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Best Pubs in Dublin

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Across the river from the Four Courts stands The Brazen Head, reputed to be the oldest pub in Europe. A tavern has stood on this site since Viking times and The Brazen Head celebrated its 800th birthday in 1998. James Joyce was a regular and makes two references to a "Brazen Head" in Ulysses. Today one can enjoy a drink, order some scrumptious food and listen to the impromptu Irish traditional sessions that usually take place at the weekend; all in a historical and literary setting.

If you have never been to Dublin before and want to experience what it was like here before Ireland's fin-de-siécle economic boom, head for Grogan's. The seemingly immortal owner and barman, presides over the second home to a heady mix of artists, writers, street performers, hippies, students and diehard locals. There's no music, but you won't really notice because there's a unique atmosphere created by a city-centre pub with great Guinness, no pretensions and friendly staff who will make you a lovely ham and cheese toasted sandwich, even at 10.30p on a Saturday night.

The Porterhouse Brewing Company, established in 1989, was Dublin's first microbrewery. It has, ever since its inception, produced some of the best brews in the city, including its own very fine porter. Their Temple Bar brewpub is located on Parliament Street, where patrons are lured inside, thanks to the enormous vats that are visible from the street. Owing to its popularity, the place gets a little crowded towards the end of afternoon. Midst a handsomely decorated dining area, home-brews are served with much love along with a good selection of delicious pub grub. Not to be missed here are Temple Bräu, Hop Head and Wrasslers 4X Stout, couple these refreshing drinks with a portion of chicken wings; you'd soon be coming back for more!

This charming traditional pub is often frequented by journalists, due to the fact that it's directly across the road from the side entrance to the Irish Times building. The bar's interior remains virtually untouched by the ravages of the Celtic Tiger, and the antique décor and polished woodwork make for a relaxing pint. The function room upstairs is sometimes used for literary events such as poetry readings and writers' workshops.

Cassidy's is a pleasant local pub a little out from the City-Center, and its biggest claim to fame is the fact that Bill Clinton had at least three sips of a pint of Murphy's beer here when he visited Ireland in December 1995. For atmosphere and character it hardly merits the trek out to Camden Street, but if you happen to be in the area going to a night-club like the POD or Mono, you might as well have a pint (or even two) here in Bill's honor.

Located directly across the road from its historical namesake, the Ha'penny Bridge Inn is a busy, friendly and traditional pub that gets extremely lively at the weekends. The venue upstairs features a variety of different acts, ranging from open-mic comedy clubs to traditional Irish music sessions. Well worth a visit, and a great place for a quiet mid-week pint.

The Hole In The Wall is reputed to be the liveliest pub in the neighborhood. It is situated at the edge of Dublin's beautiful Phoenix Park and is a great spot for a pint on a summer evening. On Sundays, a carvery lunch is served. Traditional Irish ballad sessions are also hosted at this venue on a regular basis for the entertainment of the patrons. Hole in the Wall is the place to be if you want to meet new people and unwind as the locals do.

This long-established city-center pub hosts three separate comedy-themed nights during weeknights. On Monday, the venue plays host to the Comedy Improv, a show in the Who's Line Is It Anyway mould, while Wednesdays and Fridays feature more conventional stand-up routines. The Comedy Cellar is the longest-running club of its kind in the city, and the small capacity of the International ensures an intimate, and often hilarious, night out. Check website for details and timings.

Popular both local medical school and law students, this rather smoky bar has a tendency to become riotous after college rugby matches. The decor is spartan and a trifle uncomfortable but probably needs to be, as anything plush would get ruined. The pub also happens to be featured in Flann O'Brien's anarchic novel At-Swim-Two-Birds.

This well-preserved Victorian pub is an unassuming hive of entertainment in the city center. The downstairs bar is a fine example of a traditional Dublin pub; small, smoky and with a healthy mix of youngsters and die-hard regulars. Upstairs is home to a small venue with a program of comedy, theater and music. A poster on the outside of the pub will tell you what's on.

This long-established traditional pub is virtually synonymous with the Abbey Theatre, just across the street. Displaying an impressive collection of theater posters, the pub is, unsurprisingly, a popular haunt for actors, directors and die-hard locals. The Neptune Lounge, in the basement, caters for a younger, far grungier crowd who frequently annoy the quiet folk upstairs with their jukebox. The choice is yours!

If you happened to have been in Dublin more than a decade ago and have fond memories of this tiny but friendly bar, you're in for a surprise. The Foggy Dew has been completely refurbished of late, and is now at least ten times the size of its former self. Opening late at the weekends, the Foggy Dew remains busy, vibrant and still full of life. Live music on Sundays is pretty much a tradition by now, while the bar's wall creates its own dazzle with the interesting rock music artifacts that adorn it.

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