Make a weekend of it and go for a few pints somewhere off the beaten track. Many of the pubs here are locally owned and operated, offering a unique charm.
Porterhouse - Oranmore
Porterhouse do it all, from live music and hand-crafted cocktails to sports matches and pub food. The pub itself is fairly new to town, with a funky design that’s both cosy and modern. They have Irish trad sessions every Friday night, and live entertainment every Saturday covering the full spectrum.
Main Street, Oranmore // more here
Tigh Giblin - Spiddal
Located in the Gaeltacht village of Spiddal along the Wild Atlantic Way, Tigh Giblin is full of authentic Irish charm. A woodstove, a menu of delicious high-quality pub grub and lively trad sessions makes it the ideal destination for cold autumn evenings. Tigh Giblin are a family-owned, Irish-speaking pub, renowned for their warm atmosphere and their food, which includes posh bangers and mash and tacos!
Bahoona East, Spiddal // more here
Charlies Bar - Loughrea
Located in Loughrea, Charlie’s Bar is a real sports bar with several HD TV’s and a great atmosphere whenever there’s a match on! Eclectic and vibrant, Charlie’s Bar is a great spot for any night out, whether you’re watching a match or planning a party.
Main Street, Loughrea // more here
Thatch Bar at the Merriman - Kinvara
South of Galway you’ll find Kinvara, a picturesque fishing village boasting a beautiful harbour and Ireland’s most-photographed castle just down the road. The Thatch Bar at the Merriman Hotel can’t be missed, with its sprawling thatch and bright red pops of colour. The Thatch offers great food, live music and a lively atmosphere, whether you’re a regular or just passing through.
Main Street, Kinvara // more here
Tí Joe Wattys - Aran Islands
After a day exploring the meandering country roads, sea cliffs and beaches of Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, a visit to Tí Joe’s becomes very necessary. Here you’ll find a lovely beer garden for sitting out in fine weather, plenty of delicious pub grub, an open fire for the colder months, and a very warm welcome in one of Ireland’s oldest pubs.
Kilronan, Inis Mór, Aran Islands // more here
Padraicins - Furbo
Padraicin’s is a popular spot in the summer for a few pints on the patio, taking in sunshine views of Galway Bay from the seaside village of Furbo. In the colder months, the traditional-style bar is a cosy place to duck in and enjoy an Irish music session. The attached restaurant is full of local seafood if you find yourself feeling hungry.
Furbo, Galway // more here
Lowry’s Bar - Clifden
Head even further out of town to Clifden, the capital of Connemara, where you’ll find Lowry’s Whiskey Bar. They’re known as the home of traditional Irish music in Clifden, and have live music seven nights a week during their busy season. The bar itself is warm and cosy, full of polished wood and vintage bric-a-brac for that old school style charm. It doesn’t get much better than a whiskey platter and a pub full of music.
Market Street, Clifden // +353(0)95 21347
North Gate Coffee Bar - Athenry
This lively local gem has a rustic coffeehouse feeling to it by day, when they’re open for coffee (of course) and food from breakfast to dinner. The owners have exposed the original brickwork of the building and hung art on the walls with incredible attention to detail. By night, the North Gate is transformed with live music, Guinness on tap and dancing! They also make a great option for special occasion celebrations.
North Gate Street, Gorteenacra, Athenry // +353(0)87 606 6671