Words: Shamim de Brún
Photography: George Voronov & Guinness
Gigs are amazing, city centre gigs are doubly so. Nothing beats the rush of excitement as you head to an iconic venue to see a sold out sensation with your favourite people. It’s almost like life was invented just so we could commune with music and our friends.
Life is all about cramming in as much joy as you can in musical form. That said, you can’t always rely on venue bars for a good drink. So it’s always better to bookend your gig with a quality Guinness.
BEFORE any gig on the southside of the city, start with a pint in Toners. It’s just far enough away from Iveagh Gardens and Whelans and with enough space that you’ll be able to nab that after-work pre-gig pint.
It’s also not too far from the Olympia to walk but is far enough away that it won’t be jammed with the Olympia gig-going crowd. The same can be said for adjacent venues Button Factory and Workmans Club.
When it comes to the age-old ‘where is, the best Guinness’ Toners Pub has a genuine hat in the ring, with Rory Guinness, of the original Guinness family, claiming Toners pulls the best pint in the land.
It’s hard to argue with the originators of a national treasure. And sure, why would you want to? Toners even have a rooftop for sunny evenings. Perfection.
AFTER: Obviously, you can go anywhere in the centre for a gig at Iveagh gardens, but the trick is to go somewhere the crowd won’t think of. I’m inclined to go the opposite direction to the centre and head to O’Connor’s of Mount Street, formerly called Oil Can Harrys. It’s not too much of a trek from the National Concert Hall, Sugar Club, The Aviva or even the RDS. It’s also another solid beer garden with a rooftop but crucially an excellent Guinness.
Here you can soak up the beautiful bright nights over a Guinness with the gang chatting the ear off each other about what was the highlight of the gig.
If you’re hitting Vicar Street, a whole other kettle of great pints is available to you. The one that’s the perfect distance to creamy pint ratio for me is Fallon’s. The spot is a whopping four hundred years old so you know they’ve got the OG Guinness pipes. They do some seriously good pints and always have a top-notch atmosphere on a sunny evening.
Whenever you go to a gig in the Three Arena, you realise how little is actually near it. You always think there’ll be somewhere right by it, but all there really is are Hotel Bars. It’s a hard one because it’s in the middle of everywhere and nowhere. But if you want to bookend your gig with a Guinness, then head to one of these spots.
BEFORE: I’d say Dockers is your best bet. They’re bam smack in the middle between The Academy, Wig Wam and The Arena. Technically they’re on the southside but the spot makes a good Guinny.
It’s a newer spot with a finger on the pulse of what Dubliners actually want. With a menu that includes newfound favourites such as Padron peppers and a fully decked-out cheeseboard, it’s a great spot to rally the troops before you stroll down the quays to the gig of the day. On top of all that, they have some of the best pints of Guinness in the city. Sometimes new pubs can’t quite land the perfect pint, but whether it’s staff or pipes or some magical ingredient, they have it nailed.
AFTER: I’d say stick Northside and head straight for Confession Box, just far enough away, it shouldn’t be too busy but close enough to walk to. You never want to be transporting publicly or via taxi after the Three Arena. At least not immediately.
Top Tip: If your gig is in the Grand Social, you’re golden. It is a stalwart Guinness slinger. Worth beelining for after a gig in Wig Wam or The Academy too. A sneakily good pint of Guinness and enough space to get enough seats for all your mates.
Please drink Guinness responsibly.
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