Oldest Pub In Dublin: Local Guide To The Brazen Head 2024

Wondering what the oldest pub in Dublin is?

How long it’s been around? Are there many old pubs in Dublin or does one stand out?

Dublin is awash with pubs, but it is the oldest ones that ooze charm and character. In a sea of modern bistro pubs and trendy cocktail bars, it is the historic pubs of Dublin that pack a punch. And I’m going to share them with you.

You’re going to discover:

  • which is the oldest pub in Dublin,
  • why this pub is famous and
  • some notable other old pubs in Dublin that are also worth visiting.

So, if you are planning to enjoy a pint or two in Dublin, or just fancy peeking inside traditional Irish pubs, you’ll love this list I’ve put together to help you navigate the pubs in the city worth visiting.

The Oldest Pub In Dublin: Overview

Although I’m a local, having grown up in South County Dublin, it took until a recent trip home to visit family and explore more of the country with my son for me to pop into The Brazen Head.

The Brazen Head has been a famous pub in Dublin for centuries and while nowadays it might not be the most famous pub in Dublin among tourists (in my opinion, that accolade tends to go to The Temple Bar pub), it does hold the title of the oldest pub in Dublin, Ireland.

A picture of the exterior of The Brazen Head, Dublin's oldest pub with grey skies above it and the Irish flag on a pole.
The Brazen Head, Dublin, Ireland.

The Brazen Head is located just off the quays, near the Four Courts, at the crossroads of Ushers Quay and Merchant’s Quay.

It is located close to Christ Church Cathedral, making it an ideal place for a pit stop or meal before or after going to one of Dublin’s top places to visit.

Things to know about The Brazen Head:

  • This traditional Irish pub in Dublin has a long history (outlined below).
  • It is open 7 days a week from midday to 11.30pm.
  • The Brazen Head offers meals all day until 9pm alongside drinks of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic nature.
  • You can pay by card or with cash.
  • Live music is a regular feature at The Brazen Head, scheduled from March 1st at 9pm 7 nights a week, with an extra session between 3pm and 6pm on Sundays.

Visitors can enjoy a cosy pint in the bar, and chat among friends in the covered outdoor beer garden or one of the other many interconnected rooms.

How to get to The Brazen Head pub

Address: 20 Lower Bridge Street, Usher’s Quay, Dublin, D08 WC64.

From O’Connell Bridge:

  1. On Foot – Starting from the south side of the river, closest to Westmoreland Street, walk along the quays from Aston Quay until you come to the crossroads of Usher’s Quay and Merchant’s Quay. This journey will take approx. 17-20 minutes.
  2. Luas – From O’Connell Bridge walk 3 minutes to Abbey Street and take the Red Line towards Citywest/Tallaght. Alight at Four Courts and walk 6 minutes to The Brazen Head.
  3. Bus – The following Dublin buses can take you towards The Brazen Head: 26 (from Westmoreland St), C1/C2/C4/37/39/39A/70/145 (from Aston Quay), alighting on Merchant’s Quay.
  4. Taxi – You can get a taxi from around O’Connell Bridge to The Brazen Head and the journey will take approx. 7-10 minutes, depending on traffic.
A picture of the exterior and whiskey barrels underneath the windows of The Brazen Head pub in Dublin.
Dublin’s Brazen Head Pub.

My Visit to The Brazen Head Pub in Dublin: Review

As already mentioned, my first visit to The Brazen Head happened quite recently.

I’d always been aware of it but had never had the chance to pop in and enjoy a drink or meal.

During a rare day out in the centre of Dublin on my own, I decided to change this.

I was surprised to find that The Brazen Head only opens at midday. I ummed and ahhed on whether to go to The Brazen Head as I’d been on the hunt for somewhere to have brunch.

But, by the time my Luas reached the Four Courts stop, I hopped off and decided I’d at least go and take some pictures of the outside of the pub. As it was 11.30 when I reached the pub, I thought I’d hang around and wait for it to open.

What I wasn’t expecting was a queue to start forming outside at 11.50am! I was waiting in a sheltered doorway across the road and ended up joining said queue, in the rain!

