Dublin is the bustling capital of the Republic of Ireland—alive with history and charm; it’s also a social hub known for busy pubs and vibrant city streets, all with a cozy village feel that welcomes its visitors with open arms.

And Irish pubs are often where travelers can find some of the best experiences in this rambling, scenic city—popular spots that are as diverse as the city itself. From classic “old man pubs” to traditional Victorian snugs, Dublin has its fair share of amazing spots where visitors to this city at the mouth of the River Liffey will immediately feel at home, and soon be feeling like an honorary Dubliner.

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In The Know: Irish Pub Etiquette

Ireland is famous for its pubs—and visitors to the city of Dublin will certainly have their pick of cool spots and traditional haunts to choose from. But there are some unspoken rules that visitors to Ireland should know before stepping into an Irish pub for the first time—unspoken rules of etiquette that are part of the pub culture. Before visiting, be sure to brush up on these essential tips—perfect for any traveler looking to raise their pint and enjoy the pub life to the fullest.

  • Buy A Round This is one of the most important rules of Irish pub culture, and for visitors who want to make friends and truly mingle with the locals—buying a round is a good place to start. Drinking with Dubliners is part of the whole experience—so be sure to belly up to the bar and grab a round when it’s your turn. This counts for couples, too—each one of you should be sure to get a round if you are having drinks.
  • Guinness Takes Time Dublin pubs and Guinness go hand in hand—but a great pint of Guinness takes time! Once the bartender fills the glass about halfway, it needs to sit and settle before being filled. So be sure not to grab the glass before it’s ready—this is a sure way to look like a newbie.
  • Stool Savvy It’s not always easy to find an empty stool or chair in a busy Irish pub—but grabbing an empty seat without asking is considered bad form; so if there’s an empty seat, make sure to ask those hanging out nearby if they are using it before snagging it. And for those lucky enough to get a seat—be sure to hang onto it.
  • Tipping Tips Tipping is tough when visiting a new country—so it’s important to know the ropes. While tipping isn’t required in Irish pub culture, it is appreciated; especially when getting table service. Generally, etiquette dictates a 10-15% tip when receiving table service; and while tipping is not always expected at the bar, if the service is good, it’s always nice to leave a tip—or leave a bit extra for the bartender to enjoy a beverage on your dime.
  • Mind Your Manners Dublin pubs can get really busy, and it may be difficult to get the bartender’s attention. Patience is a virtue here, and the key is to get as close as you can and try to make eye contact—but do not wave your arm or money in the air. This is considered extremely bad form; and will most likely have you waiting longer. Also, be sure to have your order ready, if you don’t want to have to wait even longer!
  • It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint Irish pubs are about drinking slowly and enjoying time with friends. What’s the rush? For those who want to truly enjoy their Dublin pub experience, be sure to slow down and soak up the atmosphere—you’ll be glad you did.

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Give These Dublin Pubs A Try

There are a ton of Dublin pubs to choose from—after all, the city is famous for them! These are just a few notable spots for visitors who want some great places to add to their Irish itinerary.

  • The Brazen Head is one of the oldest pubs in Dublin—and that’s saying a lot. Come for a pint of Guinness and stay for the live music and a plate of classic fish and chips.
  • Considered one of the best pubs in Dublin, The Palace Bar has honored its Victorian heritage for almost 200 years—and had remained largely unchanged. This is a great place to grab some amazing Irish Whiskey.
  • Neary’s is a UNESCO City of Literature Bar—and thanks to its location near the Gaiety Theatre, it also has long connections to the world of acting as well. Visitors say the Guinness here is top-notch; and it’s also a great place to grab a traditional Irish sandwich, such as an Open Beef Sandwich With Tomatoes.
  • A pub with connections to famous Dubliner and literary giant James Joyce, and a reputation for being haunted? Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street has got all that and more—a favorite of Dubliners for generations, this is an old-school pub where visitors can hang with the locals and enjoy a great pint.
  • The Stag’s Head is another traditional Irish pub where visitors can have it all—a great pint of Guinness, live music, great hospitality, and of course, a delicious Beef and Guinness Stew.
  • A favorite of famed Irish writer Brandon Behan, McDaid’s Pub once was home to the Dublin City Morgue—but don’t let that keep you away, as this Dublin institution is great for soaking up the literary history, and is full of Gothic charm—a great place to grab a pint.

With so many amazing Dublin pubs to choose from, it may be difficult for visitors to decide where to start—however, the best pubs are rooted in the traditional; local haunts that have been Dublin institutions for centuries. Literary history; classic Irish charm; and of course, the best Guinness around, these Dublin pubs will have travelers raising a pint and saying ‘Sláinte!’ like a true Dubliner.

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