The Best Live Music Venues in Dublin

Ciaran Lawler

Music is an integral part of Irish culture and society, and so it is no surprise that there is an abundance of exciting live music venues in Dublin, ranging from traditional to modern and offbeat. Here we will check out some of the most intriguing and alternative venues for gigs in the city.

1. Vicar Street

Vicar Street

A great place for a fun night out, Vicar Street opened its doors in 1998 and has since gone on to be one of the city’s most beloved event venues. The staff are very helpful and considerate, drinks are reasonably priced considering the area, and the atmosphere is always positive. There is a seating capacity of 1,050 and a standing capacity of 1,500, so the setting is rather spacious without loosing the essential intimacy that one craves when attending a gig. In addition to music, Vicar Street is also famous for its hosting of brilliant stand up comedians from Ireland and the UK, including Dara O’ Briain and Jimmy Carr.

Vicar Street, 58-59 Thomas St, Dublin 8, Ireland, +353 1 775 5800

Vicar Street © Keiran Lynam/FlickrVicar Street © Keiran Lynam/Flickr

2. The Grand Social

Bar, Irish, Pub Grub

The Grand Social has been nominated for National Venue of the Year for four years in a row, and it’s not very difficult to see why. There are regular themed nights, world class DJs, and a fascinating assortment of some of the most exciting musical acts from around the world spanning countless genres. Some of the highlights of this excellent venue include the spacious beer garden on the roof and a weekly indoor market which features colorful stalls selling everything from classic vinyl records to crazy retro furniture.

3. J.J. Smyth's

J.J. Smyth’s

This traditional family-run pub in the centre of the city is considered by many to be the best venue in Dublin for local jazz and blues. A conventional pub downstairs, music is performed on the second floor in a small and personal setting, which will undoubtedly please anyone who truly values these genres, especially if accompanied by a pint of Guinness. Seldom visited by tourists, you may well find J.J. Smyth’s worth your while if you’re prepared to try something a little bit different.

J.J. Smyth’s, 12 Aungier St, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 475 2565

4. The Button Factory

Nightclub, Cocktails, Beer, Wine

Set in the location of what used to be the Temple Bar Music Centre, The Button Factory plays host to an eclectic selection of acts and genres, ranging from indie rock to house. Much like Vicar Street, the venue is neither too large nor too small to impede on the experience, and there is always an upbeat aura about the place no matter who’s performing that particular night. The Temple Bar setting also makes it an ideal musical destination for tourists, as you are within easy reach of a host of other attractions in the city. Stars performing at The Button Factory © kDamo/Flickr

5. Cobblestone Pub

Cobblestone Pub

If you’re after traditional and authentic Irish music performed live and with gusto, then this is the pub for you. Very much a Spartan tavern geared towards locals, here you will find superb musicians playing together out of sheer love for the art form and a desire to express their culture openly and in a truly spontaneous fashion. The Cobblestone is a vastly preferably alternative to the many artificial Irish music experiences aimed at the tourist crowd.

Cobblestone Pub, 77 King St N, Smithfield, Dublin 7, Ireland, +353 1 872 1799

Cobblestone Pub © btwashburn/FlickrCobblestone Pub © btwashburn/Flickr

6. The Wright Venue

Nightclub, Pub Grub

Boasting a staggering seven bars over three floors, this immense nightclub has built up a reputation that precedes itself in terms of sheer extravagance. Well known DJs such as Laidback Luke and Roger Sanchez have performed at The Wright Venue, and the sound system is nothing short of incredible. A very sleek and stylish establishment that has been known to attract major celebrities ranging from Rihanna to 50 Cent.

7. Whelan's


One of the most popular and well-known live music venues in Dublin, Whelan’s of Wexford Street has seen a wide variety of Irish and international musicians perform within its hallowed walls, including renowned artists such as Nick Cave and Jeff Buckley. You can also enjoy a pint in the bustling pub both before and after gigs, which helps to enhance the friendly and cosy setting provided by the establishment.

Whelan’s, 25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 478 0766

Deerhunter playing at Whelan's © Redheadwalking/FlickrDeerhunter playing at Whelan’s © Redheadwalking/Flickr

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