The art is not dead. Long before the TV entered the pub, people still went there. Strange isn’t it? People, sitting around, looking at each other, wagging their lips and making sounds.
The pub has always primarily been a place for people to go, to talk, to discuss politics, their daily lives, or just about anything. There are still plenty of pubs where this is the main focus; to sit and chat with your mates, or a complete stranger.
It is not a strict rule that any of the pubs on this list have to have no music, low music, or no TV at all. Many do have TVs, but it’s just not the focal point of the bar.
This list could well also function as a list of places to bring someone on a date.
So, here are 13 pubs that make great spots for a conversation.
1. The Swan
They still have their original signs from when they first advertised colour TV here. So too do they still have the atmosphere that predated those modern inventions. The first, but certainly not last Victorian era pub on our list, it’s a fine place for a chat around a roaring fire, in the former snug area, or at the counter with their supremely pleasant bar staff.
2. The Lord Edward
While downstairs is a great place for a chat, especially in their booth-like area on the left, we favour upstairs here for conversation. There are no TVs, and the view over Christchurch and the wall decoration is enough to get any tongue wagging.
3. The Long Hall
They don’t typically have the TV here on all the time. Usually it’s kept in a closed box. Another Victorian era pub, this place is infinitely charming. The layout and seating in the bar make it so that your drinking companion is placed in a more intimate way towards you than in some other spots. For groups you can go down the back of the pub, while the front window would be a favoured spot for two.
4. Ryans Parkgate st
Ryan’s is a beautifully ornate pub, inside and out. Their dining upstairs is top notch, but some come just for the atmosphere. Passing by Ryan’s any night of the week you will see a crowd in here when other pubs are empty. They come for the natural hum of friendly chatter.
A great spot for whiskey and a chat. You might get lucky coming in here and snap up their snug area. In there you could get 4 or 5 friends for a very intimate whiskey fueled discourse.
6. The Black Sheep
Probably the newest bar on our list. We’re always struck by the hum of the bar when you walk in. There are typically 4 to a table and everyone without fail looks like they are having a rip roaring conversation. It can get loud, but at least it’s the volume of the chat that is high, not the TV.
7. The Palace
This pub has always been a haunt of Dublin’s journalists, meaning that debate and discussion have always been a hallmark of it’s charm.
Mulligans famously has a ‘no singing rule’. Nowhere is the institutionalisation of conversation more evident than it is here. Though there are televisions, you’re scarcely aware that they’re there on most of the time. There’s a cool little spot to the left before the mens toilets that could be called an alcove. Alternatively, for larger groups there’s the James Joyce room at the back.
9. The Stags Head
Sometimes it’s so busy here that (if the weathers fine) you have to take your conversation outside. If you can get a seat inside, you’re in for a treat of Victorian design. The bar staff are usually chatty themselves and are often giving advice to passing tourists. The bar is quite open plan, so tables of strangers frequently find themselves engaging with others on topics of varying interest.
10. The Library Bar
“I fancy a scoop, but I don’t want a mad one”. The Library bar has a well known reputation as a place to go for a chat, where they serve as many pots of tea as they do pints of Guinness. The seats are very comfortable and the setting looks like it has played host to millions of conversations over hundreds of years (which it has).
We’ve found ourselves mentioning Cumiskeys more and more on this website over the last few weeks. Maybe because we think it deserves more plaudits that it doesn’t get by virtue of its location outside the main streets of the city. It’s very much a locals pub, and the decibel level never goes very high. There’s a neighbourly atmosphere in here that translates to good chat among its patrons.
12. The Cobblestone
There’s one side of the bar devoted to the trad musicians, and another to conversations. Music is the focal point of this bar, but it’s not the only draw. It’s a unique pub in the fact that it draws in lots of tourists, but still thinks of itself as a local pub with an interest in the community and its history. This gives it a great mix of people and cultures, and provides them with a great location to engage.
Part pub, part art gallery. Here is a pub where there is no sound of a radio, no sign of a TV, and only the loud murmur of its patrons to create the atmosphere. It is hugely popular among several generations, proving that there is still much demand for the traditional Irish pub.