The Best Bars in Galway 

Galway, Ireland is arguably the heartbeat of the West – although Dublin takes the cake for the busiest and center of Ireland on the East Coast, Galway has ample charm to rival the capital city for the best place to live – and visit – when in Ireland. With numerous coffee shops, Irish stores, bars, pubs, and ‘craic’ – if you don’t know what this means, you need to go to Ireland – Galway is one of the best cities to visit on holiday.

After all, Ireland is known for its extremely friendly and welcoming locals – you can walk into any bar or pub in Galway and meet someone within the first few minutes. This is what makes this seaside city one of the best stops for solo travelers, couples, and families alike. Not sure what to do during your time in Galway? Head to your “local” and ask one of the people sitting at the bar for recommendations – and you will not be disappointed.

Speaking of bars in Galway, where should you go when you are in dire need of a strong gin and tonic or pint of Guinness? We have a few recommendations that are sure to wet your whistle e-and keep you dancing all night long. 

MP Walsh’s 

Guinness extra stout and Guinness draught – By Aneil Lutchman – https://www.flickr.com/photos/aneil4lom/6711153571/in/album-72157629049104455/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45494968

A new bar that is in Galway’s West End, this locally-owned bar is a great spot for small parties who want to have strong drinks and good vibes. Located right near BoTown – a great burger joint on Dominick Street – this small bar is an ideal spot for people-watching.  We recommend making a reservation ahead of time so you can ensure seating,- since this bar is so small, there are two tables in the front of the bar and a back room for larger parties.

However, we love sitting at the bar or the front tables – you feel like you’re right on the edge of Dominick street, making it a perfect place to people watch and chat with the friendly bartenders. Not to mention, the owner is a local Galway lad, so ask him for any recommendations on what to do, where to go, and what to see in the town. 

Hours: Saturday – Sunday 1pm-11pm, Monday – Thursday 2pm-11pm, Friday 10:30am-5pm

The Dail Bar Galway

Claddagh at sunrise – By By Miguel Mendez from Malahide, Ireland – Claddagh at Sunrise, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25501350

A nice mixture between a bar and pub in Galway, The Dail is an extensive bar that spans multiple floors known for having live music and plenty of people during the weekends, you can head here at any point of the day to enjoy traditional Irish fare, pub-style decor, and friendly workers. However, the best time to head here is during the weekends, where you can enjoy live music and DJs until 2 am – or later, depending on the night. Fancy checking out a local GAA game on TV? The Dail has got you covered. 

Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am – 12am, Friday – Saturday 11am – 2am, Sunday 12pm – 12am

An Pucan

Eyre Square Galway – By By Sulmac (talk) (Uploads) – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=107818311

Arguably the best bar in the Eyre Square area, this bar has live music in the front of the pub, a spacious back room for larger parties, and an outdoor beer garden area that is great for summer days and watching sporting events on their projection screen. We recommend heading here if you can’t find a seat anywhere else, as this bar is bigger and contains more space than some of the smaller options. If you’re lucky, you can listen to a live music set in the front room – fortunately for you, that is nearly every single night. Insider tip: Head here for the rugby qualifiers or Premier League games to catch a glimpse on one of their screens in the garden or front room! 

Day menu served 12-4pm and dinner menu from 4pm-8pm

Hyde Bar 

Galway Shop Street – By Sabine Holzmann, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54156879

If you are in the mood for something a little more upscale and luxurious, then heading to Hyde Bar right down the street from An Pucan might be a welcome change from the relaxed vibes of the local pubs. For those who want craft cocktails, proper seating, and five-star food, Hyde Bar offers quality gin, 3-course meals, and champagne brunches that can help you recover from the night before – and help you carry over to the next night out.

Brunch hours 11am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday

Hours: Saturday to Thursday 11am to 12am

Garavan’s Bar

Irish Whiskey – By Original uploader was Cafeirlandais at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3892419

In the mood for a dram of whiskey? Garavan’s is your place to go. Located right on William Street – a quieter side street off of the shop-filled Market Street – this small and quintessential-Irish bar is known for its whiskey neat that is going to make it hard for you to leave. We recommend getting the tasting platter of whiskey or Irish coffee on the typically-rainy Irish days. 

Hours: Monday – Wednesday 11am-11:30pm, Thursday – Saturday 11am-12:30am, Sunday 12:30-11pm

Tigh Nora

Gin and tonic with lemon – By MuseumNext – Gin and tonic, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45553716

If you are not a whiskey lover, then why not try some gin? After all, it seems like nearly every woman has a good ol’ G&T when you go out at night in Ireland. No, we’re not being sexist – it really does seem this way. Truthfully, we don’t blame them – gin and tonic in Galway is not only the same price, or cheaper, than a pint of Guinness, but it is very good. For those who want a gin and tonic – or a couple – head to Tigh Nora for a wide selection of gins.

Insider tip: This gin bar is actually attached to The Front Door Pub! Walk through the maze of hallways to escape to the pub and continue your night on the town. 

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:30am-12am, Sunday 11am-12am

Murphy’s Bar

The interior of a typical pub – By Ashley Pomeroy at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Oxyman using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7018360

Looking for a traditional “old man pub” that seems to be slowly disappearing in Ireland these days? Look no further – Murphy’s BAr brings back the nostalgia of what Ireland is known for. With token old men that are going to be sitting at the bar all-day-long, great pints of Guinness, and a no-frills atmosphere, this is the type of pub that you are going to find when you visit the lesser-visited towns across the West of Ireland. Located right on High Street, this bar is surrounded by plenty of shops, buskers on the street, and other bars.

Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:30am-11:30pm, Friday to Saturday 10:30am-12:30am, Sunday 12:30pm-11pm 

1520 Bar

Musicians pub traditional music – By Gtapp – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21719842

For the gin deal you have all been waiting for – did we mention 2 for €10? – this is the place to go. With live music on weekends that is typically more contemporary than trad, and great DJ sessions, 1520 is right in the heart of the pub and bar scene in Galway. Right when you walk in, there is an open space in front of the bar that is nearly asking for people to get up from their tables and start dancing. If you would rather have a smoke or sit outside, there is an out-front area that is one of the best spots for people-watching on Quay Street. 

Hours: Monday to Sunday 10am – 11:30pm, Brunch 10am-3pm 

Taaffes Bar

Galway Riverside Quay – By Adesile Ajisafe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62513669

Another quintessential old-man pub – also known as the auld man pub, in Irish slang – Taffes is a non-assuming Galway staple. Arguably, this bar has the best rad music in the entire town – and that is saying something. With plenty of live music competition from bars and pubs across the entirety of Galway, this title is well-earned at this Shop Street icon. 

Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:30am-11:30pm, Friday and Saturday 10:30am-12:30am, Sunday 12:30pm-11pm

Tigh Neachtain

Shop Street – By Jerzy Strzelecki – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15871775

Bordering the line between a “bar” or “pub” in Galway, we couldn’t decide – but we had to include Tigh Neachtain anyways. The iconic bright blue and yellow pub on the corner of Shop Street and Cross Street, this infamous spot is the best location for people-watching in Galway – and we would argue that to the death. At the intersection between various pubs, bars, shops, and restaurants, Tigh Neachtain’s outdoor area wraps around the corner – providing patterns with the perfect view of tourists from all over the world, locals heading to work, or people stumbling from bar to bar on a Saturday night. 

Hours: Every day (we love this) 12pm-11pm