Whiskey Bars of Ireland

It's all well and good producing the world's finest spirit, but what's a fantastic whiskey without a place to enjoy it. Luckily, Ireland is home to some of the world's best bars and pubs. Below you'll find an introduction to some of Ireland's most loved, well-known whiskey bars. This list is by no means comprehensive, but we'll do our best to keep this page up-to-date and growing. If you have any recommendations or know of any hidden gems, get in touch and let us know! 

  • 26 Aug 2019 5:07 PM | Cathal Fleming

    Ever since 1899, when Tom MacDonnell opened a pub-come-leather shop opposite the church in Dingle, 47 Green Street has exuded a magnetic pull on those with a fondness for good times and great spirits. For generations the Mac Donnell's have doled out pints of the black stuff, along with the staples – Paddy, Powers & Jameson. It was in November 2012 that Tom’s great-grandson, Finn, along with Peter White, kicked off a passion project that would put Dick Mack's firmly on the whiskey-lovers map. Peter, a visitor to Dingle with a fondness for whiskey, noticed that the only whiskey of real note was, in fact, a whisky - a lone Laphroig sitting unopened on the shelves. This sparked a discussion, and upon Peter's next visit he added bottles of Irishman 12 and a Green Spot to the shelf. Since then, it’s grown from that single bottle of Scotch to over 250 whiskeys from around the world – with a focus on Irish spirit.

    Those who have visited Dick Macks will no doubt have stood at the front bar, gazing open-mouthed at the wall of bottles that stands in front of you. The main space, bar on one side, leather workshop on the other, is flanked by 2 snugs.

    Some days you'll find youself sharing the front bar with a local man making leather belts, keyrings and other bespoke good, others you'll be entertained by one of countless local musicians. And others you'll simply sit back and enjoy the company of locals and tourists alike, soaking up the atmosphere and taking in their surroundings - in most cases, quite literally!

    Off this main space, you'll wander through a maze of rooms and hideaways, featuring old fireplaces, warming stoves and nooks and crannies where an impromptu sing-song or story is likely to spring to life at any second. The rooms to the left were once home to the Mac Donnell family, before the bar expanded in the 1980s.  These rooms have remained relatively untouched since its first opening, adding even more to its charm and character. 

    The back of the pub has a yard that's home to a brew-house, two food trucks - "Chewy" and "the Beast" who serve up fresh burgers and wood-fired pizza respectively - as well as picnic benches, numerous old barrels and stools, meaning you can enjoy your pint and your grub whilst soaking up the sun. 

    In fact on a fine day, a pint of Coffee Stout and a bag of Taytos in Dick Mack's yard is my idea of paradise!

    It's not only the whiskey inventory that's growing, so too are Dick Mack's awards. It was voted both Munster Whiskey Pub of the Year and overall Irish Whiskey Pub of the Year in 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2018. It's inclusion in Heidi Donelan's Ireland whiskey trail helped boost their credentials even further and recognised the great work done by the lads to fly the flag for Irish whiskey.

    It’s not all whiskey though - far from it. In 2014 the team had the idea to open their own brewery in Dick Mack's yard. After a couple of years of planning, "figuring it out as they went" according to Finn, they finally fired up the fermenters in October 2017. The setting is perfect really - with the publess than 25 meters from the front of the brew house, with and a natural well less than 25m behind it. Their beer, consisting of a core range of 4 beers, is stocked in 31 pubs in the town. 

    The coffee stout, brewed in collaboration with "Bean in Dingle" coffee house, just 3 doors up the hill, is a personal favourite of mine. Made using Irish barley and Belgian chocolate malt, drip-filtered cold brew is added to the fermenter a week before kegging. This cold-brew is made from freshly brewed cold-filtered coffee, which has been roasted on-site in Bean in Dingle using medium roast Arabica beans. It was this beer that formed the basis of the Walsh + Dick Macks Coffee Finished release - more on that here.

    They also play with imperial stouts, ageing the beer in barrels they’ve acquired through their connections in the whiskey industry. When I last visited I sampled a half of their Imperial Stout aged in an Olorosso sherry cask. Beautiful drop, but at 9% you have to exercise caution – and leave room to start making your way through the whiskey inventory! Unbeknownst to me, I supped my stout using the very barrel it had spent 9 months maturing in as a table. That's no longer available, but next up is a Pedro Ximinez finished Imperial, so if you’re in the area any time soon you know where to go.

