You may have read our recent recommendations for pubs in NEXT's Guide to the Best Pubs in Dublin in which we promised a dedicated recommendation list of our favourite craft beer pubs in Dublin to come soon... well here it is! We brought you our choice of Irish craft beers back which also included a little bit more about the brewing scene here, you can read it here, and below is our personal pick of the pubs to taste them in. Some are craft beers only (no Guinness – Really, in Dublin?? I hear you ask – Yep!) and some offer both craft beers and their 'waterier' cousins. Of course, with a note of subjectivity and in no particular order.
By the way, when you are in Dublin join NEXT City Tours for our Brew Legacy Tour, a free tour taking you through the fascinating story of Dublin's brewing heritage, the remarkable story Guinness and their dominance in the brewing industry here for centuries as well as the exciting craft beer revolution with free samples of local craft beers, not too shabby even for a paid tour...but It's free.
The PorterHouse – TempleBar, 16 -18 Parliment Street
One of the three Porterhouse pubs in Dublin, the first was opened in the suburb of Bray in 1989 and In 1996 they opened this one in TempleBar which was the first brewpub in Dublin, making them very early pioneers in challenging big global corporate brewery brands here. Brewing is done off site now due to limited capacity such is the demand. Their own Plain Porter and Oyster Stout have been recognised as the official best and second best stouts in the world respectively and they brew more of their own as well as offering a huge selection of imported quality beers. The character of the pub is great and there's always a lively atmosphere. Decent menu too.
The Black Sheep – Capel Street
Great staff, nice décor, no tv or music so the atmosphere is genuine, driven by chatting and laughing and fuelled by high-spirited beer lovers. Never uncomfortably packed due to decent size and plenty of seating as well as a basement area. Great spot for cask beers and seasonals and the staff like to recommend new exciting beers.
Against The Grain – Wexford Street
A sister pub of The Black Sheep, it offers an equally brilliant selection of craft beers and specials from Ireland and around the world. There's a different kind of buzz about this place owing to it's Camden Street location and is popular with the hipsters...which is grand actually because you find yourself comfortable describing your beer as “subtly bitter with biscuity fruit notes” without sounding like tool. Good lunch and dinner menus, a wee bit pricey for the typical backpacker perhaps but none the less tasty.
The Beerhouse – Capel Street
This is a nice place, bright and breezy by day and delicately lit by night. The Beerhouse offers a fine selection of independent beers, local and international. Pizza, live music, eclectic furniture and wall paintings make this intimate, unassuming spot a worthy place to get crafty.
The Brew Dock - Amiens Street
Another sister of Against The Grain and The Black Sheep, The Brew Dock again is similar to the fantastic selection of beers and decent food. Its location is close to train, tram and bus depots / stops and the financial services district means it gets a lot of the commuters and after-work crowd but also great for a casual night which makes for a busy enough but not too rushed vibe. There's an upstairs section too as well as the ever popular presence of board games.
JW Sweetman – Burgh Quay
The only brewpub in Dublin currently and full of aged character Sweetman's is centrally located overlooking the river Liffey near O'Connell bridge. They have 5 of their own brews, guest brews, a decent selection of bottled beers too as well as a few of the big brewery beers. I particularly like their cask stout when it's in, they offer a great menu and focus on beer and food pairings and a fine traditional lunchtime carvery. Three floors, big windows on the river and spacious - it's an ideal place for a couple of pints with a few of your peeps.
L.Mulligan Grocer – Stoneybatter
This pub is an unlikely one for this particular list but only because it's location in Stoneybatter doesn't make it as easy for you backpackers and hostellers to get to from the city centre proper but it must appear on the list because it's a real diamond of the pub scene. Very local and very unique, it's worth the short trek for the wonderful beer selection and it's tasty artisan food.
Darkey Kellys – Fishamble Street
I like Darkeys for a number of reasons, not least for its craft beer selection. It hasn't adopted craft beers at the expense of it's traditional pub ideals, instead it's managed to marry both worlds and has done so reasonably well. A busy tap space, one side of the central bar is the standard big brewery fare while it's opposite side is dedicated to local Dublin and Irish craft beers. It's great to see locals who have drank the likes of Guinness there for years take the plunge and try something different and being pleasantly surprised. A nice little beer garden at the rear is usually quiet and great for a pint on a fine day. It's on our Free Brew Legacy tour so you can join us to visit or check it out in your own time. The location of the pub and the person after whom it's named, Darkey Kelly, has a very interesting story too ;)
The Thomas House – Thomas Street
This is a unique enough kind of pub too, en-route to the Guinness Storehouse and I personally like it a lot. In a historic area of the city, it gets a good crop of locals and art students from the nearby college and pumps out good tunes including punk, rockabilly, ska, psychobilly and blues. Good selection of craft beers, more so in bottles than on tap but nevertheless a good spot to venture.
That's it for now guys & gals. It's worth noting that the majority of the above pubs were early adopters of the craft beer movement, indeed were an integral part of driving it. But in recent years more and more 'ordinary' pubs are offering craft beers so it's becoming a standard enough trait of pubs in general in Dublin these days so get crafty when you're in town.