What makes a bar cool? This question might not bring sleepless nights to elite scientists, unless they’re actually having a cocktail in such a place. It’s not just a well thought out drinks menu or music that the regulars will enjoy, and it’s definitely not the consequence of having plenty of ice (although running out of it would be seriously uncool). Ignore the existence of thermometers for a second, as for the purpose of this experiment it is impossible to simply go and measure which ones are the coolest bars in Dublin.
A cool bar is hard to define, but easy to recognise. It’s a place that will give you cool cred when you recommend it to your coworkers, and will make your friends take your night out suggestions seriously the next time. Dublin has plenty of cool bars and, whether you are looking to dance the night away, enjoy rockin’ bands or indulge in high end cocktails, this list has a table for you!
The sophisticated vintage charm of this bar will make you feel like one of Gatsby’s glamorous guests, so pour the Champagne or discover exciting mixes from their multi award-winning cocktail menu. The place is home of one of Dublin’s best Old Fashioneds, and there is always an interesting event going on, from movie screenings and artistic gatherings, to alternative music gigs, top DJ’s and immersive themed nights.
Ideal For: Great Cocktails and alternative entertainment.
Don’t miss: Their fabulous events, featured in their frequently updated calendar.
Where is it: 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2.
More information: theliquorrooms.com
It might look like your friendly neighbourhood traditional Irish pub, but pass the door at Arthur Maynes and you’ll be surprised before you even have the first sip. A cozy atmosphere that keeps the nostalgia-driven old school apothecary inspiration of its Cork older brother offers the perfect balance between casual and sophistication. Although the highlight of their drinks section is their wine list, the place offers an eclectic selection of craft beers and cocktails. The food is on the finer side of gastropub.
Ideal For: After office drinks, wine tasting and catching up with friends.
Don’t miss: Their large selection of fine wine by the glass.
Where is it: 48 Donnybrook Road, Dublin 4.
More information: facebook.com/Arthur-Maynes-Donnybrook
Another argument for never judging a bar for its facade, this eclectic spot merges a playlist and a cocktail list in tune with the best trends happening now and an enchanting Victorian decor where it would almost be reasonable to expect Sherlock Holmes to walk in for a proper Gin and Tonic. The place deserves extra praise due to the quality of their food offer, which goes beyond your usual bar bites.
Ideal For: Arriving for dinner, staying in for drinks.
Don’t miss: Their music inspired cocktail menu with drinks created to honour different genres.
Where is it: No. 31 Dawson St, Dublin 2.
More information: peruke.ie
Even in name, the place evokes seductive advertising genius Don Draper, but not only Mad Men will find the luxurious, mansion-in-the-Hamptons-like allure of Farrier & Draper appealing. Leather and dark wood interiors are sprinkled with nods to equestrian sports and a generous amount of framed portraits and landscape, but our favourite artworks in this place are actually found in a glass thanks to the countless mixes that experienced hands will create with the fine spirits collection behind the bar.
Ideal For: A sophisticated and relaxed night out.
Don’t miss: Their basement restaurant, La Cucina, which offers fine Italian cuisine.
Where is it: Powerscourt Townhouse, 59 South William Street.
More information: farrieranddraper.ie
Opulent art deco design sets the tone of a chic venue where the music is so good that you might want to keep on dancing without sitting down, but if you do, their luxurious leather sofas are so ridiculously comfortable that you might not want to stand up. And if you think this is a though dilemma, wait till you see their cocktails!
Ideal For: A fabulous party or after party.
Don’t miss: Lily’s Lab, Ireland’s first micro-distillery, where -Thursday through Sunday- they have live distillations and serve unique cocktails.
Where is it: 1 – 2 Adam Court, Grafton Street.
More information: lilliesbordello.ie
Fun, creative and welcoming, this place is one of the highlights of Camden Street. With a hip street food menu and a colourful and youthful decor, it’s full of cool vibes. It’s bit of a “Goldilocks” bar, not too posh nor too edgy so you can enjoy the best of both worlds and simply enjoy it your way. Their beer selection features both Irish and imported craft, and their cocktails are as creative in presentation as they are in taste.
Ideal For: A fabulous party or after party.
Don’t miss: Their “Special Menu” which features 3 courses of fusion Latin American cuisine plus a surprising twist on the Brazilian Caipirinha for only €25.
Where is it: 72 – 73 Camdem Street, Dublin 2.
More information: camdenexchangedublin.com
Want to feel like a rockstar? Let your hair down and join the dark side for a night at Dublin’s original late night alternative music venue. Enjoy live music every night in a place where punk, rock and ska own the stage and where you can choose between many popular craft beers or a list of -surprisingly affordable- cocktails. If you get hungry mid-gig, they also make pizzas.
Ideal For: A night out with a rocker edge.
Don’t miss: Their electrifying Friday nights with live bands followed by a DJ playing until late.
Where is it: 14-15 Upper Ormond Quay Co. Dublin.
