When it comes to having a drink, a fancy cocktail bar just ain’t gonna cut it. Nope, no way. When I want to go and imbibe with friends, I want to go somewhere like Fallons on New Row, The Lord Edward (or the Lord Inevitable as it’s known among my pals) at Christchurch, Mulligans or Walsh’s in Stoneybatter, Ryan’s on Queen Street, O’Connell’s on South Richmond Street or any similarly dimly-lit and not too pleasantly-scented isotope of any of the previously mentioned watering holes.
In other words, a real honest-to-goodness, down-home auld lads boozer with no loud music, zero fancy carry on, a limited selection of drinks (limp white wine or Corona is pushing it) and the sort of toilet you have to squeeze yourself around the door to jigsaw yourself into.
This pleases me. It also pleases seven other top burds who feel the same way about the sort of place that’s best for boozing. Click through to find out which pubs they rate, why, and what they drink when they’re there.
West Cork native Anna Shelswell-White is a journalist, staff editor at 256 Media (you'll find her collaborating with Dara and Laura on both House and Home and Confetti) and mega-massive Phoenix fan.
THE PUB: Ma Murphy's.
THE LOCATION: Bantry in west Cork
THE DRINK: Vodka and lemonade for a night out or beer for an afternoon catch up with old friends I haven't seen in ages.
THE REASON: A trip home isn't complete until I've gone here, especially over the Christmas holidays. Great atmosphere, great staff (Bill is a bit of a legend), an awesome outdoor/smoking area along with a new(ish) bar out the back with a stage for live music. On top of all that it's so nice to get out of Dublin and not pay extortionate prices for a few drinks. There's also a little shop when you walk in - perfect if you crave a Dairy Milk (or Cornflakes!) late at night. It's the epitome of country pub and I hope it doesn't change.
Charity whizz, fashion blogger - check her outfit posts on Second Last Song - and surfing enthusiast, Cheryl Gunning is also very, very fond of dogs. And pints.
THE PUB: The Bernard Shaw.
THE LOCATION: Portobello, Dublin 8.
THE DRINK: Heineken (and pizza on a bus).
THE REASON: Since entering my mid 30s I tend to pick drinking holes based on the likelihood I won't be surrounded by young people who make me feel old. There's usually good music and nice grown up older crowd - over 30s - and pizza on a bus.
Editor of House and Home magazine (Ireland's market-leading interiors title, fact fans), Dara is also the interiors columnist for the Sunday Times Ireland and a weekly contrib to this fair website. She's fond of a night on the town but if she has to go to Whelan's one more time there'll be words.
THE PUB: The Gravediggers.
THE LOCATION: Glasnevin.
THE DRINK: Guinness.
THE REASON: So iconic, they even include it in the tours of the cemetery - it's named, of course, for the diggers of the graves next door who legend has it, took their breaks outside the pub and ordered their porter by banging on a back wall. I used to be lucky enough to live across the street from it, which meant of a Sunday we could bung the roast in the oven, go and have a sneaky Guinness (which is perfect there) and pop back home to a nice browned bird.
There's no TV or radio blasting in the bar, and it smells of old varnished wood and light BO - just as any good old man's boozer should. The Kavanagh family who run it are kind, unpretentious people, and there's always a local up for the chats at the bar. You can even bring your doggy in, or on a sunny day, you can get your drink served in plastic and sit out on the green outside. I'm not sure there's a more perfect example of the Dublin pub in the capital and it's worth the 15 minute trip out of the city centre. If you want to partake of an evening unspoiled, go soon - it's been named in the Lonely Planet as a top place to booze in the city, so expect the busloads of tourists and hen and stag parties to come along and ruin your buzz any day now.
Dena Walker is a blow-in from Manchester, and has lived in Ireland for five-and-a-half years. She is an advertising planner and marketing lecturer, as well as being a fan of frills. And pubs.
THE PUB: Mulligan's (closely followed by Grogans and McDaids).
THE LOCATION: 8 Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2.
THE DRINK: Guinness. Occasionally Sambucca or Tequila if I have lost the run of myself (or the rugby/football results have gone very well/badly).
THE REASON: I love proper pub pubs. More characterful, relaxed, convivial and prone to trigger those unplanned nights of amazingness that happen from time to time when you're just chatting with chums over a drink. Mulligan's has brilliant staff who bring both drinks and a bit of witty repartee, for not unreasonable prices. And you're pretty much always guaranteed a great seat - because the whole pub is full of them!
I've always preferred going out to spots where I can sit with friends, talk about everything and nothing while having a good old belly laugh. You can't do that when you're sucking in your gut in a swanky bar, pretending you're not judging and being judged in equal measure. Life's too short for that nonsense.
She's the queen of Fluff and Fripperies and she contributes to Frillseeker each Friday too. Fond of long walks in the park, rainbows and unicorns, Emma Henderson knows a good pub when she sees it, and we may have made some of the last sentence up.
THE PUB: Nice 'n' Sleazy.
THE LOCATION: Find it on Glasgow's Sauchiehall street.
THE DRINK: The special is a White Russian for a mere two quid.
THE REASON: Unless it's a Wetherspoon's, I've rarely met a pub I haven't liked. But my very favourites are the dive bars, places where the floors are sticky, the toilet doors graffitied and the decor as eclectic as the clientele. I like good music and better cocktail lists, a late license, a table and to not be the oldest person in the room.
Scotland's answer to CBGB's, it ticks all these boxes and more - the late, great John Peel dubbed it's jukebox the best in the UK. I've been drinking there for more than 20 years (let's not do the math) and, though it feels less like home since the refurb a few years back, you'll still find me there every couple of months (it helps that my friend Chris lives practically on its doorstep and has a lovely spare room). In Dublin, the Workman's, Dice bar and Kennedy's on the quays are the closest I've found.
Deputy editor of Confetti magazine, you may remember Laura Cunningham as one half of the now-defunct Style Bitches (bring those hilarious geebags back). She's an all round wise-crackin' bird and the elected official of Gown Town.
THE PUB: O’Brien’s
THE LOCATION: Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4.
THE DRINK: Vodka and diet Coke.
THE REASON: I love the bar – it’s properly old school and there’s always a really interesting mix of characters to chat to. I also love sitting outside during the summer – there’s no beer garden, just a mob of stragglers boozing on the street until all hours. I’m told the Guinness is great – although I wouldn’t really know. Also, it’s approximately one minute’s walk from my house.
Naoimh Wilkins is a one-stop-fashion shop: you'll know her from Frillseeker where she helmed all things stylish from launch. Previously Prudence magazine's fashion editor, she's a stylist, writer and trend spotter.
THE PUB: The Hole in the Wall.
THE LOCATION: Kilkenny.
THE DRINK: My tipple of choice is usually always white wine even if it's cheap and acidic there is a pretty good chance of me drinking it!
THE REASON: It's a great spot: it's hard to find, heaps of fun and the walls are full of trinkets and memorabilia while the eccentric owner is very friendly. A small band take up three of the fifteen available spaces for punters and if you ask nicely they'll let you join and play the tambourine. And no one gives out if you do it badly. It has the most random higgedly piggedly mix of nostalgic memorablia. Peig Sayers anyone? This is the kind of place that if you butter up the barman slash owner you can end up pouring your own measure in the wee hours.
Freelance TV producer Sharon Ní Icí and has worked for RTE and TG4. She likes to do rude things with button badges at website launches.
THE PUB: Grogan's.
THE LOCATION: Castle Market, Dublin 2.
THE DRINK: Guinness.
THE REASON: No telly, no music, just toasties and good pints. attached