What's a local though? Is it the pub that's physically located the closest to you? In my case no, not even close. There are two pubs in the little Westmeath village I call home and neither are places I choose to drink. Neither of them serve the type of beer I want to drink so I need to look further afield. Mullingar and Tullamore are my two closest big towns and while they do have pubs serving good Irish beer from independent Irish breweries, transport is problematic. It's either a 3 times a day bus, last one being about 6 pm or else a €22 taxi ride each way. That gets expensive. It's just cheaper for me to get the bus to Dublin or spend the night at my mother's house if it's a weeknight.
So I consider Dublin my local. It's my local area to go drinking. It's where I'm from, where I work and where most of my friends live.
So where in Dublin do I consider my local? For me, the whole city is my playground. When I have to travel 80 km to have a few pints, a little extra walking time isn't going to kill me.
Here are some of my favourite places to drink in Dublin, in no particular order.
Any of the Galway Bay bars are often top of my list. Brewock and Alfie Byrne's are my two personal favourites because they are so different. Alfie's is much bigger and gets a different crowd to Brewdock. The others are quite similar, Against The Grain and Black Sheep. You often go to a different one for different things. Black Sheep for cask, Brew Dock for American beer and Against The Grain for an all around good mix up. A little further out there's the lovely Dark Horse in Blackrock and the 108 in Rathgar, though I haven't made it to that one yet.
The Bull and Castle, Dublin's original independent craft beer specialist pub. It's still a great place for Irish craft beer and even better if you want to eat a mouthwatering steak or succulent IPA marinated rack of ribs. The Bull and Castle showed us what good beer was in 2007 and Dublin hasn't looked back since.
A short walk from there to Leonard's Corner and the fantastic 57 The Headline. With about 20 taps of purely Irish craft beer, it is probably one of the, of not the best line-up of Irish beer on tap in Dublin and possibly the country. Add to that the knowledgeable staff and great food and you will wonder why you put up with the crowded and overly loud Temple Bar pubs. It can still get crowded though, it's a popular place at the weekend but you can always have a chat without the distraction of loud music and non stop TV chatter.
Any of the Porterhouse bars with Temple Bar being my favourite, just because I prefer the layout. Great beer, especially Wrasslers, Hop Head and TSB. They do their own tied beer or a range of Irish and international craft beer on tap and an impressive and reasonably priced bottle selection.
The Norseman, formally Farrington's, formally the Norseman. It has come full circle in name but no matter which, the beer list is astounding. It boasts one of the best tap lineups in the city and for a bar in the middle of Temple Bar, that's impressive. My favourite thing about the Norseman is you can either be in the thick of things downstairs or go upstairs for some relative quiet and comfy leather couches to have a chat. The beer options are less impressive upstairs but it's only a short hop downstairs to get what you want.
O'Neill's on Suffolk Street, nooks and crannies everywhere and a great tap line-up. This is a tourist destination pub as well as a local Dublin destination pub.
L. Mulligan Grocer. When it comes to game changing pubs, this is second only to Bull and Castle. Not only did they bring Irish craft beer to Stoneybatter, not an area known for that sort of thing, they also opened after taking out the Guinness tap. A ballsy move that started a trend among other craft beer pubs. They were encouraged by the number of people that didn't walk out when they were told they didn't serve Guinness. This little gem has been written about in the New York times and many other worldwide publications. It's not just a beer heaven, it's a foodie heaven. Booking a table for dinner is always advisable, even on a week night. The bar area can also get very busy but you can usually enjoy a comfortable pint.
J.W. Sweetman's, formally Messrs Maguire. Currently it's Dublin's only brewpub, though that will be changing in the near future. This is a multi level superpub, possibly the largest pub in Dublin in terms of floor space with perhaps The Church(another good venue) its closest rival in size. Sweetman's brews their own beer on site and it's really good too. The porter is among the best porters available in Ireland, just let it warm up a little as it's served too cold usually. Order the porter and a pale ale and by the time you are finished with the pale ale, your porter might be ready to drink.
That's all I can think of at the moment. If I didn't put you on the list, it doesn't mean I don't like you. There are simply too many good pubs in Dublin. The best advice I can give is to use the BeoirFinder app to find a good one wherever you are on the island of Ireland.
At the end of the day, your local is not only where your heart is, it's wherever you find yourself when you are in the mood for a pint.