Survival Guide

12 pubs of galway – the ultimate guide

1. An Pucan
Having been completely renovated last year An Pucan’s reputation as one of the best bars in Galway has grown and grown receiving various awards such as “Connacht Whiskey Gold Medal Bar of the Year 2015”. Located just off Eyre Square, the place itself is very spacious and boasts a large beer garden making it the perfect pub to gather that Christmas crew together.
 
2. O’Connells
This pub may seem small from the outside (and it is) but just like An Pucan there is a beer garden out the back – with an outside bar open there on Friday and Saturday – to give it that extra space. Size aside though, you wouldn’t want to miss out going here as the whole bar gives off a feel of locality and homeliness; everything you’d associated with Christmas.
 
3. Beer Tent
It seems as though Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in Galway without the Christmas Market and a big draw to that is of course the Beer Tent. This pop up bar has thousands of visitors every December who come to sample the delightful novelty of a stein of beer while being immersed in what can arguably be called the centre of Christmas in Galway. But don’t worry if you’re not a fan of beer they serve up many other beverages such as hot drinks and mulled wine so as everyone is kept happy.
 
4. The Skeff
Completing the quartet of pubs on this list situated around Eyre Square is The Skeff, a multi-floored vibrant city centre bar. It might seem strange coming into such a larger bar from smaller ones but that just means more room for you to have a laugh and maybe even enjoy a bit of dancing. The Skeff does specialise in cocktails as well if you really want to be brave about it.
 
5. McSwiggans
While this may be off the beaten path somewhat in comparison to the rest of the pubs on the list it is well worth sacrificing the extra couple of minutes and making the trip down to Woodquay, especially for Guinness drinkers where pints of the ‘black stuff’ are priced up at only €3.50. And if you’re really lucky you’ll slope in beside the fire down the back and get to make the place your own.
 
6. The Cellar
Fully-modernised, The Cellar bridges the gap between the Eyre Square side of the City and the lively Spanish Arch area. It oozes comfort giving off a very chilled-out vibe which is exactly what you need before you hit the more frantic pubs to come.
 
7. Taafes Bar
The local consensus among Galwegians is that Taafes has one of, if not the best, pints of Guinness around; more good news for lovers of Arthur’s finest creation. Right in the centre of Shop Street you’d almost miss it with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers but it is one not to be missed with live trad on twice a day everyday meaning this really is a pub to get the craic going!
 
8. The King’s Head
Right beside Taafes, The King’s Head is equally perfectly located, however, it harbours a much more different atmosphere to that of its Ceili hosting neighbour. Its size alone makes it one of the biggest bars in Galway and with live music there every night of the week it would be hard for anyone not to be put in a good mood when they take a drink here.
 
9. The Dail Bar
On the corner of Middle Street it wouldn’t be too difficult to pass by this place as it is just the wrong side of Shop Street. But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the busiest bars in Galway where there always seems to be a crowd, even on the quietest of nights. There is either live music or a DJ there every night to set that Christmas mood and they stay open until two in the morning from Thursday to Saturday so don’t worry about getting down there too early.
 
10. The Quays
Be prepared for when you enter here as you never know who you might meet. That is because not only is there a crowd here seven nights a week but it is a tourist hotspot where a host of nationalities come to sample the Irish pub atmosphere. And that is easy to do with a live band playing every night – followed by a DJ on a Saturday – making it one of the perfect places to get into that festive spirit.
 
11. Busker Brownes
In the heart of the Latin Quarter, Buskers, as it’s more commonly known, hosts live music from Thursday right through until Monday. Possibly deceptive from the outside it holds plenty of space inside for whoever has made it as far as here. One thing that isn’t deceptive is that its décor and general appearance can be voted up there with one of the highest in Galway.
 
12. The Front Door
No night out in Galway would be complete without a visit to The Front Door. This late bar is the late night venue popular among people of all ages. If you’re in the mood for drinking, dancing or just having the craic there is practically nowhere better to end your night. For when you leave too the infamous Pizza Napoli is also just across the road, or if you prefer a more traditional meal Supermacs on Cross Street is only a stone’s throw away.
 
Photo: independent.ie