Rugby has been on the up in Ireland for decades now. Some pubs in Dublin have a historical connection to the sport through their owners and patrons, and others have caught on and reacted to the popularity of the sport by putting it on their screens.
Here’s 14 very good places in Dublin with different qualities for watching the rugby.
A list like this has to start with the pub with the most distinct rugby related history. The Swan was once owned by Sean Lynch (and now by his son Ronan) who played rugby for St. Marys, Leinster, Ireland, and the only Lions team to beat New Zealand. Since Sean’s playing days the pub has been synonymous with the sport and draws a crowd of knowledgeable rugby devotees. The walls are decorated with Sean’s rugby memorabilia. It’s still a wonderful place to enjoy a match and a pint.
We’ve always maintained that small pubs pack the best atmosphere for sports, and The Bankers delivers on that front. In the back room they’ve got a TV and are always showing major sporting events, including the rugby. Here you can enjoy some very fine pub grub, a great selection of whiskeys, and some craft beers. As the sign says above the pub, ‘The Bankers is best for Guinness’.
Doheny and Nesbitts
Areas of Doheny and Nesbitts are like shrines to rugby. The walls are covered in memorabilia, flags, and photos of past teams and their victories. The pub has plenty of screens and the back bar is a superb spot for a sharing a common experience between other fans, all cheering at the tv over their pints. The pub also does food, so you can cheer on Ireland, Leinster or whoever else on a full belly.
The Hill have quite large TVs in the right hand side of the pub and makes an ideal spot to watch a match. They’ve a good amount of seating and they usually do match day deals for the bigger games. Usually a burger and a pint for €10 of thereabouts. The pub isn’t far from the canal in the direction of Ranelagh.
Bull and Castle
This is a great option if you want some really fine food and drinks to go along with your match experience. The menu here is phenomenal, with excellent meat dishes, seafood, and snacks. The beer selection is excellent. The projector screen upstairs in The Butchers bar provides a great view of all the action.
Over the 4 floors of JW Sweetman there’s loads of TV screens and seating, making it one of the best spots in the city for any sporting occasion. It rarely feels packed, even when busy, and the atmosphere is excellent. Try one of their match day deals, including chicken wings or pulled pork with a pint of Sweetmans craft beer for €10.
Devitts might be more well known as a home for GAA in the city, but they’re also wildly popular for other sports too. Over 2 floors they’ve got numerous screens and upstairs at the weekend there’s live music. They of course do food here and it’s up to a very high standard.
The Bleeding Horse
The Bleeding Horse is one of the best sports bars in the city. Screens are dotted around the various rooms that make up this visually interesting bar, including out in their heated beer garden.
The Barge is a smashing pub with a big capacity. For match days they usually do wings and a pint deals (Sweetmans craft beer). This would be a good spot if you’re looking to book for a group to watch together. Handily located along the canal at Charlemont Street and near a Luas stop. They have a superb group deal for rugby games- book a table for any rugby match for €50 and get a table right in front of the screen, a platter of food and 8 pints.
Slatterys Beggars Bush
Slatterys in Beggars Bush is a great pub for anyone on their way to the Aviva, but it’s also a good spot when the match is further afield and shown on the TV.
The Old Stand
The Old Stand has a rugby ball on their permanent sign outside the pub, which should tell you something about their tastes. They show all televised rugby games on the screen above the bar. It’s a very interesting horse shoe layout in here, meaning everyone is facing in the same direction looking at the same TV.
Ruin bar on Townsend Street is a grand big bar that is perfect for large groups of friends to watch sport. They have a great selection of craft beer and really appetising pub grub. The tables here are quite large, so groups of 10 will have no problem fitting around one and sticking together. The screens are huge and high definition, and they have several drop down projectors too. A good option if you want space and to book for a group.
The Hairy Lemon
At the moment The Hairy Lemon has a rugby ball coming out the side of the building, so I guess you could say they have a bit of an interest in the sport! There’s usually sport on the tv in here and the rugby is always on and well supported.
The Bridge is the only pub on this list with the distinction of being owned by current Leinster and Ireland players. There’s always big crowds in here for match days whether it’s on the tv or in the RDS/Aviva.