I should point out this was a Monday morning, and I certainly did not think people would queue in the rain to get into a pub. But I was wrong.

At noon the doors opened and those of us at the front were seated in the bar section, while others were seated in other rooms.

As I was on my own, I happily sat at the bar and was mesmerised by the huge number of US police badges that adorned the frames of the bar shelves. It was quite something to see.

A picture of the bar inside The Brazen Head with the beer taps visible over the bar.
The Brazen Head bar.

I ordered a Rock Shandy (half orange, half lemon fizzy soft drink) and decided to have lunch since I was hungry, opting for the bacon and cabbage, a very typical Irish dish that I rarely get to enjoy these days.

A pint of Rock Shandy on the bar in The Brazen Head pub. The drink is in a pint glass and is orange/yellow in colour.
A pint of Rock Shandy.

I wasn’t waiting long for my lunch and when it came out it did not last long. The bacon and cabbage were delicious, and the parsley sauce was the perfect accompaniment. Some of the other dishes passing me on their way to other patrons looked and smelled divine.

A picture of a plate of ham, cabbage and mashed potato served with parsley sauce in The Brazen Head pub in Dublin.
My bacon and cabbage lunch.

I only spent an hour in The Brazen Head as I was on a mission to visit Dublinia and the Chester Beatty Library for the second time, the first being during my private walking tour of Dublin. But I was glad I had finally visited the oldest pub in Dublin and experienced it for myself.

Before I left, I had a quick look at some of the memorabilia that adorns the walls of the bar area of The Brazen Head, much of which includes photos from the 1916 Easter Rising and Michael Collins, one of the forefathers of the Republic of Ireland.

Michael Collins pictures on the wall of The Brazen Head pub in Dublin. The wall is red and the picture are sepia and in brown wooden frames. There are four picture on the main wall.
Picture from the 1916 Easter Rising and Michael Collins.

Do I recommend The Brazen Head as a pub to visit in Dublin? Yes.

Will I go back to The Brazen Head? Oh yes!

Brazen Head Dublin History

The Brazen Head has been around for more than 900 years, securing its status as the oldest pub in Dublin City Centre.

The current pub was built in 1754 as a coaching inn but there has been a hostelry on the site since 1198.

The Brazen Head’s history is intertwined with that of Ireland’s and was the meeting place of the United Irishmen who, inspired by the French Revolution, formed in 1791 to overthrow British Rule in Ireland.

Many of their planning meetings took place at The Brazen Head, although their efforts failed.

Later, revolutionary Michael Collins sought refuge in the pub, and the pub was nearly destroyed during intense fighting nearby during the Irish Civil War of 1922. There is lots of memorabilia and pictures of Michael Collins in the bar.

Other notable patrons over the years have included Wolfe Tone, Daniel O’Connell, Robert Emmet, James Joyce and even Garth Brooks!

Other Oldest Pubs In Dublin City Centre

While The Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub, there are a few more Dublin pubs that bring up the rear where old establishments in the city are concerned.

Below is my pick of other old pubs that you should also consider visiting while you are in the city. Each has its own charm and character, and you are sure to find a warm welcome within.

I have included some within Dublin City and a few that lie in the suburbs of Dublin, for those of you who might be staying further out or want to head out of the city centre on a pub adventure.

Map of the oldest pubs in Dublin City Centre

To see this interactive map on Google, click here.

1. The Stag’s Head, Dublin 2

The Stags Head Pub, Dublin is another of the oldest pubs in Dublin. Founded in the 1770s, this traditional Irish pub is also one of Dublin’s best-preserved Victorian pubs.

Although a tavern has existed on the site since the 1770s, the premise gained notoriety in the 1830s and became a sought-after premises due to its proximity to Dublin’s ‘Theatreland’, Dame Street stores, and College Green where Trinity College is located.

The pub was rebuilt in the 1890s by architect A.J. McLoughlin who designed the bar with stag-themed stained-glass windows, mirrors, and wood panelling. A large stag’s head hangs over the bar, and hence the name The Stag’s Head was born.

