Top 5 Alternative Pubs to Visit in Dublin
For many, the mention of Ireland evokes images of rolling green hills, dimly lit pubs and, of course, the country’s national drink, Guinness. In fact, pub crawls have long since become an essential part of any trip, with tourists flocking to Dublin in order to sip on a pint in some of the city’s oldest and most treasured pubs. And while it’s true that the taste of a Guinness poured in Ireland is unique, those who stick exclusively to this one drink are inevitably missing out. Here are just a few examples that prove Dublin has more to offer than just pubs and pints.
1. Against the Grain - 11 Wexford Street
Known for its wide selection of international and domestic beers, Against the Grain is the place to go if you’re looking for an alternative to Guinness and the standard pub experience. Before you visit, be sure to check for upcoming events, as the pub holds a monthly pub quiz in addition to playing host to the Celtic Whiskey Shop’s Tasting Nights. For only 25 euros, participants are guided through a tasting that correlates with the selected theme of the night and which in the past has varied from gin to scotch to holiday drinks. Quite a few out-of-towners participate in these monthly tastings, so chances are you won’t be the only tourist present. Just be sure to book ahead as these nights are popular among the locals and tend to sell out fast!
2. The Barnard Shaw - 11/12 South Richmond Street
The Bernard Shaw is the perfect place to visit when the weather is nice, an occurrence that happens more frequently than visitors are led to believe. Not only does this alternative pub offer an outdoor seating area complete with picnic table seating, but the backyard is also home to the Big Blue Bus, a former catering wagon for film sets around Ireland. Now retired, the Big Blue Bus has since been transformed into a kitchen and serves up gourmet pizzas ready to order for customers of the Bernard Shaw.
3. The Gin Palace - 42 Middle Abbey Street
Decorated in an elaborate Victorian theme, this pub boasts the largest selection of gin in Dublin. For the gin novice, order the sampler tray (a steal for just 10 euros), which comes complete with three premium gins of your choice and a jug of tonic water. If you happen to be visiting during the winter, the Gin Palace is one of the few places in town that offers hot sloe gin. Not only is it the perfect remedy for chilly weather, but it’s also a great alternative for those who aren’t particularly fond of the more popular hot whiskey.
4. Vintage Cocktail Club - 15 Crown Alley
Hidden amongst the numerous pubs that comprise Temple Bar, it’s entirely possible to walk by the Vintage Cocktail Club without even noticing. With no real front door or signage, it’s only the tiny inconspicuous lettering of ‘VCC’ on a black door that alerts you to its existence. Styled after a 1920s speakeasy, this hideaway recommends making a reservation before attempting to visit, as tables fill up quickly and standing is not allowed. Once inside this three-story building, you’ll be given complimentary champagne in vintage teacups to sip on while you pursue the menu of vintage and classic cocktails. At about 11 euros each, cocktails are expensive, so be conscious of the fact that the price can add up quickly. If you’re with a group, a better alternative might be to order a punch bowl, which comes complete with teacups and an accompanying ladle.
5. La Ruelle Wine Bar - Joshua Lane, Sawson Street, opposite Mansion House
While every pub in Dublin technically serves wine, the choice is usually limited to white or red. La Ruelle Wine Bar presents the perfect solution for wine enthusiasts, offering an extensive list of wines from around the world. Guests can order either glass or bottle, with a selection of over 29 varieties by glass and over 80 by bottle. Another well-hidden secret, La Ruelle is located down a tiny alley that seems to ensure it’s never overly busy, a welcome respite from the crowded pubs.
By Christine Mangan