Ireland // Dublin //

Pubs and bars

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Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub
- James Joyce, Ulysses

Not known for their understatement, Dubliners boast that their city possesses the finest pubs in the world. They’re probably right too, but with over seven hundred watering holes to choose from, forming the backbone of the capital’s social life, there’s no harm in checking out their assertion. Along the way, you’ll also be able to test out competing claims about the hometown drink, Guinness: that it tastes better here is not open to doubt, but locals argue about exactly which pub pours the best drop (is the travel-shy liquid better at Ryan’s, just across the river from the brewery, than downstream at Mulligan’s?). In general, the stout is best in the characterful and sociable historic pubs, many of which retain their cut-glass screens, ornate wood-carving and cosy snugs, often with a private hatch to the bar.

In recent years, a plethora of cosmopolitan, youth-oriented bars have come onto the scene, the best of which have forged a style and character of their own, be they cavernous microbrewery-pubs, studenty DJ bars or chic designer lounges. Plenty of these bars have late licences, as noted in the reviews below, which allow them to stay open until 2.30am or so, usually from Thursday to Saturday.

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