The Best Pubs in Galway

Galway is known for a lot of things – trad music sessions, busking on the street (think Ed Sheeran), friendly locals, perfect pints of Guinness, cliffs of Moher, and much more. But arguably one of the main reasons that people visit Ireland is to go to the pubs. Unlike your typical American “pub” – which is usually mirrored after an Irish establishment – REAL Irish pubs contain all of the charm, history, and good vibes that are hard to come by in the fake reenactments around the world.

There are various kinds of Irish pubs to be found in Galway – you can go on the hunt for live music pubs, “old man” pubs, lively pubs with DJ sessions, specialty pubs with a knack for cocktails, and pubs with outdoor beer gardens. No matter what you are looking for and no matter the occasion, this lively Western city has got you covered.

After all, Galway is the heart of the West – being located right on the water, this seaside town brings in people from all over the world, whether looking to explore as a tourist, move here for a year off of school, or continue their college career at the local NUIG College. 

For those who want to have a quick pint – which usually turns into five – or those who want to have a Guinness and listen to some of the best live music in the country, here are our top choices of the best pubs in Galway city. 

An Pucan

Beer garden – By Utilisateur:Bel Adone – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6972735

A cross between a traditional pub and a more modern bar, An Pucan is the best bar located around Eyre Square. Eyre Square is the “center” of the city that houses multiple hostels, the Eyre Square shopping center, bus station, train station, and numerous shops. However, the main reason to wander around this outdoor green space is to make your way to the famous An Pucan pub. 

Complete with an outdoor beer garden that has three massive screens for local sporting events, like GAA matches and Six Nations Rugby, multiple bars, expansive indoor space, and live music in the front room, An Pucan is a great restaurant and pub for the beginning of a night out. We recommend heading here any evening during the week to catch either trade or more contemporary music and filling Irish fare.

Hours: Every day, 12pm-11pm

The Front Door Pub

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

When you finally make it inside on the weekend – after queueing for 15-20 minutes – you won’t be disappointed. This bustling indoor pub is a multi-floor establishment that boasts live music, DJs, and various bars that provide quick pints and tasty cocktails. Why do we love it here? You can choose a cozy table that is located in the corner of an upstairs booth on the 2nd floor, or you can enjoy the open space on the ground floor for dancing and mingling. 

Here’s an insider tip: Stay in The Front Door and explore all of the connecting hallways, twists, and turns, and eventually you will find the intra-connected whiskey and gin bar, Tigh Nora. A fun night out is starting your night at Tigh Nora to beat the queue for the pub, have a gin or two, and then simply walk through the hallway to connect to the lively and bustling Front Door Pub. 

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

Tigh Neachtain

Making of Irish coffee – By Frettie – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6085443

The big, blue, and yellow pub that is situated on the busiest and best corner of Galway, Tigh Neachtain is one of the most popular spots to head to any day of the year. During the cold winter nights, he can still see people sitting outside on the corner of this pub, people-watching and enjoying a hot Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy. During the rarely-warm summer nights, you might have to fight someone for a table – but it is worth it.

If you’re lucky enough to get here early during the day for a day session, or you know someone already sitting here, we don’t recommend leaving – you have the best people-watching spot in the entire town, complete with outdoor music from other establishments, views down Quay Street, and fast-flowing drinks to keep the ‘craic’ going all night long.

Hours: Every day, 12pm-11pm

Barr An Chaladh

Jager bombs – By Oosh (talk) (Uploads) – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40181114

Good luck saying this name if you’re not Irish – pronounced “Bar Na Holla ”, we’re being serious – this Woodquay bar/pub is a hidden gem that is slowly becoming unhidden. Head here before the tourists take over this basement pub that has a friendly owner, hefty pours, live music 7 nights a week, and a dimly-lit interior that makes it ideal for a cold night out on the town. With banners strewn over the bar, like “Kiss my Ass” and “Jager Bomb Time”, we love the relaxed vibes at this staple pub. 

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

Tigh Choili

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

Another Irish-named pub right in the heart of The Latin Quarter, Tigh Coili is one of the best traditional pubs for those who love the simple things in life. Behind the bar is filled with tons of knick knacks and notes from travelers and locals alike, with the decor reminiscent of a Galwegians living room. Love live music? This pub offers plenty of sessions – even live music TWICE a day! 

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

Monroe’s Tavern

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

If you are ever in the West End of Galway- which surely, you will be – and you are looking for a pub that has ample seating, this is the place to go. One of the best bars and pubs in Galway, it won’t take long for you to find this establishment – just look for the massive, white pub on the corner of Dominick Street by the canal. Perfectly situated by both bridges that connect The West End to The Latin Quarter, Monroe’s is a great pub for any time of the day – you can head here for a filling lunch, check out sports on TV, or start/end your night out on this multi-floor pub. 

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00am-11:30pm, Sunday 12pm-11:30pm

Late night live music: Friday and Saturday until 2:30am 

O’Connors Famous Pub 

Salthill and Galway Bay, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland – By Robert Linsdell from St. Andrews, Canada – Salthill and Galway Bay, Galway (506275), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68849467

One of the only choices that we included from Salthill – a section of Galway that is right on the beach, becoming the most-crowded area in the entire town during the sunny days of summer – The Salt House is actually one of our favorite pubs/bars in Galway. A laid-back traditional pub that feels like you are right on the sea – which you are – we love O’Connors for live music, an incredible interior, and nights out in Salthill. After leaving this infamous watering hole, you can continue your night at the nearby The Oslo Bar, R.M. McCabes Gastropub, O’Reilly’s Bar and Kitchen, or Lonergan’s Atlantic Bar. 

Hours: Every day, 7:30pm-11pm