Words: Shamim de Brún
Twelve pubs has its place… in history. Gone are the days of chugging gassy pints as fast as possible because the crew are already en route to the next one.
Let’s face it none of us has the tolerance we boasted of pre-pandemic. The thoughts of even pretending to enjoy yourself while helping from one pub to the next are enough to give you the Sunday Scaries on a Wednesday.
So instead of tumbling down Camden street and being the bane of every bartender in Dublin, here is a curated list of five things you’ll actually enjoy doing.
Listen, I know you’ll all have considered it. Or someone has probably already suggested it in the group chat. But get on it and book that shit asap, or all the spaces will be gone. That’s why I’ve included it here. Because you need to book it now, my top Christmas party spot picks for this year are Big Fan. They have space left for early bookings. There’s Big Mikes; anywhere a bit further out of the city like this will have more bookability.
Anywhere you can, BYOB is stellar for the budget conscious. My faves are Pho Kim, Musashi, Shouk, Eatokyo, M & L Chinese, Fayrouz, Pho Ta, Keshk, Zakura, and Dada. I’m sure there are more outside of the city centre, but these ones I know to be true blue BYOB.
Dublin actually has quite a few easily accessible breweries that have tours and all sorts, so you can take in some info on how the golden nectar of the deities of old is made. And you can have a few scoops with the lads while the pizza comes to you.
Top pick is Rascals in Inchecore. It is a quick and succinct tour with an excellent variety of beers for every taste while having top-notch wood-fired pizza in a colourful room near the luas line. Perfect.
There’s also Dublin City Brewing Co which is more central. Their taproom is cosy, and their beers, while less well-known, are just as tasty.
You also have the OG. The Guinness Storehouse tour is actually way better than you would expect, and you’re not fighting with as many tourists at this time of year. Plus can’t beat the views.
Nothing says Christmas like cocktails except maybe whiskey cocktails. Roe & Co have an impressive selection of cocktails all year round. They are a bit further outside of the city than people expect, so you can nearly always get a reservation for a bigger number of people. Perfect for last-minute Christmas shenanigans.
Like 12 pubs, they bus you to places that only serve the best Guinness. So it’s expensive, but at least you’ll learn a bit about the history of Guinness while soirée-ing. The two lads who host it are pretty sound. So if you give them a quicknotes run down on your mates, then they’ll curate the perfect stops for yiz. The ultimate Christmas party, especially if you’re from outside Dublin or are new to the city.
Book to stay at The Hendrik Hotel with the whole gaggle and turn it into an all-nighter affair. It’ll be a Christmas party for the ages, especially if there is a James Bond theme.
If you have a whiskey nut in your group, then the Blenders class in Jameson Distillery Bow street is the dream Christmas party. You get to draw whiskey out of the barrel at cask strength and then compare it to the bottled version. After, you get to taste five more whiskeyed before blending your own bottle to take home with you. You’ll leave pleasantly merry and chock full of knowledge.
If you’re more cocktail-inclined, then they have the shakers class where you get to make 3 cocktails for 50 quid. and they are good cocktails. It’s a really fun way to spend the afternoon while having a few bevvies with your mates.
Then you’re left bang smack in the middle of Smithfield square, which is full of pubs to wind down at. My personal favourite is The Cobblestone.
If this all sounds like organisational hell to you, why not book an in-between Christmas and New Years’ soirée anywhere or, better yet, a January one? You’ll get whatever you want from a party then without competing with every Tom, Dick and Harry for it.
Elsewhere on CHAR: Dublin’s Ultimate Pizza