No visit to the City of the Tribes is complete without an evening in one or more of the best pubs in Galway.
There’s nothing like whiling away the hours with friends in a cosy bar, enjoying fine conversation, tunes and the best Guinness in Galway! And if there’s a roaring fire, even better.
We’re delighted that our Maldron Hotel Sandy Road is located just outside the core of the city. It’s the perfect base for groups of friends who want to experience the finest pubs in Galway city centre.
Join us as we explore the finest establishments Galway has to offer. Each of them provides a flavour of the true Irish pub experience, while also having their own unique personality.
From city-centre locals to sports bars, from unique beer gardens to medieval pubs, there’s something for everyone among the pubs in Galway city centre.
1. The Crane Bar
If you’re looking for pubs in Galway with music, the Crane Bar is a great place to start. Located on Sea Road, it’s one of the best-known traditional music pubs in the city.
The tunes and “craic” are spread across two floors, with the downstairs pub area devoted to nightly live sessions. Upstairs boasts a popular yet intimate venue called The Listener’s Club, offering musical concerts in a variety of styles.
The musical influence of the pub has spread far beyond its own four walls. Many well-known Irish musicians and singers have been nurtured here over the years.
The Crane Bar isn’t just known for its music though; it’s famous for its overall authentic feel, with friendly and fun staff.
2. Taaffes’ Bar
You’ll find Taaffe’s on Shop Street, right in the centre of Galway’s retail district. Because of this, it’s usually buzzing and lively during the day. Why not combine a shopping trip with the chance to soak up a classic pub atmosphere? You can even enjoy breakfast here if you wish, or pop in a bit later to enjoy their Guinness stew.
Taaffe’s is also famous for its music. Seán Keane and Sharon Shannon are just two of the notable names that have performed here. But the bar’s open invitation to play or listen means everyone is welcome to be part of their musical tradition.
Finally, this pub is the place to be if you’re a GAA fan. Make sure you don’t miss their framed hole in the roof, put there by an over-excited Galway supporter back in 1998.
3. The Quays
If you have an eye for architecture, make sure to head to The Quays on Quay Street. The interior is famous for its unusual church-like appearance, with a large stained-glass window providing a colourful backdrop to your night out. Plus, you’ll never grow tired of exploring the various nooks and crannies the bar has to offer.
Glór Tíre (TG4’s Irish language Country and Western singing competition) is filmed in the venue’s music hall. To continue the church theme, the music hall also boasts a huge church organ as a backdrop.
Even without the presence of TV cameras, many consider The Quays to be the perfect spot for people watching!
4. Tigh Neachtain
Perhaps you’re eager to discover the best beer gardens in Galway? If so, Tigh Neachtain on Cross Street is a great place to start. Enjoy one of their home-brewed beers in the fresh air with friends.
If you’re feeling chilly, find a seat by the fire or settle into a cosy snug. While you’re there, you can enjoy browsing some of the theatre and festival posters that decorate the walls. Tigh Neachtain prides itself on the support it gives to culture in the city and has strong links with the creative community.
And if you really, really love Tigh Neachtain, you can purchase a craft kit that lets you build your own model of the pub. All you need are scissors and glue! Bring home one of the best pubs in Galway.
5. The King’s Head
We often associate storytelling with Irish pubs, but The King’s Head has a fascinating tale of its own.
Dating back over 800 years, the building was originally home to the Lynches, the Mayors of Galway. But in 1654, Colonel Peter Stubbers, one of Oliver Cromwell’s men, seized it. Since Stubbers is believed to have executed England’s King Charles, it’s little wonder the pub chose The King’s Head as its name!
Although proud of its history, the pub also has its feet firmly in the present. You’ll find the finest in bistro and bar food, served up with laughter at one of the venue’s stand-up comedy gigs.
The King’s Head encourages visitors and locals alike to “buail isteach” or “call in”. Make sure you do; you won’t regret it!
O’Connor’s of Salthill refers to itself as Galway’s original singing pub.
It embraces the history of the Irish pub tradition by avoiding TV, sports and food. As a result, it’s the perfect spot to relish some music or make the most of a catch-up with friends.
With it’s dimly lit atmosphere and traditional decor of antiques and collectibles, you’ll be tempted to linger to take it all in, and if you do, you’ll be in good company. The music video for Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl (featuring Saoirse Ronan) was filmed here, and other famous visitors include Michael D. Higgins, Art Garfunkel and Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson).
If you do plan to visit O’Connor’s make sure not to turn up during the day. In true traditional Irish pub fashion, they open only at night time.
O’Connell’s of Eyre Square also features in the Galway Girl video. If you’ve seen the clip for yourself, you’ll recognise this pub by its highly decorative, pressed tin ceiling.
Decor is something O’Connell’s really makes an effort with. One area of the bar reflects its history as a grocer’s, while its outdoor area is not to be missed. There’s no denying this is one of the best beer gardens in Galway, even if you never touch a drink in it! Its old-fashioned street design will add a magical feel to your visit and you’ll even find the front of a bus making an appearance.
While you’re there, make sure to explore the pub’s wide range of whiskeys, craft beers, and gins.
8. An Púcán
Here in Ireland, we have a long-standing tradition of heading to the pub to enjoy sports fixtures. So why not pair your pints with the passion and power of sports at An Púcán, the home of sport in Galway city?
Be sure to make a beeline to this Eyre Square pub if you want to catch a match with friends. With 11 screens, you’re sure to find something of interest.
If sport isn’t your thing, An Púcán offers live music daily, live bands at weekends and a late-night DJ on Saturday.
No matter what entertainment you’re enjoying, make sure to sample their food, whiskey and cocktail menus.
9. Tigh Chóilí
Tigh Chóilí is a gem of a pub in Galway City Centre, run by the O’Flaherty family. The family refer to their pub as “a country pub in the middle of the city” and with two trad sessions a day, it’s one of the best pubs in Galway with music.
Like O’Connor’s, they make sure to avoid the distraction of TV, and patrons are encouraged to listen to the music and strike up conversations. Make sure to spend a few minutes enjoying the photos on display, each of them a snapshot of the pub’s past.
Tigh Chóilí is known for its mix of locals and visitors, creating a genuine community atmosphere. It’s a great place to catch up with friends and meet new people: just ask the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!
10. The Dáil Bar
The Dáil Bar on Middle Street claims to have the best Guinness in Galway, so why not call in and see for yourself? They also aim to take typical pub food to a new level, so make sure to sample a meal as well.
This pub is another great choice for sports fans. Most major events are screened live and the venue is proud to support local teams such as Connacht Rugby and Galway United.
Of course none of the best pubs in Galway would be complete without music. The Late Lounge, upstairs at The Dáil Bar, has hosted acts such as Gavin James and Little Hours.
Your Base For Visiting The Best Pubs in Galway
If you’re visiting the city with friends, a day trip just won’t cut it! To really soak up the atmosphere of Galway’s finest pubs, an overnight stay is a must.
Here at Maldron Hotel Sandy Road, we’d love to welcome your group to stay in our range of spacious and comfortable rooms. Since we’re just a five-minute drive from the city centre, we’re the perfect place for you and your friends to start your Galway adventure.
Check out our 4-star hotel rooms in Galway, to explore the range of options we have on offer. We look forward to welcoming your group and offering you our own personal insight into the best pubs in Galway.
Looking for activities after the pub crawl? Be sure to check our other list including the best sightseeing in Galway, what to do in Connemara, nightclubs and shops in Galway. If you’re around in December, the Galway Christmas market is also a must-do activity!