Repurposed wigmaker shops, old bank vaults and rooftop winter gardens – Dublin’s cocktail bars are full of life and character.
Cocktails are a craft that Dublin revels in. The expert mixologists in the city create a range of inventive menus bursting with flavour and locally sourced ingredients. Giving old classics and familiar favourites a distinctly Irish twist, these are the best cocktail bars in Dublin.
The first and only bar in the Republic of Ireland to be nominated in the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, The Liquor Rooms is a quayside bar perfect for cocktail aficionados. A neon sign leads guests downstairs to the bar, which is spread across four rooms of vintage glamour. Here you’ll find an array of expertly crafted concoctions, named after infamous and inspirational Irish women throughout the ages, such as pirate queen Grace O’Malley and Maud Gonne, Irish revolutionary. There is even an old-fashioned bandstand, complete with a dance floor where you can let your inhibitions go (after a healthy dose of liquid courage, of course).
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Irish, European, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
Catering to everyone from creatives and revellers to the after-work crowds, Dublin’s Bow Lane is a cocktail bar with a speciality for shaking things up with its unusual and unexpected combinations. Boasting impressive medleys of liquor, it’s best known for its range of chocolate-based cocktails, such as The Katy Perry – a blend of Jameson Irish Whiskey, home-made ganache and white chocolate, served hot with cream and nutmeg. Visit its Drag Brunch, held on the last Sunday of the month, where host Davina Devine dishes up incredible entertainment to go with your eggs royale.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, European, Cocktails, $$$
Dublin’s Fade Street Social features an extensive range of cocktails, served in both the main restaurant and a rooftop bar. Perfect for Dublin’s often temperamental weather, the outdoor space is heated and sheltered. The cocktails are inspired by the many colourful characters who called Dublin home during the 1900s, such as the notorious gangsters the Animal Gang and bar proprietor Madam ‘Dolly’ Fawcett, giving a glimpse into the city’s past. Head chef Dylan McGrath has also designed a menu of bar bites to accompany the beverages, from pumpkin, pork and chestnut flatbread to salt cod brandade. An all-round classic style makes this a great spot in which to relax and unwind.
This lively venue on the corner of Aungier Street and South Great George’s Street has been a hotspot for revellers in Dublin’s Creative Quarter since opening in 1999. The open-plan main bar is perfectly designed for mingling and sampling the medley of beverages on the menu. Upstairs, plush chairs and tables create a more intimate space well suited to a romantic evening or small gatherings. The bar’s sparkling wine-based cocktails, such as the Marilyn Monroe (a simple mix of prosecco, apple schnapps and grenadine), add a spritz of luxury to any Dublin night out.
Located in the middle of glamorous Dublin nightlife spot Dawson Street, Sams Bar never disappoints. The front of the bar is framed by a charming conservatory where lounge chairs and hanging ivy form a cosy space for those in search of a quiet place to catch up. Venture farther inside, and discover an upscale party atmosphere, accompanied by an assortment of top-notch cocktails. The Lady Sam is a delicate blend of elderflower cordial and vanilla essence topped off with fresh raspberries – the undeniable star of the menu.
Nestled in a historic building in the Powerscourt Centre, Farrier and Draper is a stylish, intimate venue ideal for anything from after-work drinks to a celebratory night out. Guests can enjoy cocktails in the Georgian Room, a chic, dimly lit space decked out with plush velvet chairs and crystal chandeliers, or while admiring the array of paintings showcased in the Gallery Room. Food is served all day in the La Cucina restaurant on the lower level, but the true draw is the selection of house cocktails. One not to miss is the Mo Ghile Mear, which is made using the traditional Irish spirit poitín.
Stepping into the speakeasy-style Vintage Cocktail Club (VCC) feels much like being invited to join a secret society. Ring the doorbell of the mysterious black door in Temple Bar, and be welcomed into this hideaway of curated liquors and chic surroundings. A world unto itself, VCC is set over three floors with 1920s decor, antique furniture and a roaring fire., not to mention one of the most extensive cocktail menus in Dublin. In addition, the bar has a range of signature blends, such as the refreshing mix of herbs, apple liqueur and orange bitters in the Partly Parsley.
Since opening in 2014, Drury Buildings’ cocktail bar has established itself as a prime drinking establishment in Dublin. If you need further convincing, the colourful mural art decorating its exterior is bound to impress. The inside of the bar is equally crisp and bright, with simple, classic cocktail offerings. Its speciality Drury Snapper (Opihr spiced gin, Drury spice mix and tomato juice) is a great way to kick-start any night.
Don’t let the unassuming front of Peruke and Periwig fool you; here, it is most definitely what’s on the inside that counts. An excellent choice for fans of fine dining and leisurely sipping, this bar is cosy without being claustrophobic and is a Georgian parlour of delights, with dark wood furnishings, velvet curtains and, in homage to the venue’s past life as a wigmaker’s shop, a display of 17th-century wigs. Though the fine-dining-style dinner menu is on the small side, the cocktail selection more than makes up for it. The bar specialises in re-interpretations of old classics, such as its Cold S’Mores; an indulgent take on a White Russian, this cocktail features Kahlua expertly mixed with marshmallow-infused vodka and crème de cacao.
The Mint Bar at The Westin Dublin has become a popular cocktail spot on its own merit. Housed in an underground vault that once operated as part of the Old Bank on College Green, the bar has an understated sense of elegance and sophistication. With moody lighting and wood furnishings, it’s an ideal spot for a low-key occasion. In addition to its huge selection of cocktails, it has a bespoke GIY (Gin It Yourself) menu that lets you create a personalised G&T to your exact taste.