The Best Bars in Cork, Ireland

Traditional Irish beer Guinness served in Dublins pubs ahead of St Patricks Day celebrations.
Traditional Irish beer Guinness served in Dublin's pubs ahead of St Patrick's Day celebrations. | © Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Ieva Matiejunaite

The city of Cork is a great place to experience Irish culture as lived by the locals. This small city has preserved Irish traditions beautifully, especially when it comes to food and drink. On that note, check out the best pubs to have a pint of Guinness or an Irish stew while listening to live folk music.
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South County Bar and Café

Guinness

This pub, though located quite far from the city center in the Douglas village area, is definitely a place worth visiting. Designed in a classic rustic style inside and out, South County Bar offers a great selection of local beers and homemade Irish food. Some of the patrons’ favourites include their delicious roast chicken and bangers and mash. The pub is also known for hosting celebrations, and features a special party menu with a great selection of snacks to accompany drinks for big gatherings. The nights in the pub are often accompanied by live music.

Welcome Inn

Jim Cashmans Pub

Irish stew

Situated right in the heart of the city, close to the Crawford Art gallery, this pub is frequented by locals and also welcomes tourists warmly. With very friendly staff, great traditional Irish pub food (such as the mouth-watering Irish stew), live sports broadcasts, plus live music in the evenings, Jim Cashmans has everything you could ask from a pub.

Franciscan Well Brewery

The Franciscan Well Brewery, is built on the site of the old Franciscan Monastery and Well that dates back to 1219. The Brewery combines modern technology with tradition in order to create a classic beer selection that includes lager, ale, stout and wheat beer. The bar prides itself on the fact that the craft beers it serves are completely natural, free of any kind of chemical preservatives. The brewery also offers tours for those interested in learning more about the craft of beer making.

Sober Lane

This great pub, situated right on the bank of the River Lee in the heart of Cork, is famous for their thin-based, generously topped pizzas – often called the best in town. Some of the other food specialities include delicious sweet potato fries and chicken goujons. Food is served until late. The drinks menu is extensive and includes everything you could wish for – from local craft beers to tasty cocktails. The lively atmosphere of the pub is often accompanied by music by local performers.

Gallagher’s Gastro Pub

This pub, situated on one of Cork’s most iconic corners in the city centre, is a live music venue hosting performances Wednesday to Sunday. Apart from a variety of local craft beers and cocktails, the pub has an extensive food selection including breakfast, brunch, lunch, evening and kids’ menus. The atmosphere of the bar is welcoming, and the staff are friendly and always happy to recommend beer and food options.

Abbot’s Ale House

This bar, located above a beer shop, offers an extensive collection of beers from Ireland and all over Europe; there are over 300 kinds to choose from. Abbot’s Ale House also serves many draught beers and the selection is changed regularly. Bear in mind this is not a place that serves food, but if you’re feeling peckish you could buy bottles of the drinks from the shop downstairs and take them home to accompany a home-cooked meal.

Mutton Lane Inn

This pub is deservedly included in the Cork Heritage Pub Trail. Situated right next to the English Market, this is a great place to stop after shopping. The staff are exceptionally friendly, the music they play is good and, to encourage conversation, there are no televisions. Ask about the pictures above the bar if you get a chance. Two of Cork’s famous Lord Mayors will be looking down on you, together with Johnny Cash.

Dan Lowrey’s Tavern

This traditional Irish pub is a little gem located close to the River Lee. Serving Guinness and other Irish beers alongside a selection of pub food including fish and chips, pasta and seafood suppers, Dan Lowrey’s fits the criteria for a great place to spend a fun night out with friends. The pub has a lively atmosphere and the staff are friendly. Their shepherd’s pie is something not to be missed.

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