Galway is considered to be Ireland’s cultural capital and is the hub of the country’s music scene. With its countless live music venues and excellent pubs, Galway is the perfect place to explore in Ireland to learn more about entertainment in the country.

What better way to check out the local trad music than grab a pint at one of the pubs in Galway?!

Of course, a lot of bars in Galway are also known for other things besides just music. Some are known for being incredibly historic and dating back over 800 years, while some are recently-opened but serve some of the best food in the city.

I visited Galway City for a few days while studying abroad in Dublin and immediately found that the pub scene in Galway is alive and well.

I fell in love with this glorious city and all it had to offer, and I only wish that I had enough time to have stayed longer — Galway truly is one of the best places to visit in Ireland.

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Here it goes! The 10 best pubs in Galway that you won’t want to miss.

1. O’Connell’s Bar

O’Connell’s Bar is one of the most interesting pubs in Galway. I visited this pub during my trip to the city and it set a high precedent for what a great pub truly is! This pub is an old converted grocery store from 50 years ago and it even has a beer garden.

This is a great spot for lunch and an evening pint! No matter when you stop by, be sure to order their tasty pizza, which I can guarantee you won’t regret. The servers here are also extremely talkative and welcoming.

The overall atmosphere of O’Connell’s Bar is very laid-back and you’ll feel right at home. This pub is great for all kinds of travellers, but be warned that it can get pretty busy at night. Come for lunch to avoid the crowds.

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Where: O’Connell’s Bar is located right in Eyre Square. See its exact location on Google Maps here.
When: Monday through Thursday: 12:00 to 11:30 p.m., Friday 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Saturday 1:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Sunday 1:00 to 11:30 p.m.
Cost: A pint will cost you €7 on average while food is around €10.

2. Taaffes Bar

Taaffes Bar is a pub that’s located in a building that is 400 years old! The pub itself has been open for over 150 years now. Though it can get quite busy, it’s a spot worth at least visiting once during your trip to Galway.

This pub can get quite cosy, especially at night. However, the trad music here is so great that I didn’t even mind the busyness in the evening. To ensure that you get a spot to sit, be sure to visit right before dinner, or else risk standing the whole night.

Inside, there are a lot of pictures of the Galway Football team, which makes for a fun atmosphere. This pub gets particularly rowdy during GAA matches but if you come during a game, you’re sure to run into some locals.

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Where: Taaffes Bar is centrally located and is only a few blocks from Eyre Square in the Latin Quarter. See its exact location on Google Maps here.
When: Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Cost: The average beverage price is €7. If you have a student ID, you can get lunch for just €5, otherwise, food is normally closer to €8 to €10.

3. Tigh Neachtain

Tigh Neachtain is one of the more historic pubs in Galway. This pub was first opened in 1894 and has been most well-known for hosting a wide variety of musicians including Brian Lennon and Sharon Shannon.

This is one of the best pubs in Galway for music as it offers some of the best live music in the city. It’s a budget-friendly pub that is homey and comfortable inside. There are even fireplaces throughout the interior which just make it even cosier!

The pub comes alive at night when the musicians come to perform. They serve food at lunch and also some snacks in the evening, in addition to their wide variety of rare whiskies and scotches. There’s sure to be something on the menu for you.

Where: Tigh Neachtain is right in downtown Galway near Quay Street and Cross Street. Find it on Google Maps here.
When: Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Cost: An average beverage costs €6 while a food dish costs around €10.

4. The Front Door

The Front Door is one of the biggest Galway pubs. It covers two floors and consists of five bars, including Tigh Nora and Sonny Molloy’s Whiskey Bar. You could spend the whole day here and drink at a new bar every few hours.

During the day, The Front Door is an average Irish pub. It’s a great place to relax and grab a bite to eat at any of the five different bars. It completely transforms during the night when The Front Door because the life of the party with live music and DJs.

Which reminds me, when thinking about where to stay in Galway, you should keep the late-night pubs in mind and if you’re not a big partier, opt to rent an Airbnb or hotel away from them.  

If you’re travelling with a family, try to visit The Front Door during the day. It’s still just as fun during the day and can provide a great Irish pub experience for first-timers. If you’re more of a partier and like nightlife, opt to visit at night!

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Where: The Front Door is located right near the River Corrib in the Latin Quarter. Find it on Google Maps here.
When: Every day from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Cost: A meal here costs about €12 while a beverage can cost anywhere from €5 to upwards of €200 depending on what kind you purchase.