    You'll be very interested to learn that Dick Mack's will be releasing their own whiskey in the coming months. Casks have already been procured from some of Ireland’s top distilleries, including Echlinville, Royal Oak, Dingle and Great Northern, as well as a couple from Islay and Arran. These will eventually mature on-site in Dick Mack's yard. First up will be a Single Malt from Dingle, aged in Florio Marsala casks, expected in May/June next year. These releases will no doubt be added to the growing library of whiskey on offer, but for now there's more than enough to satisfy even the most voracious whiskey drinkers.

    Here's a closer look at what's on offer... see if you can spot the Irish Whiskey Society bottlings... 

  • 19 Jun 2019 5:07 PM | Cathal Fleming

    Recently I was lucky enough to spend a night in the City of Tribes, on a night organised by Aoife Carney from whiskey mecca Sonny Molloy's.

    Galway has long been on my whiskey bucket-list as a city to explore - rich in its offering of pubs and bars, stunning streets and a reputation for fun-filled nights, simmering in a beautiful melting pot of friendly locals and curious tourists.

    I will absolutely pay another visit in the near future, and write a more in-depth piece on some pubs, but for now can only write about some of the spots we flirted with on my flying visit.

    First up - Sonny Molloy’s. When you first walk in the door, one thing is immediately obvious - you’re in a proper whiskey bar. The wall to your left is adorned with a full collection of Midleton Very Rare (1984-2018). The bar, situated on the right hand side, houses a library of whiskeys. There’s your standard offerings, some you may not expect to find and then there’s this fantastic menu...

    Like the Palace Bar on Dublin’s Fleet Street, Sonny’s is a warm, cosy pub, with beautiful old-world decor. The bar counter is the original counter-top from the drapery shop which previously inhabited the space, run by Sonny Molloy himself.

    Sadly, Sonny passed away in 2014, a few years before the bar bottled and released their own single cask potstill. In 2018 Sonny’s released their 16 year old Redbreast. Aged in a 500 litre Spanish oak sherry butt, and bottled at over 58%, only 570 bottles were yielded from the cask. Only 200 of these are being released for sale, at an RRP of €345. If you’d like to ‘try before you buy’ you can, of course, order measures at the bar for €28.50. You’ll be greeted by a rich sherry nose. Raisin leads the flavour on the palate, with nutty and dark berry undertones. What impressed me most was the mouthfeel - chewy and delicious.   

    Warm behind the eyes, from here we made for the Dail Bar. Situated in the Latin Quarter, at the corner of Cross Street and Middle Street. Warm and fitted in darkened wood, the Dail bar is another Galway gem with a fantastic offering of Irish whiskey. Asked for a recommendation, the bar man suggested either Redbreast 12 or Barry Crockett Legacy (“depending on your budget”) so you know you’re in good hands.

    They, like the other pubs on the Galway Whiskey Trail, offer “Galway Bay Irish Whiskey” - a 10 year old single malt, a bespoke bottling only available in participating pubs. It offers a sweet, fruity nose with a short, sweet finish and is well worth sampling (when in Rome!).

    For those visiting in the winter months, the Dail Bar (Dail is Irish for “meeting place”) boasts a lovely open fireplace, where you can sit with a dram and chat with the locals.

    The bar is split over two floors; those who venture up stairs will find the “Front Door”. This ‘sister’ bar serves awesome cocktails and so, if the night takes a turn and energy levels rise, head upstairs where you’ll find a younger crowd tucking in to cocktails and craft beers, with a DJ on the decks ‘til late. The cocktails here are expertly made, by bar staff who seem to have a genuine understanding of spirits rather than simply combining ingredients which, tragically, tends to mask the base spirit.

    I really feel like I’ve just skimmed the surface of what Galway has to offer a whiskey lover. Garavans comes highly recommended, as do several other spots. I need to spend more time (and money!) in Sonny’s, and so my next trip will certainly need to be more than 24 hours. The Galway Whiskey Trail, consisting of 9 pubs and an off-license, merits a weekend in itself.

