There’s no denying it: Dublin has some of the best pubs in the world, where you’ll find perfect pints of Guinness and a charming, friendly atmosphere. The problem is that there are more of these amazing pubs in Dublin than you could ever visit in a week. So, if you want to check out the best pubs that Dublin has to offer, without venturing too far from the centre of town, try this pub crawl, where the pubs are all within a 15-minute walk of each other.
You start early. On a green and red corner of St Anne’s Street, just a stone’s throw away from Grafton Street. The first pub on your itinerary is Kehoe’s, and you feel like you’ve entered the Victorian era as you walk through the door. You grab a stool by the serving hatch and admire the original 19th-century grocery drawers of mahogany. There’s no music playing, and soon you’re chatting with the locals. In the heritage bar on the other side of the stained glass mahogany doors, time and place feel like foreign concepts. Everything, from the beautifully-carved black bar and worn-down carpets to the tiny side snugs and low doors, contributes to a literary air true to the late greats including Kavanagh and Behan, who used to drink here.
Grafton Street is still busy as you nip across to Harry Street where you find McDaids, another of the key haunts during Dublin’s literary heyday. You barely need to go to the bar to order, but you do, if only for the chance to chat to more locals. The barman promises to bring over your pint when it’s ready, and you’re lucky enough to find a seat at the window. The 70-year-old next to you says, “Howaya?” as you make yourself comfortable.
You wave goodbye to the barman and your new friend, and walk through Westbury Mall, past the trendy terraces of Coppinger Row and into Grogan’s. Also completely free from music, screens, and other distractions, Grogan’s was established in 1899, and hasn’t changed much since. You’re starting to feel hungry, so you order a cheese and ham toasty. When it arrives, you can’t believe how good it looks. A river of glorious melted cheese seeps out the sides of your incredible toasty. This is classic, no-frills pub food done just the way it should be. After lunch, you take a minute to admire the quirky art covering the walls and listen to the conversations of the locals. You pick up a copy of the Irish Times and catch up on the day’s current affairs as the afternoon turns into evening.
Only George’s Street Arcade separates you from your last destination. It’s called the Long Hall for a reason, with a hallway to the left of the pub, which until 1951 was the only part allowing women. Fortunately, times have changed, and the lively, mixed crowds are a testament to this. You order a bottle of craft beer and find a good spot to stand in. Before long you’re engaged in deep conversation with a couple of friendly local lads. There are more pubs in Dublin to check out, of course, and you know your evening’s just getting started.