Locals live and breath music in Dublin. It’s a part of our culture and it’s woven in the very fabric of the community.
You never have to venture far in search of it, and you’re likely to hear the wandering wafts of tunes as you stroll by just about any pub or bar around Dublin, any night of the week.
With all that Dublin has to offer in live music, the problem can be the age-old tale of the kid with too many choices. In a bid to put your mind at rest and point out the top bars in Dublin city to catch some live music, we’ve compiled this list.
Of course, there are a million more bars, which offer similarly stunning line-ups, but we must admit these five give them all a run for their money.
5. The Old Storehouse
Set in Dublin’s famous “Cultural Quarter”, Temple Bar, is The Old Storehouse. Sitting aside the cobblestone square in the heart of this landmark locale, this classic pub is a fine choice when in search of tunes.
The spacious pub (uncharacteristic of an Irish watering-hole), has original Victorian features, a covered beer garden and some of the best acts taking to the mic nightly.
With an extensive menu – catering for vegetarian, vegan and coeliac diets – and solid pints of the “Black Stuff” (also known as Guinness) flowing, this is the kind of spot where you will come for one drink and end up spending an entire evening. Check out its website for a full line-up of musicians set to grace the stage.
Location: The Old Storehouse, 3 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
4. The Grand Social
Since its inception in 2010, The Grand Social has climbed its way to the top of the totem pole in terms of live music in Dublin.
Located on the Northside of Dublin at the foot of the Ha’Penny Bridge, this ultimate Dublin music venue hosts an array of up and coming and established alternative, indie and rock artists, as well as singer-songwriters and DJs.
With its circus-themed venue, spacious outdoor beer garden and enough space to crack out the dance moves, it is no surprise this venue is a solid entry on our list.
And, we’re not the only ones who think The Grand Social deserves the recognition; the venue has been nominated by IMRO as Music Venue of the Year every year since they’ve been open (and won it in 2012).
Location: The Grand Social, 35 Liffey Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1, Ireland
3. The Mezz
The Mezz is a subterranean music haunt in Temple Bar which is known for being one of the best bars in Dublin for live music. Gritty, cool and totally unapologetic, this alternative music venue showcases a hoard of artists, DJs, singer-songwriters and bad-ass bands who draw sizable crowds nightly.
Rock, soul and indie are mostly found in the walls of The Mezz. With an average of 14 acts a week, across seven nights, you’re never going to get bored of this dive.
Address: The Mezz, 23/24 Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
Bruxelles is your classic Irish pub with a cosmopolitan city twist. Situated just off Grafton Street, Dublin’s most famous shopping destination, this upmarket bar offers a basement dive atmosphere with live music on a regular basis.
Whilst “The Saloon” offers street-level classic pub vibes and an outdoor beer terrace, the downstairs is split into two separate bars housing some of Dublin’s finest up and coming talent.
Bonus points go for Zodiac Sessions, which runs every Wednesday downstairs in Bruxelles from 9 pm onwards. Expect the finest catch from Dublin’s singer-songwriter scene and a night out to remember (or not, depending on how much fun you have).
Address: Bruxelles, 8 Harry Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
The top spot on our list has got to go to Whelans, Dublin’s quintessential live music venue. Located on Camden Street, this institution has been leading the pack since its inception and has firmly established itself at the top of the ladder.
Showcasing a plethora of established bands, internationally acclaimed artists, local legends, upcoming singer-songwriters as well as spoken word gurus and comedy kings and queens, the non-stop schedule is a force to be reckoned with.
Should you wish to just pop in for a pint and soak up some of its vibes, check out the Front Bar, which has free entry seven days a week (except Fridays and Saturdays after 10.30pm).
Follow Whelans online to keep in the know and always book tickets in advance as gigs here tend to be sell-out shows.
Address: Whelans, 25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, Ireland