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17th Nov 2023

6 early houses that still open their doors to Dublin’s morning air

Emily Mullen

A dying breed of bar

While regular pubs can open at 10.30am, Dublin still has a handful of bars that have secured a special license which allows them to open from Monday to Saturday at 7 am. Originally geared towards sailors, dockers, market traders, fishermen and hauliers, now they are frequented by revellers, shift workers, hospitality staff and bleary-eyed tourists who have taken discounted flights over the Irish Sea. If you have a look at the placement of the last remaining early houses in Dublin you will find that they are gathered around the docks or by the city’s once-lauded markets.

The number of early doors has taken a drastic dip over the last few years, writing on the blog Comeheretome the author Sam put the number of early doors in the city currently at 6, a significant from the figures reported in 2015. According to Sam’s research, the number has never been particularly high, with the number hitting 44 in 1962, and since then no new Dublin pub has been granted the ‘early morning exemption licence’ since then.

Demand has never been high- but the fluxing economic situation of the last few years hasn’t exactly increased demand. People’s socialising habits have changed, prices have gone up and it’s increasingly hard to staff a bar during typical hours let alone throughout the night and the early morning. But the future of early doors might be looking a little brighter, with massive reform to the country’s arcane licensing laws set to come into law ahead of the summer 2024. Under the proposed legislation, nightclubs would be allowed to remain open until 6 am with the sale of alcohol allowed until 5 am and pubs to remain open until 12.30 am. Alongside opening times, the legislation will also reform the measures around the granting of licences by the courts, the purchasing of licences, as well as the sale of alcohol online. The legislation has unfortunately faced significant delays, but it is hoped that when it is enacted the impact it will have upon Dublin nightlight will be seismic.

Until then here’s a list of the few remaining early houses in Dublin:

6. Slattery’s

On Capel Street opens at 9am

5. The Boar’s Head

On Capel Street opens at 10am

4. Molloy’s

On Talbot Street opens at 7am

3. The Galway Hooker

Heuston Station opens at 7am

2. The Pádraig Pearse

Pearse Street opens at 7am

1. The Windjammer

Lombard Street opens at 7am

Have we missed any? Give us a shout on [email protected]


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