We’re not going over the square footage of each pub in this list with a fine tooth comb. We’re highlighting how a small pub can pack a punch, create an atmosphere like no other, and offer different things to different people.
Cosy is a word we use a lot on this website and it’s a feeling captured within the walls of some of these pubs.
The Bankers on Dame Lane is a favourite spot of ours because they manage to give you a little bit of everything without diluting the product. They’ve got loads of live sports, they’ve got very good food, they’ve got extremely friendly staff, they’ve got craft beers, they’ve got premium whiskeys, and they’ve even got outdoor seating. All this, packed into a small enough and narrow space. It doesn’t hurt that you can expand the capacity into the lane on busier days.
The Boars Head
We’ve said before that the Boar’s Head on Capel Street could be considered to be the smallest sports bar in the city. It’s a favourite for GAA fans, and players alike. Hugh and Anne have run this place since the mid nineties, making it a home for many who enjoy their friendship and conversation. It’s also very popular with tourists who lap up the grub on offer.
Like most small pubs, the Dame Tavern have a tight knit group of regulars who come in for the chats and the horse racing. This is another gem on Dame Lane, which can expand into the lane on busier days. They’ve also got a upstairs room for functions. There’s a very comradely atmosphere in here, one you’d expect more from a suburban local. That’s what makes it such a pleasureable visit. There’s music several nights a week and you should definitely check out the Sunday session.
The Sackville is located just off O’Connell Street and has a devoted coterie of admiring fans . It’s a pub lauded for it’s relaxed atmosphere, showing of sports, pint of stout, and general pleasant surroundings. It’s a great option for a pint and a toastie after an activity in the O’Connell Street area.
The King’s Inn
The King’s Inn on Bolton Street has fast become one of our favourite haunts. The interior is a mix of Medieval, Celtic, and Viking design and boasts a heater to the back of the pub, several screens, and a homely welcoming atmosphere. It’s one of those pubs where you hear ‘I’ll drop that down to you’ and you know you’re in good company.
Briody’s on Marlborough Street was recommended to us by another publican in the city, so we had to check it out. The crowd here is made up of a pleasant collection of regulars engaged in chats and some watching the horses on the tellies. Plastic bottles of white lemonade sit on the tables shared by groups of ladies and couples enjoying their night out.
Fallons in The Coombe is one of our favourite pubs in the city. Getting the snug in here is a prize at the weekend. It’s a narrow enough pub that is usually always full, but never to an uncomfortable degree. It’s one of Dublin’s oldest pubs, and the well worn wooden fixtures give it an authentically rustic feel.
The Confession Box
The Confession Box could make claim to being the smallest pub in Dublin, but I think they’re a close second to the Dawson Lounge. It’s a fantastic little pub over 2 floors. You can nearly reach out and touch the bar from any point in the room downstairs. It’s a great mix of tourists, locals, and people trying it out after hearing of its reputation. There’s a Michael Collins connection to the pub as well. He used it for meetings during the War of Independence.
The Dice bar also makes our list of the cities best Dive bars, so it’s an interesting spot on a number of fronts. Business has not slowed down here in the 10 years that we’ve gone here. It’s always guaranteed a weekend crowd sampling some of their own beers (which predated the Irish taste for craft beer). It’s a small place, but they’re known to put on some gigs in the bar. There’s usually a DJ spinning a few funky tracks as well.
Outside T.O. Brennan’s they’ve got a small, astroturfed sun trap (when the weather’s right) at the side of the building. There’s always a crowd drawn to these seats. Inside, it’s one small room with multiple tables that give each party a degree of separation and space. They’re very engaged in Irish produced here, serving excellent Irish craft beers, spirits, and a few choice nibbles too.
Grogan’s on South William Street is one of the best loved pubs in the city. It’s not a very big spot, but you’ll find it to be busy from before lunch time until the close of business. It’s an extremely well run place. There’s never any shortage of staff behind the bar, and they’re always very quick with service, and always a pleasure to deal with. Inside, you’re not just in a pub, but also an art gallery. The paintings change monthly, so there’s always something to look at.
The Dawson Lounge
No list about small pubs would be complete without the cities smallest. Mind your head when walking around this pub, as you’re likely to bonk it on the ceiling in places. They have gone to lengths to minimise the risk by placing padded leather on curved edges. There’s a comfort in being here, underground and away from the hectic streets.