There is nothing casual about a beer in Dublin. Liquid lunches can quickly turn into long, beer-soaked afternoons that bleed into semi-sober suppers and end in superbly sloppy evenings. It is a town on the brink and one of last great ones where time is nothing more than a measuring stick rarely proving inhibitive. What is starting early to one is late to another but there is no better place to start for either than…
4:23 P.M. The Jameson Distillery
Guinness is the drink of choice in Dublin but the real prize of the island is Jameson, the clean-cut fire of Eire. The distillery boasts some history and some rare bottles for the connoisseur but the key is to be quick to the draw and volunteer for the extra tasting at the end. Trust us, you’ll leave there swearing by the stuff. We did.
6:08 P.M. Fallon and Byrne
With a long night ahead (and already started with a few stiff drinks) head over to Fallon and Byrne, an institution in Dublin and a big step up (in quality, not price) from the standard pub fare. For the wine aficionado this place is a must, unrivaled in Ireland with over 600 bottles in the cellar and plenty of beer on tap.
8:19 P.M. Shelbourne Park
With the sun setting and everybody sufficiently loose it’s time to head over to Shelbourne Park and drop a few bills at the track. The locals are as passionate as they are friendly and even a first timer can get some helpful advice for the price of a pint. Good odds and great prices make this an awesome cross-section of Irish culture and a great place to pass the time before the bars get busy.
11:24 P.M. Dawson Lounge
Either up a hundred or down two, your next stop is the Dawson Lounge, Dublin’s smallest pub and rumored to be a favored watering hole of U2’s Bono. If he was there he would be hard to miss; the whole place holds about 15 people and even that’s crowded, but the pints are perfect and the atmosphere great.
12:01 A.M. – Café en Seine
For the past twenty years many of Dublin’s dives have come under new ownership and been revitalized with a sort of modern baroque design. Why modern baroque is unclear and has been met with mixed reaction but it is hard to complain about Café en Seine, an enormous, beautiful cavern in the city center. After 11 it is surprisingly busy for its size, but worth a stop if for no other reason than to explore all the different areas and architecture.
1:21 A.M. – Leggs
By now you’ve probably noticed the bars closing (or maybe not depending on how many Guinness deep you are) but mainstream watering holes shut down early in Dublin mostly out of concern for their patrons (which is the same reason you cannot find a pool table or dart board anywhere in the city). That said, some places have different licenses and Leggs is one. Posing as a wine bar (fair warning: it is not known for its wine) Leggs lets can keep the party going before heading to…
2:03 A.M. Copper Faced Jacks
Arguably Dublin’s busiest after hours club, this wooden haven fills up around midnight with the premier party crowd and rages on until about three in the morning when everyone staggers out onto the street and pairs off for whatever behind-closed-doors adventures might lie ahead. But if you struck out there is one place that is always open.
3:33 A.M. Fitzwilliam Card Club
If you managed to not lose the farm at the track, the Fitzwilliam card club runs 24/7 and makes for a good place to wind down the evening. They’ll even feed you and give you night cap (as if you need one) so long as you’re gambling.