Dublin pubs aren’t just good for drinking. Whether it’s a comforting weeknight meal after work or a leisurely lunch to punctuate a day of sight-seeing, casual doesn’t have to mean compromise when it comes to food – these picks offer some of the best meals in the city, which just happen to be in that cosiest of spaces, the Irish pub.
A licensed pub for over 300 years, O’Neill’s sits on the site where Dublin’s Viking leaders once held their councils of law. Just across the street from the Temple Bar Cultural Quarter and around the corner from Trinity College, this city centre institution has survived as long as it has by sticking to its principles – serving excellent quality food and drink in a welcoming, comforting setting. Offering everything from a full Irish breakfast of farm pork sausages, dry-cured streaky bacon and free range eggs to Carlingford Lough oysters on the half shell dressed with red wine and a shallot vinaigrette, O’Neill’s remains the champion of traditional Irish pub food.
The belief that ‘Irish produce is special and worth celebrating’ is reflected throughout the approach to food at L. Mulligan. Grocer pub in Stoneybatter. The beautifully preserved shop front façade of this former grocer sets the scene for a foodie experience using only the best of Irish ingredients. The menu is replete with simple and creative presentations of exquisite elements, like a golden beet, smoked tomato and mushroom roast or a chocolate and earl grey mousse served in a teacup alongside a poached pear and cornflower shortbread. The pub also sources an incredible array of craft beers and ciders and provides excellent pairing suggestions for all of their dishes to ensure your holistic happiness.
Courtesy of L. Mulligan. Grocer. | Courtesy of L. Mulligan Grocer
Just a moment’s walk from the gates of timeless St Stephen’s Green park, vintage beauty Peruke & Periwig sets an old-world ambience with dark walls, old portraits, age-pocked mirror signs and a library wall of well-worn volumes. Vintage-lovers adore the cosy and rustic yesteryear charm here, but the food menu is thoroughly modern fare made with premium Irish ingredients. Try the whipped Ardsallagh goat’s cheese with beets, toasted nuts and seeds or the pan-fried stone bass with scampi crumb. Their small bites are equally delicious and perfectly designed to accompany one of their luxurious cocktails, which are nearly too pretty to drink.
Dating from 1198, The Brazen Head on Bridge Street is officially Ireland’s oldest pub. Its exterior is an Instagrammer’s dream of exposed stonework and colourful flowers tumbling out of impossibly large hanging baskets, while the inside is a warren of bars and snugs in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Just a quick hop down the quay from Temple Bar’s main drag, The Brazen Head can still be touristy but in its own more relaxed way, with visitors and locals mingling over slow pints and bowls of delicious Guinness stew or seafood chowder while enjoying live traditional music sessions, which take place nightly. Check out their regular Irish storytelling evenings, which were voted the top choice on TripAdvisor for concerts and shows in the city in both 2015 and 2016.
If only ‘meat and two veg’ will do, you needn’t look further than The Duke, a classic Irish pub just off Grafton Street. Their roast of the day, served with a mountain of potatoes, seasonal veg and gravy, is the ultimate comfort food, especially when served in this cosy Victorian space filled with wood accents and soft lighting – you’ll definitely need a nap after a lunchtime visit. The Duke is also the starting point for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, which starts at 7.30 most nights, so it’s a perfect spot to line your stomach before filling up on prose and pints.