Avoid The Tourist Traps With These 6 Authentic Dublin Pubs

Pint of Guinness: Photo credit - Valentina Volonghi (flicker)
Pint of Guinness: Photo credit - Valentina Volonghi (flicker)
Pint of Guinness: Photo credit – Valentina Volonghi (flicker)

You’ve made the choice to get yourself over to the Emerald Isle and experience the world renowned Irish pub culture. It’s unlikely that you want to visit all 751 pubs in Dublin, which is good, because if you did I’d be worried. This list will help you bypass the tourist traps and get straight to the pubs that us Irish choose to drink in.

Top tip: If you walk into a Dublin pub and look around to see only tourists, walk back out. You’re unlikely to find the authenticity you seek here.


Grogan’s on South William St, a pub frequented by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, is always bustling. Grogan’s keep it simple, serving great food and drink, and keeping any distracting technology out. The inside is always packed and on sunny days clientele can spill out onto the streets. If you do head to Grogan’s it’d be a sin to leave without trying one of their famous toasted cheese sandwiches.

The Stag’s Head

If you’re interested in architecture and history you won’t want to give The Stag’s Head a miss. Irish writer James Joyce is said to have favored The Stag’s Head, which has been around since 1770. Some say it’s the best-preserved example of victorian architecture in Dublin. For an authentic Irish pub experience, The Stag’s Head is hard to beat.

The Cobblestone

If you want to experience traditional Irish music at its best and the famous ‘craic’, hop in a taxi and get to The Cobblestone. And you probably will need a taxi because it’s a bit outside of the city center, but the taxi fare is absolutely worth it. The Cobblestone is where real Irish musicians and storytellers get together to share their talents with anyone who wants to listen. The entertainment is so good you’ll be amazed there’s no cover charge.


Toners embodies the traditional Irish pub experience, so much so it actually won “Irelands best traditional pub” in 2014. The snug in Toners is supposedly the only spot in Dublin where Irish poet W.B. Yeats would go for a drink. You’re likely to meet anyone and everyone in the huge beer garden, so be prepared to have a good chat.

O’ Donoghue’s

O’Donoghue’s is in the heart of Dublin City, so much so that if you are out sightseeing, it’s almost impossible not to pass by it. A pub bathed in Irish music history, O’Donoghue’s is the place where the Dubliners made their name. The craic is always mighty regardless of what day of the week it is, so listen to the Dubliners and pop in for a pint of plain:

John Kavanagh’s (The Gravediggers)

John Kavanagh’s pub is often referred to as ‘The Gravediggers’, due to its close proximity to Glasnevin cemetery. Many Dubliners maintain the Gravediggers is the best pub in Dublin and serves the best pint of Guinness. The Gravediggers is a good distance away from the city center, so if you go here you’re staying for the night. Half of the Gravediggers has been left unmodified since it was built in 1833, stepping in is like traveling back in time. The other half serves hearty helpings of traditional Irish pub grub, so make sure you’re hungry.

Follow this list and you’ll be able to go home and tell your friends what a proper pint of Guinness tastes like, traditional Irish music sounds like, and what having ‘the craic’ feels like.

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