The Stag’s Head is in Dame Court, almost hidden from view, and is walkable to Dame Street, Grafton Street and Trinity College. It is a traditional Irish pub serving a good pint of Guinness and great food. You might also be lucky to catch some live music at the weekends.

The Stag's Head Pun in Dublin, Ireland exterior.
The Stag’s Head.

The Victorian lounge at the back of the bar is a great little nook for sheltering from the Dublin rain. I know, I’ve done it! I love the cosy and chilled ambiance in this part of the pub.

If you are looking for a great meal in one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, then you won’t go wrong with their seafood chowder, served with warm Irish soda bread. It is so good on a cool or wet day. Trust me, I cleared my bowl!

A picture of a bowl of seafood chowder served with Irish soda bread in one of Dublin's oldest pubs, The Stag's Head.
The seafood chowder in The Stag’s Head.

The Stag’s Head has featured in films such as Educating Rita and A Man of No Importance, and this was another haunt of Michael Collins.

You can find information about their opening hours on the Stag’s Head website as well as the latest news of music and other events in the pub.

Address: 1 Dame Court, D02 TW84.

What people say about The Stag’s Head

A MUST SEE on the Dublin Pub scene. It isn’t big but it is mighty…a mighty good time! The original Victorian elements add to the charm and transport you back in time!

Reece – TripAdvisor

2. The Old Stand Pub, Dublin 2

Another of Dublin’s oldest pubs is The Old Stand. This traditional pub was founded over 300 years ago and is located on Exchequer Street, not far from South Great George’s Street and it is close to The Stag’s Head.

The pub is situated on one of Dublin’s old Medieval streets, a street that has been important since the Viking era, and the pub even operated as a grocery store until 1885 when the then-owner, John Cook, decided

there was more money to be procured from drink than food.

A picture of The Old Stand pub in Dublin from across the street with people walking in front of it.
Picture Source: The Old Stand on Exchequer Street, Dublin by Ian S, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The pub’s name is derived from the game of rugby, from the now demolished rugby stand in former Lansdowne Road, now known as the Aviva Stadium. It has long been popular with rugby supporters and fans.

A famous former patron was Michael Collins, who also frequented The Stag’s Head and The Brazen Head.

The interior is Victorian, and patrons can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere as well as an all-day menu of food served from 12pm, which includes dishes such as Dublin Coddle, Irish Stew, and Fish and Chips.

Address: 37 Exchequer Street, D02 F251.

What people say about The Old Stand

Warm and friendly welcome, authentic Irish pub. Sentimental as it was the first pub we visited on our first trip to Dublin so had to return!

Chrstine – TripAdvisor

3. The Long Hall Pub, Dublin 2

Located on South Great George’s Street, The Long Hall has been in operation for over 250 years, being licensed since 1766.

What gives this old Dublin pub its charm and character is the fact that its interior has not changed since 1881. Expect elaborately carved wood partitions, antique clocks, and other beautiful Victorian features.

A picture of the exterior of The Long Hall Pub, Dublin, one of Dublin's oldest pubs.
The Long Hall.

The Long Hall is popular with Dubliners and is a more non-tourist pub in Dublin. This is the place where friends gather for a great pint while enjoying the craic.

You won’t be able to have lunch or dinner at The Long Hall. Snacks are the only thing on the menu. But it is the great atmosphere and a good pint of Guinness that makes people come back time and again.

The Long Hall was once a meeting place and recruiting station for the Fenians and Irish Republican Brotherhood, so it played its part in the fight for Ireland’s independence from British Rule.

Other famous patrons include Brendan Behon and his family, and Phil Lynott who recorded the video for his song ‘Old Town’ in the pub in 1982. Other more recent patrons include Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Sean Penn.

Address: 51 South Great George’s Street, D02 DV74.

What people say about The Long Hall

This really is a great pub in the heart of Dublin with local history in the walls. Very nice service from the staff from the time we arrived until we left. We will definitely be back. Highly recommended!

