While pub crawls have always been a popular way of taking in as many establishments as possible on a night out, the Christmas phenomenon of 12 Pubs only really gained traction around the end of the 2000s.
The tradition is always a great bit of craic but as the years pass and the tolerance for alcohol goes a bit south, the more experienced drinkers amongst us appear to leaning towards a more compact way to ring in the festive season.
To be fair, having 12 drinks on a night has a lot more disadvantages than benefits and if you’re of the opinion that just having a few in some of Dublin’s finest pubs over Christmas than this is the list for you.
1. Upper Baggot Street
The Baggot Mile is great and all but at busy times of year you might be best off keeping it restricted to the quieter part.
Up the road towards Ballsbridge you’ll find gems in the form of The Wellington, Searson’s and The Waterloo with cosy winter favourite Smyth’s just around the corner on Haddington Road.
2. Capel Street
Across the Liffey you’ll find one of the best pub crawl routes in the city. Start off at Jack Nealons, head up to Slatterys and finish off at the delightful McNeills halfway down the street.
3. Dame Street
The heart of the city is as good a place as any for a few festive tipples. Peader Kearney’s, Brogans and The Mercantile are all great spots, while the side streets are served by gems such as The Wild Duck and The Bankers.
4. Grafton Street area
A number of fine pubs can be found in all the arteries of Dublin’s main shopping street. There’s the homely Kehoes on South Anne Street, the high ceilings of McDaids over on Harry Street, and the always good craic Hairy Lemon on Stephen Street to name but a few.
You also get the bonus of taking in the magical Grafton Street Christmas lights as you cross over between pubs.
The northside area can lay claim to being one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world and when you see some of the pubs you’ll know why.
Doyle’s Corner is looking great after a recent revamp, The Hut is a great little spot dotted with interesting memorabilia and The Back Page has a well-earned rep as one of the best spots in the city.
Of course, in this part of the city there’s the obligatory trip to McGowans to wrap up the night.
Rathmines is home to some of the cosiest pubs in the city and if you settle in Mother Reillys or Slatterys, you may not want to move on at all.
Rody Bolands is a great spot to keep the party going ’til late as are The Bowery and The Blcakbird up the road.
7. Temple Bar
If ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em. While the tourist favourite is often dismissed by locals, Temple Bar isn’t short on great pubs to enjoy.
The Palace on Fleet Street is a great spot to start if you manage to get a seat at the back and then you can head towards Oliver St. Johns, The Temple Bar and The Norseman.
Be warned – this option might be better served after payday as prices tend to be higher than other areas of the city.
8. Camden Street
An old favourite among Dubliners, why not stick to what you know?
The Christmas spirit is on point in this part of the city and with great pubs like Devitts, The Bleeding Horse, Ryans and Cassidys, there’s no shortage of places to stop off for a winter warmer.
Plus, Coppers is just down the lane if you’re that way inclined.
9. And finally… The most Christmassy pub crawl of all.
If it’s Christmas decorations you’re after, there’s only one part of the city to head to.
The Hole In The Wall and the Strawberry Hall are arguably Dublin’s ‘Big Two’ when it comes to decking the place out in tinsel. Granted, you’ll need to get a taxi between the two but when you arrive at both places you’ll know exactly why it was worth it.