There’s no shortage of pubs in Dublin. But there are fewer traditional Irish pubs—the ones that have historical significance, ornate architecture and that tourists (sometimes) avoid. Per my experience, here are three local favorites for your Dublin pub crawl. Sláinte! (Cheers!)
The Long Hall
51 S. Great George’s Street, Dublin 2, 353/1-475-1590
With its red and white striped awnings, red door and red subway tiles on the exterior, this is one of Dublin’s best and oldest pubs. Aptly named for its long, narrow interior, The Long Hall retains most of its original Victorian interiors from 1881. Almost everything inside is red: the walls, the carpets, the ceilings. Wooden stools, round tables and the beloved bar complement gold leafing, beveled glass and mirrored shelves, which proudly display Jameson, Bailey’s, O’Hara’s and more. Maybe this is why Bruce Springsteen visits here every time he’s in Dublin.
O’Neill’s Pub & Kitchen
2 Suffolk St., Dublin 2, 353/1-679-3656
Only a few blocks from Trinity College, O’Neill’s is on the bustling corner of Suffolk Street in the heart of Dublin. I couldn’t ignore the forest-green exterior or the large clock hanging overhead. O’Neill’s is great for two reasons: the carving station and the multilevel, mazelike seating. Established in 1713, O’Neill’s is a casual self-serve pub: You are responsible for finding seats and menus, ordering food and pints, and then paying and settling in. After going up and down several landings, I find at least five different seating areas with large TVs and not an empty spot in sight. The carving station offers meats, stews and Guinness pies lined up under warming lights, alongside cabbage, potatoes and carrots. I promise that once you have a seat and a plate of food, it’s worth the work.
The Stag’s Head
1 Dame Court, Dublin 2, 353/1-679-3687
The Stag’s Head is a popular place for locals to gather for an after-work drink. This Victorian favorite, opened in 1894, was named the “Best Pub in Ireland” by National Hospitality Ireland in 2016. Large crowds gather outside the entrance with pints in hand, and the iconic stag’s head lives above the door. This pub has live traditional Irish music and classic Irish foods, including fish n’ chips. Upstairs, the Parlour Lounge, a former smoking room, serves libations in a smaller, cozier lounge. True to its name, there’s another stag’s head that hangs over patrons at the main bar.