    To shake off the cobwebs, I highly recommend a visit to the Galway farmers market - I can personally vouch for the crepes and the veggie curry! Follow this by a sea-side stroll out to Salthill and you’ll be fighting fit and ready to get back on the Trail in no time!

  • 08 Apr 2019 6:14 PM | Cathal Fleming

    The Palace Bar, Fleet Street. Dublin.

    Those of you who are lucky enough to have been to the Palace Bar will have seen an interior that's unpretentious and authentic, unspoiled by the passage of time. High ceilings, low lighting, incredibly welcoming. As the city changed outside it's doors, the Palace remained undisturbed, it's dark wooden interior maintaining it's coziness and charm throughout it's almost two centuries.   

    First opening in 1823, and given an wonderful, Victorian refurbishment in the 1880s the Palace is a jewel in Dublin's crown - a beacon of traditionalism in an evolving, multi-cultural, European city.

    Known for it's literary heritage (more on that later) the Palace has become a destination pub for those with a passion for whiskey. Across it's two floors, you'll find more than 150 Irish whiskeys to sample - as if you needed a reason to return! Their tradition with whiskey dates back to the early 20th century, when pubs were permitted to bond and bottle their own casks. This tradition died out in the mid-1900's, but was resurrected by owner Willie Ahern in the past decade, seeing them bottle five of their own limited edition whiskeys. It's most recent bottling, a single cask, 17 year old Redbreast, was warmly welcomed by the Irish whiskey community.

    I mentioned two floors - well, whilst downstairs oozes charm and character, whiskey lovers will want to make their way up-stairs, to their nirvana. Here you'll find the shelves, nooks and crannies packed with whiskey boxes, old bottles and rare vintages. Leather upholstery adorns the furniture, glowing softly under the sign that proudly proclaims you're sitting in Whiskey Palace. It's here I've enjoyed many a drop; tucked away from the outside world, the hustle and bustle of the nearby Temple Bar. It's important to note though, that the Palace is not in Temple Bar, but Fleet Street. 

    Pictured Above: The Whiskey Palace recently hosted a whiskey tasting event in aid of Sweny's Pharmacy (as featured in James Joyce’s Ulysses)

    When (Palace owner) Willie's grandfather, Bill, bought the Palace in the 1940s, he also inherited the patrons. It's this patronage that gives the Palace another dimension to it's history and depth of character, for it was throughout the 40s and the 50s that the elite of the Irish literary world - Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, Flan o Brien - as well as journalists from the nearby Irish Times - drank, exchanged ideas and argued about the headlines of the times. 

    For me, the Palace is what pubs across the world invest small fortunes trying to imitate. More often than not, they fail. You can't manufacture or re-create authenticity - it has it, or it doesn't. The Palace oozes it from every fixture and fitting.

    Above: Downstairs at the Palace Bar

  • 12 Mar 2019 8:30 PM | Cathal Fleming

    The Long Hall, 51 South Great George's Street, Dublin 2.

    Located in the heart of the city and famed for having one of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin, the Long Hall is sometimes overlooked when it comes to whiskey. For those who haven't visited trust me - it has quite an astonishing collection! The pub's owner, Marcus Houlihan, has made sure to maintain the pubs reputation among whiskey lovers by constantly adding to the Long Hall's library of spirits. 

    A picture speaks a thousand words, so here's a glimpse at their menu, the bar, their shelves: 

    For me, the Long Hall typifies a true Dublin pub - friendly, knowledgeable bar staff serving drinks to a warm, bustling crowd in a moody, Victorian decor.


    The pub itself is over 250 years old, having obtained it's license in 1766.  In fact, when James Powers' distillery opened around the corner in 1791, it's said that employees from the distillery would frequent the Long Hall. It's fitting then, that for their 250th anniversary, the Long Hall teamed up with Powers to bottle the "Powers Long Hall Single Pot Still Single Release Cask". 

    As only 252 bottles were released, we haven't had the chance to taste it, but the tasting notes describe pretty much what you'd expect from a Powers Pot Still - "spicy flavours, complimented by the creamy mouthfeel. It's finishing in American bourbon barrels adds to the complexity and allows the distillate driven style to shine". 


    Have you visited the Long Hall? Have you tasted their Powers release? Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear your thoughts. 

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