5 of the Best Victorian Pubs in Dublin

Posted August 23, 2019 in Food & Drink Features


A variety of factors have seen many of Dublin’s finest drinking establishments shut up shop in recent years, but fortunately some historic gems remain immutable. We take a look at some of the city’s most enduring Victorian boozers.


Having prevailed almost untouched for generations, Dublin’s Victorian pubs have witnessed challenging times of late. A variety of factors – the introduction of the smoking ban in the early 1990s, the ravages of the recession and the changing tastes of the city’s drinkers – have conspired to see off many of our favourite boozers.

Founded on the principles of conviviality and conversation, many Victorian drinking parlours were once magnets for those interested in a variety of pursuits and games of chance. While an occasional card game may still be found here and there, the punters of today now play their favourite games via more modern techniques such as Mobilebet which offers access to a wide selection of popular Casino games at the touch of a button.

That being said, there are still some beautiful Victorian watering holes to be found in Dublin. The following are just some of the uniquely Victorian Dublin establishments continuing to ply their trade in the city.


John Kehoes, South Anne Street, Dublin 2

Ever wonder what life was like for Dublin booze-hounds of yore? Pop into John Kehoes, pull up a seat at the bar and transport yourself back in time to 1803, the year this beautiful establishment first began to ply its trade in Dublin city. From the front entrance via the old grocery and snug bar, to the saloon bar and brace of ante-rooms, everything here remains as it was from the outset. Enjoy the Victorian surroundings over a glass or two as the beautiful mahogany bar takes centre stage.


The Swan, Aungier Street, Dublin 2

Strictly speaking the venerable institution known as The Swan predates the Victorian era by some two centuries, but thanks to a makeover by Thomas F. O’Reilly  in 1897, its interior remains distinctly Victorian in character.

In addition to dispensing generous measures of wine, beer and spirits over the years, the Swan also ran a busy grocery where ‘essentials’ such as tea, coffee and snuff could be readily obtained.  These days, Fab Food Trails, which offers an insider’s guide into some of the finest food the city has to offer, often pauses here on its walk through the city.


The Palace Bar, Fleet Street, Dublin 2

Step across the threshold of The Palace Bar where you’ll discover a fine drinking emporium where the interior design remains virtually the same as the day it first set up shop in 1823.  The Palace has been frequented by many of Dublin’s literary stalwarts over the decades.  Rumour has it that one writer in particular, was able to honour a promise to his mother to never again touch a drink in the Palace Bar.  It is said that he kept his word by ensuring that he always had a glove on his hand when reaching across the counter for his beverage of choice.


The Stag’s Head, Dame Lane, Dublin 2

The fox in the snug of this beautiful Victorian building has been presiding over the antics of local students from Trinity College Dublin for more years than we care to remember. In addition to a great selection of beverages, there’s also a substantial bar menu to be enjoyed here throughout the day.

Keep an eye out for the high octane Ukulele Tuesday sessions in the basement bar, where everyone comes along to jam on tracks including Talking Heads classic Psycho Killer.


The Long Hall, South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2

In situ since 1766, with its polished dark wood, Victorian curios and a decidedly lush carpet, the gorgeous interiors of The Long Hall have attracted its fair share of admiring glances over the years.

The interior dates from 1881 while the pub itself was also one of the key locations featured in Phil Lynott’s 1982 love letter to “This Old Town”.


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