The Temple Bar
As soon as Ireland’s madcap capital is mentioned, you’d be forgiven for thinking solely of the Temple Bar. This huge drinking district is the idiocentric hub of Dublin – where the bars open late and draw in punters until the next morning. This area is characterised by its seriously lively atmosphere – a big attraction for stags – and it’s wealth of classic old-school pubs, swanky bars, and rowdy venues.
The Temple Bar pub has to be the first stop on your list. This traditional boozer has been here since 1839, serving patrons for over 160 years. It’s one of the friendliest watering holes in the city, with excellent craic and proper pints. They even have traditional Irish musicians performing live daily. Oliver St. John Gogartys, so called after the Irish poet, is also famous in the Temple Bar. It has a live music bar, award-winning food and the 19th century interior will take you back to a simpler time on your last night of freedom. And, don’t forget the Auld Dubliner – home of the world-renowned Auld Dub All Day Breakfast – and The Brazen Head. This bar is not technically in The Temple Bar, around a 10 minute drive away, but it’s the oldest pub in Ireland – dating back to 1198 – and it looks like a castle. What’s not to love?
Grafton Street to George Street
This area encompasses a huge amount of bars, clubs and restaurants. It’s a lot more upmarket than Temple Bar – a heavy tourist area – and is a corker of a backdrop for a swish last night of freedom. Grafton Street is one of the biggest names in Dublin, and it’s also one of Ireland’s busiest shopping districts. The Dawson Lounge, on Dawson Street, is officially the smallest pub in the city. You may have to squeeze in, as it can only fit in 40 people in the entire pub, but it’s well worth a visit. Lillie’s Bordello, located on Adam Court on Grafton Street, is a regular haunt of visiting celebs and gorgeous girls. And, don’t forget La Cave – Dublin’s oldest and original wine bar, with over 350 different wines to sample.
The Central Hotel Library Bar, just off George Street on the bustling Exchequer Street, is a fantastic spot in the city – and it's a classic hidden gem. You enter the pub via the hotel lobby, and sink into the cosy armchairs when the drink has all got a little too much. Although, try to get there early, as it’s hugely popular among savvy Dubliners. George Street has long been thought of as the bohemian quarter of Dublin and the newest recruit, The Chelsea Drugstore, encompasses that ethos to chilling out. This epic basement bar – set in a former pharmacy - has a touch of illegality to it, the reason it is so unique and charming, and attracts the bright, young things of Dublin. They even have a drink called The Penicillin - ideal for a stag do hangover.
North of the Liffey
The nightlife north of the river, and the seriously electric Temple Bar area, is slightly quieter but a whole load more traditional. This is where you’ll see the real Dublin, sink a Guinness (or ten) and have some good craic with the locals. The Parnell Heritage Pub & Grill, just off O’Connell Street, is a mix of modern and authentic. It’s stylish, elegant and opulent, but it still evokes old Irish charm. Set a little further up Jervis Street, The Church Bar and Restaurant will steal your heart in the party capital. It’s an actual bar in a disused church – and this gorgeous conversion now houses a café, nightclub and stunning outdoor barbecue area for those balmy summer nights.
Capel Street, adjacent to Jervis Street, is also a long stream of fantastic bars. The Black Sheep’s unique selling point is craft beer, and lots of it. There are over 23 craft beers on tap, and over 110 different brews in the house. And, with sister pubs dotted all over Ireland, this is where you’ll get a real taste of the city. Slattery’s, one of the few places in Ireland to hold a licence to open at 7am on a weekend, is also a huge institution in Dublin. The pub has recently undergone a modern makeover, but it hasn’t lost an ounce of character or soul.
Camden / Wexford / Harcourt Street
As you head out of town, the nightlife becomes edgier and alternative. Whelan’s, situated on the bustling Wexford Street, is a renowned pub and live music venue. It’s seen everyone from Jeff Buckley to Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party to Ed Sheeran perform – and it was even a location for the film P.S I Love You.
The Bleeding Horse, just on Upper Camden Street, is a significantly historic pub in Dublin – and an icon in the party capital. Dating back to the 17th century, this pub has even been named in Ulysses, and is now a prime spot for old ales, craft beers and delicious gin. Lively Harcourt Street lies just minutes from Camden and Wexford – and it’s the home of Dtwo. This place is huge, with three DJs performing within the epic club, a sports bar with 20 huge screens and a fully-heated beer garden, which is even spread over two sweeping floors.
Dublin bars are world-famous and you’ll be swept up in the sheer excitement of The Fair City. If Dublin has sparked your attention, check out our stag weekend location page to see what you can get up to in Ireland's rowdy party capital.