Dublin does pubs better than any other city: they’re cosy, warm (in temperature and character) and serve various world-renowned local drinks. Basically, they’re the kind of places anyone in their right mind would enjoy passing an evening tucked away inside.
But when better weather arrives and this ecosystem is disturbed, suddenly, sitting outside with your drinks is no longer a brave statement – it's the only thing your heart could ever desire. And while our city can’t compete with the swish rooftop terraces of many other capital cities, we don't do a half-bad job of it either.
So, with a brief taster of this warmer weather to come, it’s prudent to make a list of the ten best such places in Dublin.
Impressively detailed décor, a fantastic selection of drinks and a location within walking distance of a large residential area make Blackbird a great meeting spot. Topping it all off is its beer garden.
While so many Dublin pubs tend to box their terrace off, corralling people into a space, Blackbird has opted for a cosy, open-plan outdoor seating area which looks out onto the street from two sides. This makes the bar feel welcoming and indeed like an important neighbourhood spot, in sync with the local urban environment.
9. The Bath
The Bath’s front beer garden is nicely situated in a mostly residential street and has a homely feel to it. This place also serves up Base Wood Fired Pizza for when you’re looking for some satisfying post-match grub.
With the Rugby World Cup coming up in a few months, The Bath's beer garden is the perfect place to be for all those (hopefully!) iconic moments.
The high walls at Toner's give its beer garden a lovely secluded effect and provide for a lively atmosphere as conversations bounce off the wall and circulate. Its cosy beer garden is in keeping with its famously comfortable indoor snugs, and is just one of the reasons Toner's has continued to be a favourite pub of Dubliners over the decades.
7. The Long Stone
Its central location makes The Long Stone an ideal place to meet up with friends, and the design of this garden is well suited to socialising. On top of this, the space boasts a pool table, long benches, nice stone wall features and it's well-heated – which can be a deal breaker during Dublin’s eight months of winter.
6. The Living Room
Big garden, big screen, big atmosphere. This place has acted upon handling Irish people's twin thirsts for drinking and viewing international sport like no other. It’s practically a small stadium in its own right; a very lively spot for any game.
Create a giant beer garden and they will come. DTwo have proved this logic true time and time again, and surely pull this off better than anyone else. Its sizeable garden gives it a kicking atmosphere, and the green and red lighting give the place a tropical feel.
A fantastic drink selection topped off with a whopper terrace area with Georgian buildings overlooking it. House has handily accounted for Dublin’s famously erratic weather with a lightweight covering.
Something other than Astroturf covering the ground would bump this place up the list... five-a-side chic is yet to fully break as a trend, but here's hoping!
3. The Barge
The Barge scores so high on this list because of the customers’ tendency to expand the size of this beer garden to suit their own needs.
Indeed, this spot becomes a magnet on every sunny evening of the summer, as bouncers desperately attempt to maintain an invisible line on the north side of the canal and don’t allow you to bring drinks across from there – but sure that’s why God invented Spar.
What other beer garden has its own double-decker bus that doubles as a pizza joint?
The Shaw’s beer garden also boasts plenty of other fun feature like a pool table, graffiti-covered walls and long, tiered benches, as well as regular music events. The back area is essentially the bar’s main attribute – something that's arguably not the case for any other place in Dublin (well, Dicey’s…).
1. The Pav
The largest beer garden of them all, smack bang in the middle of Trinity College. There’s simply no other location in the city where mass outdoor socialising is such a regular thing, and that’s why it comes in at the top of this list.
From April until September this patch of grass is frequented by swarms of locals and visitors, with business peaking on Friday evenings and generally experiencing an extra surge around the end of college exams. It’s also a fun place to watch some cricket being played, which is apparently what the grass is actually supposed to be used for.