Do you like drinking, dancing or drama? Whatever your mood, follow this guide to discover the best Dublin has to offer
Follow my advice to have a good night out in Dublin and read about my favourite hangouts below.
Bars for a chat
If I’m in the mood to catch up with a friend, Fallon & Byrne (17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; +353 721010; www.fallonandbyrne.com) and Olesya’s Wine Bar (18 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; +353 672 4087; www.olesyaswinebar.com) serve excellent wine and have a warm atmosphere. For a more traditional setting, Kehoe's pub (9 Anne St, S Dublin 2; +353 6778312) or McDaids (3 Harry Street, Dublin 2; +353 6794395) are a stone’s throw from each other off Grafton Street and, if you’re lucky, you’ll find an inviting snug to settle down in homely and authentic pub surroundings. In the same vein, a locals' hideaway is the Library Bar in The Central Hotel (1 - 5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; +353 679 7302; www.centralhoteldublin.com).
Bars for a boogie
Good music is key here and The Exchequer Bar (3-5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; +353 6706787; www.theexchequer.ie), The South William Bar (52 William Street, S Dublin 2; +353 6725946; www.southwilliam.ie) and The Globe (11 S Great Georges Street, Dublin 2; +353 6711220; www.globe.ie) or Hogans (35 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2; +353 1 677 5904) deliver great music, good craic (Irish for fun) and a live DJ at weekends. A few steps away, Shebeen Chic (6 S Great Georges Street, Dublin 2; +353 85 1186108; www.shebeenchic.ie) also has a dance area downstairs or for a chilled chat on a comfy sofa (if you get there early), The Snail Bar is a buzzing late bar (3 Fade Street, Dublin; +353 7645681) or opposite, Market Bar (16 Fade Street, Dublin 2; +353 6139094; www.marketbar.ie) is good fun.
If you’ve got your dancing shoes on, Dame Street hosts two excellent bars – 4 Dame Lane (4 Dame Lane, Dublin 2; +353 6790291; www.4damelane.ie) and Sweeney's downstairs in Le Cirk Hotel (32 Dame Street, Dublin; +353 635 0058; www.lecirk.ie) offer a DJ on two levels at weekends. At the top of Harcourt Street, The Odeon Bar (Old Railway Station, 57 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2; +353 4782088; www.odeon.ie) and Tripod (Old Harcourt Station, Dublin 2; +353 4763374; www.pod.ie) are two late bars offering good music and food, with DJs into the early hours from Thursday-Saturday, as well as a DJ or a live band at weekends.
Late night revelry
Most bars in Dublin will close at 11.30pm mid week with half an hour of drinking time allowed after closing, or 12.30am Thursday-Saturday, while late bars will serve until 2.30am and clubs until 4.30am. The latest opening clubs in Dublin are found either on Wexford, Leeson or Harcourt Street. My preference is to get into Whelan’s (25 Wexford Street, Dublin, Co. Dublin; +353 4780766; www.whelanslive.com) or The Village (26 Wexford Street, Dublin 2; +353 475 8555; www.thevillagevenue.com) before 10.30pm to avoid door charges to enjoy live music upstairs.
For a more cheesy dance experience, Dicey Reilly’s (Russell Court Hotel, 21 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2; +353 478 4066) and Copper Face Jacks (29 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2; +353 475 8777) are sketchy to say the least but you’re sure to have a laugh and both are popular hangouts for singletons. In the same vein, Leggs (29 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2; +353 1 676 6269) is a chaotic scrum in the wee hours.
The Gaiety Theatre (South King Street, off the top of Grafton Street, Dublin 2; +353 679 5622; www.gaietytheatre.ie) is a legendary Dublin venue that turns into a late club on three floors (including a movie) at weekends. The Olympia (72 Dame Street, Dublin 2; +353 (1) 679 3323; www.ticketmaster.ie) is a beautiful old building with booths upstairs (a cracking venue for live comedy or music) as is Andrew’s Lane Theatre (9 St Andrews Lane, Dublin 2; +353 677 9336; www.andrewslane.com). The International Bar (23 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2; +353 677 9250; www.international-bar.com) is an informal live comedy venue where there’s often a traditional music session downstairs. The Abbey (26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin; +353 878 7222; www.abbeytheatre.ie) and Gate Theatres (1 Cavendish Row, Dublin; +353 874 4085; www.gatetheatre.ie) host live drama every week - make sure to look out for a bargain pre-theatre dinner nearby, such as the divine Chapter One restaurant. Check websites for ticket booking.
More expert advice on Dublin
For suggestions on where to stay in Dublin, see Dublin Hotels – Award winning expert hotel reviews, from cheap to luxury hotels in Dublin and for nightlife, see Dublin nightlife .