Although it's almost impossible to pick the ultimate, best pint of Guinness around, here are the Galway pubs that come pretty close to perfection for us...
Stout; the nectar of life itself and something we are incredibly passionate about. When the Guinness is good, it’s very good indeed. As soon as your lips push through the creamy head and into the black stuff below, a sense of contentment will run through your whole body, starting at your newly acquired white moustache and running down your spine like a shiver of pure joy. That’s why we believe that to be served a sub-par pint is to be denied a gulp of happiness. It truly is a crime and, to ensure that you never have to suffer such a fate, we have dutifully scoured the many watering holes of Galway in a quest to uncover the greatest Guinness around. No matter what kind of accompanying atmosphere you’re after, you’ll find the perfect pub here...
Best Enjoyed... the old-fashioned way
Freeney’s on High Street has long been serving up some of the finest stout in the land. The front windows of the building are adorned with all sorts of interesting tools, trinkets and knick-knacks from the adjacent fishing tackle shop. Inside, however, this simple, old-school pub gets straight to the point. There are very few distractions as you sit patiently at the high stool, licking your lips and watching lovingly as the pour settles just right. Within the glass, once the storm clouds dissipate and calmness descends, it’s time to tuck in. An evening ag ól in Freeney’s is like taking a trip through the Galway of years gone by. A classic.
THE BLUE NOTE
Best Enjoyed... on the dance floor
The home of the craic in Galway’s Westend, at The Blue Note you’ll find divilment in the air and a glint in the eye of all those who drink there. The Guinness is silky smooth and goes down beautifully in one of their cosy snugs or out in the tropical, floral beer garden. It’s the dance floor, though, that will steal your heart. A bop down in The Blue has become the stuff of legend over the years; full of laughter, love and massive, genre-spanning sets from some of the best DJs around. It keeps us young, and the saucy stout ensures we pull out a few of our best moves.
O’CONNOR’S FAMOUS BAR
Best Enjoyed... with a few tunes
Guinness pairs with trad music like red wine with a prime cut of beef. O’Connor’s Famous Bar in Salthill is one of our favourite spots for a bit of the ol’ Irish champagne with a portion of ceol on the side. This fabled pub has long been a haunt for local musicians and those passing through - most notably a charming redhead singing about a Galway Girl in recent years. There’s never been a TV in the pub (and, likely, never will be) so you can focus on the impromptu sessions that spring to life. However, the great tunes aren’t a patch on the sweet, sweet music you’ll hear as you sink a pint of the good stuff in their homely, sitting-room-style bar. Stick another one on there, Frank. And another, sure...
Best Enjoyed... on matchday
You’ll understand why Taylor’s Bar & Beer Garden is one of our favourites as soon as you lay eyes on the freshly-poured rows of creamy white heads standing proudly on the beautiful counter. If it’s sport that fills your own head, this is a serious spot to watch all the live action unfold. With screens outside in the beer garden and lots of cozy corners to get your team together, it’s ideal for cheering on Ireland in the 6 Nations or roaring for Galway in the All-Ireland. That being said, ‘tis no match for the finest sport of all; drinking the full pint in four gulps, as it was intended.
Best Enjoyed... out in the beer garden
One of Galway’s best-loved bars, O’Connell’s may resemble a tiny traditional Irish pub at a glance, but venture into the belly of the beast and you’ll find a stunning beer garden wonderland that serves gorgeous Guinness. Just imagine this little piece of paradise; the sun is high, the craic is 90, you’ve got a perfectly chilled pint in one hand and a slice of Dough Bro’s Wood Fired Pizza in the other. You stuff the final morsel of crust into your mouth and wash it down with the last drop of stout. You hold the glass up to the sun and admire the silky remains of the head clinging to the edge of the glass - the telltale sign of a great Guinness. Life is good.
THE KINGS HEAD
Best Enjoyed... with a plateful of food
One of life’s greatest pleasures is sitting at a table with your eyes firmly planted on a bowl of Atlantic Seafood Chowder, a Guinness by your side and a crackling fire in the hearth. It may seem like an unattainable dream but it all becomes reality when you step through the historic doors of The Kings Head. This traditional Irish pub has poured thousands upon thousands of pints for locals and tourists down through the years, and they have definitely perfected the craft of Irish stout. They say a pint of plain is your only man and The Kings Head is one of the best spots to get acquainted with this legendary fella.
Best Enjoyed... with a whiskey chaser
A great Guinness is a tapestry of interwoven, vitally important elements. The border of black and white should split the ‘E’, right in the middle. It’s hard to explain why, but it makes for a superior stout. If you really want to do it right, you’ll have to order a fine Irish whiskey to chase it down. Garavan’s Bar has earned its place in the hearts of many Galwegians for its award-winning selection of whiskey and their superior ability to pour a beautiful pint. The sharp, smokey bite of a barrel-aged whiskey will cleanse the palate and get you primed for your next Guinness. Just don’t touch it until you’ve gulped your Guinness down!
If you enjoyed reading our guide to the greatest Guinness in Galway, you might be interested to know that this article features in our beautiful book, ODE - A Glimpse of Galway, which you can order here for pick-up or nationwide delivery.Published on Updated on