This Dublin Bar Serves One-Off Guinness You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

The Open Gate
The Open Gate | © St James' Gate Brewery

Guinness, undeniably, is one of Dublin’s essential tourist attractions. The company has long been brewing the iconic thick black stout on the south bank of the city’s River Liffey, where Arthur Guinness and his team set up with such confidence that they signed a lease lasting 9,000 years back in 1759.

It tastes better in Dublin’, locals have long insisted, and it’s hard to argue. For a start, the local barmen know how to pour it correctly (two-thirds full, left to rest for a couple of minutes, and then topped up gently to the brim). The setting – rustic trad pubs that feel (and often are) unchanged in generations – is perfect, and being down the road from the factory (and served at an astonishingly fast rate in popular inner city pubs) does suit the brew through which bubbles sink.

But there’s also been a revolution in the Guinness camp in recent years, albeit a slow one. The black stuff has long had several versions (draught extra and the stronger extra stout, for example), but recently, other brews have emerged from St James’ Gate. The lager Hop House 13 appeared in 2015, following on from 2014’s Dublin Porter. In 2016, Guinness Rye Pale Ale joined the party. The new beers all come from one experimental corner of the brewery and a project called the Brewer’s Project. And now, through The Open Gate, you can visit the spot where the magic happens.

The Open Gate

Like the popular Guinness Storehouse (Ireland’s most visited attraction, which boasts an incredible view of the city skyline from its high-altitude bar), The Open Gate sits within the Guinness factory grounds, but it’s a little more exclusive, and many locals have yet to learn of its existence. It’s actually existed for over a hundred years, but the bar’s only been open to the public since 2016, having previously been the preserve of those with a Guinness connection. Open just three nights a week (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5.30pm to 10.30pm), the bar is amongst the bowels of the factory, and entry has to be booked in advance. Tickets, which cost €6, include a tasting board of three small beers, after which you can snap up as many others as you want.

And you will want: many of these beers are here only temporarily, the products of the brewers playing around with their latest experimental recipes. Some will end up in pubs, while you may find yourself supping on a pint of something else that’s never going to be produced again (naturally, you can buy the big-name ones too).

The Open Gate

Far more beers have graced the bar in the past few months than Guinness has made publically available in its entire previous 250-plus-year history. They include Sea Salt and Burnt Sugar Stout, Vanilla Stout, Deep Purple Blackcurrant Sour, and Tropical IPA. The brewers have also celebrated other beer cultures, whipping up Vienna Common Lager, Oktoberfestbier, Imperial Dunkelweiss (at a staunch 8.2%), and Antwerpen Export. There’s also been the truly experimental, such as Nitro Coffee Stout, Apple Pie Christmas Ale, Meatopia Smoked Ale, and Strawberry Porter.

All that aside? Ignore the clunky machinery fenced off around the sides, the fantastically enthusiastic barmen and the obvious temptation to try everything on offer on the regularly edited chalked up beer list, and it’s just like a normal pub, big screen, bustle and all. You’ll just have to find it, tucked behind a tiny gate off Guinness central, Thomas Street, and dig in.

To learn more about The Open Gate and make that essential pre-visit booking, click here (website requires you to enter your age before browsing).

The Open Gate
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article