More information: facebook.com/Sin.E.Pub
The place introduces itself as “Your National f*cking treasure!” (exclamation mark included) and oh, it is. Loud and proud, it’s an iconic spot that manages to be meaningful and fun at the same time. Run by the inimitable Panti Bliss, it’s not only a legendary favourite of the LGBTI community in Ireland since 2007, but a vibrant, fabulous piece of Dublin’s city centre where everyone is invited to the party.
Ideal For: An LGBTI friendly night out.
Don’t miss: Their Saturday night performances by Panti’s drag daughters and guests.
Where is it: 7-8 Capel Street, Dublin 1.
More information: pantibar.com
The music playlist and volume allows conversation and the comfortable setting invites you to stay. With over 50 wines by the glass and twice as many by the bottle, wine lovers will be spoiled for choice in this friendly wine bar. Not sure what to try? Their staff is knowledgeable and helpful so just tell them what you like and they will look after you. Their food offer combines a full dinner menu with some lighter bar bites.
Ideal For: Relaxing over a bottle of wine or tasting several different options by the glass.
Don’t miss: Their “Mystery Wine” and the opportunity to take a bottle home if you guess right.
Where is it: 19 Ranelagh, Dublin 6.
More information: theexchequerwinebar.ie
Inspired in the magic of Gulliver’s Travels, this stunning bar is located within The Conrad Hotel and it features one of the most creative menus in town. Head Bartender Alan Moore developed the drinks based on famous episodes from the pages of Jonathan Swift’s classic and everything in the place, from the floor to the ceiling, evokes and extol the great tradition of Irish literature.
Ideal For: Escaping into a fantasy world where high-end cocktails tell a story.
Don’t miss: Their Afternoon Tea, also inspired in Swift’s work, with treats that will guide you through Gulliver’s adventures.
Where is it: Conrad Hotel, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland.
More information: lemuelsdublin.com
Named in the honour of Michael Moran (a.k.a. Zozimus), 19th century balladeer and poet, this bar hopes to emulate its honoree and bring smiles to those out in Dublin. Their food menu offers appetising international dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and their bar is filled with small-batch craft spirits. Their wine list is worth a nod, although even the most hardcore wine lovers will be tempted to sip on a mixed drink. Expect modern twist to classic cocktails inspired by the bards of Ireland.
Ideal For: Trying exciting off the beaten track spirits and creative cocktails.
Don’t miss: The stories behind the drinks! Talk to the staff, they’ll be delighted to tell you about it (bonus points for a couple of subtle nods to Game of Thrones on the menu).
Where is it: Centenary House, Anne’s Lane, Anne St S, Dublin 2.
More information: zozimusbar.ie
Located within The Stone Leaf, Dublin’s exciting multilevel space, this bar opens till late Fridays and Saturdays and if features a varied range of cocktails, craft beers, premium spirits and fine wines. The place has several booths you can book for groups that work perfectly for a semi-private party.
Ideal For: After-office drinks and private parties.
Don’t miss: Their premium selection of aged whiskies.
Where is it: 67 Lower Leeson Street Dublin 2.
More information: thestoneleaf.ie
Brunch becomes dinner and then party at 37 Dawson Street, where you can basically spend the day as they have an exciting offer that adapts to any time of the day. Their quirky decor prepares you to expect the unexpected but it is completely up to you and your party to decide how far down the rabbit hole to go: from an innocent after work catch up over coffee to a party marathon, everything is possible.
Ideal For: Dates and nights out with friends.
Don’t miss: The whiskey bar. A luxurious retreat located at the back of the building and an unmissable stop for fine whiskey lovers.
Where is it: 37 Dawson St., Dublin 2, Ireland.
More information: 37dawsonstreet.ie
A refined setting in which elegance permeates not just the design but the food and drinks available for your enjoyment. The kitchen closes at 10:30 pm so it’s a great option if you fancy a late dinner with a proper main. Fine spirits are the base for classic and original cocktails, and the place features several private and semi-private areas that groups will love.
Ideal For: Private events (not only you can book an area, they can organise cocktail making classes for your party).
Don’t miss: The Apothecary Bar, on the mezzanine, which offers a more intimate surroundings and an elegant atmosphere to party in style.
Where is it: 36 Dawson St., Dublin 2, Ireland.
More information: samsbar.ie
A unique beer offering and a quirky cocktail list created by Darren Costello and Ross Reilly which focuses on fresh produce and innovative ingredients. With a combination of classics reinvented and some original mixes, they invite you to ask for a surprise. The food menu is a big bonus, with emphasis on local ingredients and an interesting fusion between European and Asian flavours.
Ideal For: The beginning of a great night out.
Don’t miss: Their tank beer system. This is one of only two bars in Ireland that use Pilsner Urquell’s revolutionary tank beer system. It allows to us to serve fresh unpasteurised beer to the customer.
Where is it: 1 Royal Hibernian Way, Duke Lane Upper, Dublin 2.
More information: lemonandduke.ie
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.