By Bridget Houlihan
Dublin is Ireland’s capital city, and is a must-see stop on any trip to the Emerald Isle. You’ll want to spend your daytime exploring the rich culture and history of this city and its people, and visit monuments, museums, and other historic sites--but what exactly are you to do with your evenings?
Dublin has a fantastic nightlife that is just waiting for you to explore--from live music, theater, and clubs, this multi-cultural city offers it all. So let’s check out all the top places that anyone should visit in Dublin to really experience what the city has to offer.
Dublin’s City Centre Pubs
47/48 Temple Bar | Temple Bar's website
If you’re looking to see perhaps the most famous--certainly the most photographed--bar in all of Dublin city, then you’ll need to stop for a pint at Temple Bar. The bar is located in the famous Temple Bar district, which hosts a slew of fun and popular pubs all within walking distance of each other. The pub is named after a former Provost of Trinity College, Sir William Temple, and since 1656 the land has boasted the Temple name. Temple Bar is a great place to stop in for a few drinks after a long day of exploring the city. The food is good and there may even be a live show in the evening to cap off a perfect day in Dublin.
The Foggy Dew
1 Fownes St. Upper | +353 1 677 9328 | The Foggy Dew's website
Another must-see pub in the Temple Bar area is The Foggy Dew, which has been serving up pints to customers since 1901. Named after the famous Irish ballad, this casual bar is a great place to start out your night, where the charming mix of old and new of the pub’s interior simply enhances the character of this place. You can grab a great meal here as well as you relax and take in the scene. Weekends are a fantastic time to catch live music here, with DJs spinning house and EDM on Saturday night, to reggae and ska on a Sunday evening. Find a cozy cubby and enjoy an authentic Dublin experience!
The Brazen Head
20 Lower Bridge St., The Liberties | +353 1 679 5186 | The Brazen Head's website
The Brazen Head has the honor of being Dublin’s oldest pub, and the land on which the current building stands has been serving food and drink and offering shelter to travelers since 1198. The current pub was erected as an inn in 1754, so when you stop by this place, you’re definitely taking a step back in time. Some of Ireland’s most famous revolutionaries planned here, including Robert Emmet and Michael Collins, and the pub has an interesting array of historical documents and items dispersed throughout. The Brazen Head is full of history, but it’s also very much in the present, and offers locals and tourists alike great food and drink and lively entertainment.
Best Places for Music in Dublin
The Workman’s Club
10 Wellington Quay | +353 1 670 6692 | The Workman's Club website
Many of the bars in Dublin offer a wide array of musical entertainment, ranging from traditional Irish music, folk, rock, and everything in between. But if you’re looking for a place that’s run by music lovers, for music lovers, then the Workman’s Club is your spot. Originally the space was the City of Dublin’s Working Men’s Club from 1888-2003, but since 2010 it has been the leading spot for all indie and up and coming artists. There is no genre of music that hasn’t played here, and in addition, there are also book readings, comedy shows, and talks on every subject you can imagine!
25 Wexford St., Portobello | +353 1 478 0766 | Whelan's website
Although it’s only been around since 1989, Whelan’s has proven itself to be the place for new singer-songwriter acts to really cut their teeth. It’s a smaller venue, but that just contributes to the intimate feel of the place--the audience really isn’t that far at all from the stage! This would be a great spot to catch a show and have a pint, and really see all the best in live music that Ireland has to offer. Not only are there fantastic musical acts to see, but you can also spend the evening being entertained by comedians in one of their four venues. Music is a must in Dublin, and if you’re looking for an entertaining night out, Whelan’s is your spot.
77 King St. N., Smithfield | +353 1 872 1799 | The Cobbleston's website
While you’re in Ireland, you’re bound to see many live performances of traditional Irish music. These are typically scheduled into a bar’s music night, and draw large crowds who want to get that “authentic” Irish experience. However, if you’d like to experience music in a pub that isn’t just for a show, stop into the welcoming Cobblestone--which seems to have not changed a bit in the last 50 years. Here, the music is the reason for the gathering, and the pints and food are secondary. Oftentimes there are impromptu gigs at all times of day, where artists just sit and play tunes together just for the fun of it. There are even nights set aside where you can learn how to play a traditional Irish instrument if that meets your fancy!
Dublin’s Iconic Theaters
The Abbey Theatre
26/27 Lower Abbey St. | (01) 87 87 222 | The Abbey Theatre website
You can’t have a true Dublin nightlife experience without taking a show from one of the city’s many theaters. The Irish love theater almost as much as they love writing and music, and there is never a dearth of interesting shows to catch in Dublin. The Abbey Theater is the National Theater of Ireland, and was founded in 1904 by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, and seeks to tell the stories of the Irish people, in all its forms. Today it is on the cutting edge of theater, and connects to the community not only through drama, but with many workshops, talks, and projects.
Cavendish Row, Parnell Square E | +353 1 874 4045 | The Gate Theatre website
Another popular theater--and where many famous actors got their start--the Gate Theatre was started in 1928 to give Irish audiences a taste of American and European theater. Staging plays from all over the world now, the Gate Theatre still seeks to push the boundaries of theater, and welcomes traditional plays along with new and original versions of old favorites. This beautiful spot should be on your list of places to visit if you just can’t seem to get enough of live theater, and you won’t be disappointed!
Popular Dublin Nightclubs
Copper Face Jacks
29-30 Harcourt St. | +353 (0)1 42 55 300 | Copper Face Jack's website
This place is considered a Dublin institution, and the nightclub is well known throughout all of Ireland. Here you can stop in for some pints on the main floor or in their covered beer garden, then gradually make your way to the nightclub dance the night away! This place can get packed on the weekends, as there are many locals who enjoy the club scene as well as tourists looking to experience it for the first time. Not to worry if it’s a little crowded at first, this club is open until the wee hours of the morning, giving you plenty of time to get your groove on!
13-14 Liberty Lane, Portobello | +353 1 526 7711 | Opium Club's website
Come experience luxe nightclub entertainment at the Opium Club, where you can dance, dine, and lounge in a beautiful space that was inspired by the bright neon lights of Tokyo. Here you can relax to the soft beats of the DJ while you sip on handcrafted cocktails. If you want a late night bite, just head over to the restaurant that serves fresh, pan-Asian cuisine into the night. If you need a breath of fresh air, take your drinks outside to the Botanical Gardens, which are open year round, to reflect the tranquility of a Japanese garden. This place is sure to meet all your nightlife needs all in one place!
The Grand Social
35 Liffey St. Lower, North City | +353 1 677 1224 | The Grand Social's website
Dublin is no stranger to music, so if you fancy a place to have some drinks, admire the view of the city, and dance to some amazing live music, then the Grand Social is your place. You can catch the latest DJs spinning tunes into the night in their beer garden, or stop by the main ballroom for a casual spot to grab some drinks. Don’t forget, in case you get hungry, they also offer munchies to go with your night out on the town. Feel free to stick around for the live show, which could range from jazz, rock, EDM, or folk, and be sure to stay for the lively DJ party that starts a little later.
Dublin has so much to offer in the variety of its nightlife, you’re sure to find something new to do each night. Where is your favorite Dublin nightlife spot? Let us know in the comments!