Arild – TripAdvisor

4. James Toners Pub, Dublin 2

James Toners Pub was built in 1734 and started operating as a pub in 1818, making it one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, Ireland.

The pub got its current name when James Toner took ownership in 1923, and it is referred to as simply Toners by locals.

A picture of the outside of James Toner pub in Dublin
Picture Source: Adam BrudererCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Toners)

Like The Long Hall, Toners is all about the drink and atmosphere and there is no food served at this pub, although the pub is in collaboration with Cirillo’s Pizza across the road, allowing patrons to eat their pizza over a pint in the outdoor area.

Toners is located on Baggot Street and is known for being frequented by politicians and media figures thanks to its proximity to the Irish government buildings and the Dáil.

The three-storey red-bricked building was used as a filming location for bar-related scenes in Duck, You Sucker, a 1971 Western film.

Toners was also a popular haunt for some of Ireland’s great poets including Kavanagh and Yeats, whose poems I studied in school for my Leaving Certificate exams. It is rumored that Toners is the only pub Yeats used to drink in. The cozy snug was where they used to hang out.

If you are looking for an unspoiled Dublin pub that still has remnants of begone years (uneven flagstone floor and the drawers behind the bar), then Toners is the place to go.

Address: 139 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2.

What people say about Toners

Great spot for a few beers. We came back twice in our stay and loved every minute, both inside at the bar and in the beer garden. Great place to watch sports and can’t wait to come back next month.

Jordan – TripAdvisor

5. The Palace Bar Pub, Dublin 2

Located on Fleet Street, The Palace Bar was once described by Patrick Kavanagh as

The most wonderful temple of art.

Established in 1823, The Palace Bar is known for being small and unpretentious.

The beautiful snug at the front has been a popular meeting place for decades and was where the likes of Kavanagh, Flann O’Brien, and Harry Kernoff could regularly be found, making it one of Dublin’s great literary pubs.

A picture of the exterior of The Palace Bar, Dublin with people sitting on bar stools underneath umbrellas outside it.
The Palace Bar.

The Palace Bar is also a great sporting pub where many an Irish person meets to either enjoy a drink before attending a game in Croke Park or the Aviva Stadium or to enjoy a game on the screens around the venue.

The Tipperary hurling teams and supporters have adopted the pub as their unofficial headquarters, and it is, for this reason, the pub is sometimes called ‘The Tipperary Pub’.

Inside you’ll find a Victorian décor and a relaxed ambiance, and on occasion, live traditional music.

The pub is another where it is said Michael Collins held meetings during the Irish War of Independence.

Address: 21 Fleet Street, D02 H950.

What people say about The Palace Bar

This was the first pub we came to when we arrived in Dublin. Lovely decor, friendly staff, a few locals and a not too expensive pint of Guinness. We came back a few times during our stay but couldn’t get in one day because it was so popular.

Steve – TripAdvisor

6. Slattery’s Bar, Dublin 1

Of the oldest pubs in Dublin City Centre, one of the few on the north side of the Liffey is Slattery’s Bar, located on Capel Street, at the corner of Little Mary Street.

There has been a licensed pub at the site since 1821, on what was one of Dublin’s important trading thoroughfares. In 1870, the building underwent major Victorian refurbishment, much of which is still visible today.

A picture of the exterior of Slattery's pub in Dublin with sunshine and blue skies overhead.
Picture Source: Slattery’s Bar, Facebook.

Slattery’s is one of Dublin’s oldest pubs with a 7am license, known as early houses, although these days it opens at 9am. Early houses are the only places where you can get an early pint in the city.

As well as its Victorian interior and Edwardian central bar, the pub has a Heritage Wall on which you’ll find a gallery of authentic images depicting Irish history and the fight for Independence. Notably, there are death cards of the 1916 leaders on the wall.

Slattery’s also serves food including breakfast, something you don’t find in many other older pubs of Dublin. The pub also has a varied music entertainment package, meaning you can combine great food, pints and music, all in one venue.

Address: 129 Capel Street, D01 YN83.

