste of Irish Pub Culture. No particular plan is needed. Just arrive and start meandering through the streets stopping at pubs that take your fancy along the way. Boasting an impressive 750 pubs, Dublin has to be in the running for the city with the most pubs in the world as you can find one on nearly every street corner. Temple Bar offers a great selection of colourful pubs in one precinct. It is quite touristy however we really liked the bustling vibe of the area and there was a good mix of tourists and locals when we visited. It’s also buzzing any night of the week.

According to Paris Donnatella Callan from Ireland Before You Die (IB4UD) Temple Bar, ‘”has earned the fair title of Dublin’s “cultural quarter”, and with it’s old cobblestones, buskers lining the streets, bars serving Guinness left, right and centre, it seems only fitting that a trip to Dublin includes a tour of this area.”…”Set alongside the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin, Temple Bar is as easy to access as you can get. In fact, it’s the heart of the city sitting alongside the Ha’penny Bridge that links the Northside to the Southside of Dublin.”

What is so appealing about Irish pubs? Irish pubs are incredibly popular due to their authenticity, conviviality and absolute charm. They assume an integral place in the Irish ethos and character. Their unique quality, architecture and interior design has resulted in the Irish Pub being exported all around the world. For most of us our initial experiences of an imitation Irish Pub are in our own home town, such as Gilhooleys or Irish Murphys here in Brisbane city.

Pub Culture in Ireland has a very long history, but at its core is a sense of camaraderie and friendship. The Irish Pub functions as a watering hole where locals can relax and unwind after work and catch up with one another. It’s a place to enjoy food and beverages, a place to watch sports, a place to meet friends and even complete strangers, to converse and listen to music in a relaxed atmosphere.

Real Irish pubs are warm, colourful, inviting and full of old worldly charm. From W.B. Yeats to James Joyce and Iris Murdoch, Ireland has produced many renowned novelists, poets and playwrights over the centuries. No doubt some of whom would have considered the booze as muse for their creative work. Writing, dreaming, escaping and creating really is quite thirsty work. If you’re particularly interested in a literary tour of Dublin pubs there are quite a few to choose from.

It feels as though you’re being transported back in time when you step into an Irish Pub for a Pint of Guinness or as the locals say “Black Stuff”. Their cosy interiors make you feel like you want to stop and stay a while. Here are 7 pubs in downtown Dublin to consider dropping by for a craic (a bit of fun) and a bit of Irish music and hospitality.

1. Quays Bar and Restaurant

This was one of the first pubs we visited on our recent trip to Dublin and we were fortunate to get a seat right at the bar where we could view the live music. The Quays Bar is located in the centre of the Temple District and offers a range of authentic Irish dishes such as Traditional Irish Stew and Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew. You can stay for a drink and some music or stay for a meal too.

2. The Temple Bar

Established in 1840 The Temple Bar is perhaps the most iconic bar as it shares the same name as the Temple Bar district. It’s visually stunning, quintessentially Irish and offers live music every day of the week. It’s the only pub in the Temple Bar district which has a licensed beer garden. It offers famous, fresh oysters with a pint of Guinness and Irish Cheese Boards as well as an impressive range of over 100 different sandwiches if you’re only looking for a snack. Be sure to try their very own ‘Temple Bar’ Whisky. The Temple Bar has a casual, relaxed atmosphere though it can get really busy, due to its popularity, and then its difficult to get a seat so be prepared to stand up at this pub.

3. The Palace Bar

The Palace Bar was recommended to us by a British friend. We wandered in off the street around midday for a welcome break from sightseeing. It was comforting to find other travellers in the bar along with locals enjoying a pint of Guinness. One older man was just sitting quietly reading his book in the corner whilst others were chatting to the bar staff. A young American couple sat at the table next to us looking through their brochures and contemplating their next stop. I would describe the bar as pleasantly crowded as we were actually lucky to find a seat at midday. According to it’s brochure “The Palace Bar is universally acclaimed as perhaps Dublin’s most original Victorian pub. Pivotally situated in the City Centre, The Palace has become known as ‘the home of the welcomes’ both to regulars and visitors alike.” The upstairs bar, known as The Whiskey Palace, boasts an impressive range of 150 distinctive Irish whiskies.

4. The Stag’s Head

The Stag’s Head was recommended by our friend, Milly, a local and we really enjoyed stopping by this pub for a pint of Guinness mid afternoon. There were a few people milling around however it was pretty quiet as we were there mid-week. This is another of Dublin’s finely preserved Victorian Pubs with wrought-iron chandeliers, polished granite counter tops, old barrels and ceiling-high mirrors as well as beautiful stained glass windows. Its ambiance is so inviting and charming. True to it’s name there is indeed a large Stag’s Head mounted on the wall of the main bar which gives the bar its unique, hunting theme. The staff were friendly and the vibe was casual. For something a little unique, the pub holds a Ukelele jam session every Tuesday evening and live comedy Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. We picked the right year to visit as the pub was awarded the National Hospitality Award, Traditional Pub of the Year 2019.

5. The Oliver St. John Gogarty’s Bar

This colourful pub is located in the heart of the Temple Bar district and is named after the famous Irish poet, playwright and surgeon, Oliver St John Gogarty. It’s designed in late 19th Century Style and offers traditional Irish Music as well as popular music from the 60s onwards.

Live Traditional Irish Music can be found upstairs on the first floor from 2.30pm til late daily. There is a wonderful clip on their website and CDs can be purchased as souvenirs too. They also serve a carvery lunch from 12-3.30pm. Be tempted! Also, visit their website to see their head chef demonstrate how to make a ‘real’ Irish Coffee out of coffee, whisky, fresh cream and sugar. Otherwise there is a large selection of bar food on offer as well.

6. The Auld Dubliner

The Auld Dubliner is next to The Oliver St. John Gogarty Pub so it’s worth dropping by whilst in the area. It also offers a warm atmosphere, friendly banter and of course “Ceol” live music til late.

7. The Hairy Lemon

The Hairy Lemon is a Traditional Irish Pub and Restaurant in Temple Bar and certainly has the quirkiest name. It offers warm, friendly service, a cosy atmosphere, live music 7 nights a week and a great selection of Irish whiskies. The must-try cocktail called the Dubliner Ginger is a combination of Dubliner Irish Whiskey and ginger ale. The Irish coffee is also to be recommended made with freshly whipped cream. Traditional Irish Stew is on the menu and is a slow cooked stew of lamb, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and fresh herbs served with baked potato and brown bread. Yum, my mouth is watering at the thought of it. The famous Dublin Coddle is on the menu along with a few enticing gastro pub starters made from local seafood such as seafood chowder (a creamy potato and dill soup with fresh fish, mussels and brown bread) and Dublin Bay Seafood (Donegal squid medley of prawns and mussels in a white wine and cream sauce served with brown bread).

Where did the pub’s name come from? “The enigmatic Hairy Lemon Pub was christened in memory of one of the city’s great characters who was a dog catcher in the 1950s. He was reputed to boast a lemon shaped visage and a stubble of gooseberry like hair.”

What is the pub’s claim to fame? “The blockbuster film, “The Commitments” lives on in the Hairy Lemon Pub. Many scenes were filmed using the snug and bar counter from the pub.” Those who wish to have a discrete drink could slip into the snug for a sneaky pint.

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