When I first moved to Dublin (for graduate school 5 years ago now!), there were only a few spots to go for anything other than the usual Guinness, Heineken, Stella, Bud, or Bulmers in a traditional pub. You had The Porterhouse- with at least 5 locations, Bull & Castle, The Bernard Shaw, Dice Bar, and a few others. Fast forward five years and craft beer and microbrews can now be found in typical pubs and bottles/cans sold in off licenses and average grocery stores. The overwhelming popularity of these unique Irish brews have almost taken the joy out of discovering a new, underground, unknown craft beer pub. Sometimes you will hear me gripe about how all of the craft beer joints are carbon copies of each other. Most have mismatched furniture, gently worn sofas and chairs, piles of sticky board games (most with pieces missing), and the famous “Pizza and a Pint for 10 Euros” special. Nonetheless, I still love most of these pubs! They have really created such hip vibe in Dublin and are a legitimate alternative to the Old Man’s Pub (though I still love those too!). They have also helped foster the recent craft and micro brewery resurgence in Ireland. There are some unique Irish breweries gaining popularity and recognition as of late. Irish beer is more than the black stuff! Here are a few of my current favorites* in town. Black Sheep Owned by Galway Bay Brewery, this pub on Capel Street has quickly become a staple in the foodie/brew scene. L Mulligan Grocer This small Stoneybatter pub does everything right. It has some of the best food around, an extensive beer and whiskey selection, and mouthwatering deserts. Beerhouse Another northsider! Probably the newest on the list, but it has a chill vibe and great selection- not to mention that Pint and Pizza for a Tenner deal.
Dice Bar This teeny pub, facing the Luas track, always has great jams and an impressive selection of the not-so-mainstream craft brews. Bull & Castle Owned and operated by F.X.Buckley Butchers, this beer hall holds a special place in my heart, as it was our weekly hangout while I was in grad school. They recently renovated the restaurant on the ground floor, so chowing down on an FX Buckley steak is almost required.
Blackbird This Rathmines pub, owned by the same folks as P. Macs and Cassidy’s, is quite the hipster hangout (hard to find a cool new spot that isn’t!). Against The Grain Another pub operated by Galway Bay Brewery that’s located on the buzzing Wexford Street. Against the Grain has got great food, fun tables made of old kegs, and even started selling and re-filling growlers, which is fairly new to Dublin. * As of March 2015. List subject to change.