What people say about Slattery’s Bar

Absolutely fantastic Irish pub. Great music in the evening and fantastic Irish breakfast – best in Dublin in our opinion. We had a great welcome and fantastic service. Really enjoyed.

Lynsey – TripAdvisor

7. Kehoes Pub, Dublin 2

Anne Street South, just off the top of Grafton Street, is home to a pub established in 1803, Kehoes.

Built in a typical Victorian style, this Dublin pub is one of the oldest in the city and has retained its authenticity, with old Irish snugs, partitions, and a homely feel throughout the pub.

A picture of the front of John Kehoe's pub in Dublin.
Kehoes.

The pub was also run as a grocery store and patrons can still see the low grocery counter and original mahogany drawers behind said counter.

Kehoes was another haunt of Dublin’s literary greats, with the likes of Kavanagh and Behan enjoying many a pint in this cozy Dublin pub.

If you are looking for a great pint away from the hustle and bustle of Grafton Street, head to the historical Kehoes on Anne Street South.

Address: 9 Anne Street South, D02 NY88

What people say about Kehoes

Vibrant, old-fashioned Dublin pub. The best pint of Guinness that I have found in Dublin. Good service too.

Mel – TripAdvisor

Other Oldest Pubs Outside Dublin City Centre

Some great old Dublin pubs lie outside of the city centre that are worth noting. While you might need to get a taxi, bus, or tour to visit these, they are worth mentioning.

🍻 John Kavanagh Gravediggers Pub, Dublin 9

Founded in 1833, John Kavanagh Gravediggers in Glasnevin is still in the Kavanagh family, nearly 200 years later.

Although officially named John Kavanagh, the pub is also known as The Gravediggers since it was built into the wall of Glasnevin Cemetery.

A picture of the exterior of John Kavanagh Gravediggers pub in Dublin with its wine coloured wooden paneling and red sign across the front.
Picture Source: John Kavanagh “The Gravediggers”, Facebook.

This is one of the longest-generational pubs in Dublin and at times has three generations of Kavanaghs behind the bar.

Famed for great pints, The Gravediggers is one of the few gems left where Dublin pubs are concerned.

With its proximity to Glasnevin Cemetery, it is a great place to go for a pint and a meal after visiting one of Dublin’s great places to visit.

The pub was used as a filming location for Liam Neeson’s Michael Collins and Gene Wilder’s Quackser Fortune has a cousin in the Bronx.

Address: 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, D09 CF72.

What people say about The Gravediggers pub

Travelled from the UK to Dublin for the first time, after much research this place was voted top dog of Dublin Guinness and I wanted to know if it does in fact taste different – didn’t disappoint. Lovely old school pub, staff great, best pint was the lad in the ‘manager’ t-shirt, make sure you tell him 🙂

Darren – TripAdvisor

🍻 Johnnie Fox’s Pub, Co. Dublin

People have been heading into the Dublin Mountains for over 200 years to visit Johnnie Fox’s pub, established in 1798.

Renowned for being the highest pub in Ireland, this country pub is nestled in peaceful surroundings and was originally a

small holding farm that became a “safe haven” during the great Irish rebellion of 1798 against British Rule in Ireland.

A picture of the welcome sign outside the front of Johnnie Fox's pub in the Dublin Mountains. It says 'Cead Mile Failte, you've made it to the highest pub in Ireland'.
Picture Source: Itsharrophotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Johnnie Fox’s).

Maintaining the original features of the historic premises, it is said to embody the spirit of ‘Old Ireland’ and is closely associated with Daniel O’Connell, who was regarded as the Great Liberator of Ireland.

History aside, the pub offers visitors an authentic experience in beautiful surroundings, especially on a sunny, warm summer day when you can enjoy your pint and meal outside. You can find details of their music schedule on their website.

Address: Glencullen, Co. Dublin.

What people say about Johnnie Fox’s

Wonderful atmosphere, great food, fabulous music and dancing. It was truly a wonderful way to start the new year. I highly recommend it for a great night out. Now I’ll have to go again to further explore the menu.

