We take our Guinness seriously in Ireland. County Down is no exception, and according to our research, these five places offer the best pints of Guinness in the county.
With the striking Mourne Mountains draped across its horizon, it’s no wonder why County Down is probably best known for its walking and hiking trails. However, that’s not all it has to offer; in fact, we feel that it does something else just as breathtakingly as it does its scenery.
That is, of course, its Guinness. Whether you are a local or a tourist visiting for the first time, we believe you will find in these five places the best pints of Guinness that this small but vibrant county has to offer!
5. Quinns Bar – for a cosy evening drink
With a perfect pillow-y white head topping off their Guinness, Quinns boasts a vibrant and friendly atmosphere all around. Situated in the heart of Newcastle, directly beside the town’s phenomenal beach, this bar dates back to the 1920s. Back then, Quinns was actually a mixture of a pub (towards the rear of the present bar) and a grocer shop (up front).
Where possible, Quinns has retained that 1920s pub feel with its unpolished and worn wooden flooring, old “sheeted” timber strips on the walls, and wallpaper as it would have been at that time. Its Guinness, much like its attentive staff, is flawless. We can’t get enough.
Address: 62-64 Main St, Newcastle BT33 0AE
4. The Cuan – for a pint by an open fire
Is there anything better than sipping on a smooth, cold pint of Guinness while being heated by a crackling fire? If there is, we haven’t yet found it.
The Cuan has perfected that delectable blend of a creamy mousse-textured head with notes of malty sweetness rising through the glass. We suggest sticking around here for a while and getting yourself comfortable.
Fun fact: this place was a haunt of the Game of Thrones cast members while filming the first two seasons of the show. While enjoying one of the best pints of Guinness in County Down, why not check out their “Door of Thrones”—an intricately carved, Game of Thrones-inspired wooden door, made from fallen beech trees taken from Ireland’s famous “Dark Hedges”.
Address: The Square, Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7ND
3. Murphy’s Bar & Restaurant – for the perfect pint with dinner
You may, at some point, have heard Guinness referred to as a “Meal in a glass.” Whether or not your dietitian would agree with this claim, it’s easy to see why it gets such a comparison with a pour as hearty as the one you’ll find in Murphy’s.
With tasteful décor and a modern feel, Murphy’s Bar & Restaurant offers a lovely ambiance and amazingly helpful staff. If you want nothing more than a quiet pint with lunch, this is the place to go. Flavourful hints of roasted coffee and chocolate mean that their pour of “the black stuff” is truly one of the best around. Did someone say “Bon appètit”?
Address: 78 Market St, Downpatrick BT30 6LZ
2. The Maghera Inn – for a pleasant pint in a family-run pub
If we had to describe the Guinness served at the Maghera Inn in one word, we’d choose “velvety.” The mixture of hoppy bitterness and smooth velvet-like creaminess bursts across the palate upon tasting; it’s no wonder why this place offers one of the best pints of Guinness in County Down.
If you’re after an authentic experience in a traditional Irish pub, look no further than the family-run Maghera Inn. With its open fireplace, cosy seating, and general all-round good craic, this award-winning Irish pub has been charming its patrons for almost 200 years. When you visit here, you can be sure you’re in good hands.
Address: 86 Ballyloughlin Rd, Castlewellan BT31 9HE
1. The Smuggler’s Table – for a Guinness with a view
This idyllic County Down gem is situated by the Killyleagh harbour, making it the perfect place to sip over a pint while watching the boats come and go. The pub, as perhaps you’ve guessed, is maritime-themed. You’ll spot framed century-old newspaper clippings of the Titanic, lifebuoys, and even a ship steering wheel nailed to the wall!
When the temperature is up during summer, sitting in The Smuggler’s beer garden cannot be beaten. Not only will you enjoy fantastic stout, but you’ll also receive the bonus of a gentle sea breeze drifting in from the Strangford Lough.
After meticulous, ah-hem, research, we are confident in saying The Smuggler’s serve the best Guinness in County Down.
Address: Shore St, Killyleagh, Downpatrick BT30 9QN
If you’ve had an amazing Guinness in one of these bars, or feel like we missed one, let us know by tagging us on social media.