Tilly – TripAdvisor

🍻 The Hole in the Wall Pub, Dublin

Sitting against the wall of the Phoenix Park is one of the oldest pubs outside of Dublin City Centre, The Hole in the Wall.

Dating as far back as 1651, and affectionately known as ‘The Holer’, the Medieval Inn was then called ‘Ye sign of ye Blackhorse Inn’ and was a coaching house and tavern.

A picture of the exterior of The Hole In The Wall pub in Dublin. There is cloudy blue skies overhead and the pub is cream in colour with black trim.
Picture Source: The Hole in the Wall, Facebook (The Hole in the Wall).

Its current name comes from a tradition that existed for over 100 years: the practice of serving drinks through a hole in the wall.

Before Irish independence, British soldiers were not allowed to leave the Phoenix Park but could still get their pints through a hole in the wall. Hence the name of the pub was born.

Today, its Tudor-style exterior extends for 100 meters qualifying it as the longest pub in Europe, and visitors can combine a good pint with great food

Address: Blackhorse Avenue, Phoenix Park, Castleknock, D07 V663.

What people say about The Hole in the Wall

I go there with my Bf. A lot of christmas decorations what was nice detail for that time of year. We order lamb shank. It was delicious and hot. As for service it was also good. We got our drinks 2 minutes before we sit to our table and food was served 20 minutes after. As for prices there are normal as for Dublin standards.

Ewa – TripAdvisor

Where To Stay In Dublin

Dublin has a huge number of accommodation options for those visiting the city, from budget-friendly hostels to 5-star luxury hotels.

Where you choose to stay may depend on your budget, how long you want to spend in the city, and what you plan to do during your stay.

We’ve curated a short list of our top recommendations for where to stay in Dublin.

📍Best Budget Spot – Generator Dublin (Book now)

If you are looking for a budget-friendly place to stay in Dublin, then Generator Dublin is the place for you. Clean, comfortable and with a variety of room options, this hostel in the heart of the city is well-located for exploring Dublin.

📍Best Mid-Range Spot – The Grafton Hotel (Book now)

The Grafton Hotel is located across the road from The Hairy Lemon pub and close to St Stephen’s Green shopping centre and Grafton Street. It has a modern feel with a chic bar and restaurant and its rooms are spacious, comfortable and decorated to a high standard.

📍Best Luxury Spot – The Shelbourne (Book now)

If you are looking for ultimate luxury during your stay in Dublin, then The Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen’s Green is the hotel for you. This timeless hotel exudes elegance and style and offers guests the most luxurious stay in the heart of Dublin City Centre.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Oldest Pubs in Dublin, Ireland

There are some questions about the oldest pubs in Dublin that crop up regularly, so I’m going to address these here in case your question is among them.

Conclusion: Oldest Pub In Dublin

Dublin is home to some of the oldest pubs in the Emerald Isle, with its oldest being more than 900 years old.

Each of the oldest pubs in Dublin featured here has a unique charm and character that makes them worth visiting.

Some offer food alongside great pints, and you can also find live music being played in some.

So, if you are visiting Ireland and want to soak up a great atmosphere while enjoying a drink in an old establishment, make sure you add at least one of these pubs to your itinerary. My personal favourite to date is The Brazen Head.

More Dublin articles to help you plan your time in the city

A grid of two pictures depicting two of the oldest pubs in Dublin, The Brazen Head and The Stag's Head. In the middle, between the two images, is a blue text box with white writing saying oldest pubs in Dublin.
A picture of the exterior of The Brazen Head pub and text overlay saying The Oldest Pubs in Dublin.
A grid of three picture of old pubs in Dublin including The Brazen Head, with text overlay saying A local's guide to visiting Dublin's oldest pubs.
by Cath Jordan
Cath is an Irish expat and the founder of Travel Around Ireland. She and her husband both come from Dublin, where the rest of their family remains. They regularly return to the Emerald Isle to explore the country with their son as well as to visit family. Through Travel Around Ireland, Cath shares her local expertise and knowledge with travellers and visitors to Ireland. Find out more about Cath here.

Leave a comment