5. Monroe’s Tavern

Monroe’s Tavern looks surprisingly huge from the outside but feels very cosy and like home on the inside. The pub is covered in hardwood with some fun decorations on the walls but is overall not overbearing. It first opened in 1964.

This relaxed pub is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but keep in mind that it gets busiest at night. Visit on Tuesday evening to see traditional Irish dancing! The pub is on the first floor while their music venue, Monroe’s Live, is on the second floor.

In addition to beverages, Monroe’s Tavern serves many different dishes. They have pretty much everything you could imagine, but be sure to try the fish and chips which are a fan favourite among those who have visited.

Where: Monroe’s Tavern is located right near The Claddagh. Find its exact location on Google Maps here.
When: Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., Sunday 12:00 to 11:30 p.m.
Cost: Breakfast and lunch cost approximately €11, while dinner is closer to €15. A basic beverage starts at €3 for something like Budweiser or Bulmers.

6. Murphy’s Bar

Murphy’s Bar is one of the best Galway bars. It’s been run by the same family for three generations and counting now since 1931! This pub is best known for serving the best pint of Guinness in the whole city.

The staff here are super welcoming and even know most of the customers by their name. That’s how you know you’ve found a good pub! Be sure to pay close attention to the walls when you visit — they are covered in fun photos of customers and staff.

This pub is a great place to visit any time of day, but like most pubs in Galway, Ireland, it gets most busy at night. The atmosphere is very casual and relaxed, so you can come in and be yourself. Murphy’s is a favourite of the locals.

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Where: Murphy’s Bar is located on Galway’s High Street and is just a few blocks from Eyre Square and the Spanish Arch. Find its full location on Google Maps here.
When: Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., Sunday 12:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Cost: Murphy’s Bar doesn’t serve food besides peanuts and Tayto crisps, but a beverage will cost you anywhere from €4 and up.

7. An Púcán

An Púcán is arguably the very best pub on this list. This is one of those pubs that is great no matter the time of day. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the staff is just as friendly at the beginning of the day as they are at the end.

This pub has live trad music every night and is a great way to get introduced to Galway’s music scene. Occasionally, they also hold events in their Back Bar with DJs and they’ll stay open until the early morning.

Though they are known for having over 180 international whiskies, they also offer amazing food options. For breakfast, you could get a Full Irish Breakfast and later in the day they have many seafood and grill options. Families should visit earlier in the day.

Where: An Púcán is located right outside of Eyre Square. You can find it on Google Maps here.
When: Every day from 12:00 to 11:00 p.m.
Cost: Breakfast costs around €6 while a meal at another time of day will cost around €16. A whiskey will cost approximately €8.

8. The Kings Head

The Kings Head has been a popular Galway establishment since 1089. Inside, you can find free music every day of the week and occasionally even a comedian. It’s run by the Grealish family, who took over the pub in 1989.

This is one of the best pubs in Galway for food, which is excellent and made with local ingredients. The Grealish family combined The Kings Head with the Malt House Restaurant in 2003 and were able to expand their food menu.

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Inside, you’ll feel cosy and comfortable. Be sure to try The Kings Head’s own beer that is brewed at the Galway Hooker Brewery. They first started serving it a few years ago in 2018.

Where: The King’s Head is located in Galway’s Latin Quarter. Find it on Google Maps here.
When: Monday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Cost: Their food averages €12 while pints start at €4.

9. John Keogh’s Gastropub

John Keogh’s Gastropub recently opened in 2016, though it’s already a popular pub in the city. The pub has a very historical vibe inside, as it’s filled with lots of antiques, old books, and more. It feels super cosy and is filled with little nooks.

This is one of the best pubs in Galway for delicious food, which you can only purchase at night after 5 p.m. The menu is constantly changing, so it could be different if you visit twice in the same year. Main courses range from Irish lamb cutlets to fish & chips.

Inside, there are two different bars in addition to a room for parties. You can rent out the room for any event, no matter the occasion. Since this pub is newer, it’s not always as busy as some of the other pubs on this list.

Where: John Keogh’s Gastropub is located near The Claddagh and is right down the street from Monroe’s Tavern. Its exact location can be seen on Google Maps here.
When: Monday through Thursday 5:00 to 11:30 p.m., Friday 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Saturday 1:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Sunday 1:00 to 11:30 p.m.
Cost: The mains in the evening average approximately €18, while drinks cost on average around €6 and up.

10. The Quays

The Quays has been a popular pub in Galway for 400 years! It doesn’t look the same that it did all those years ago, though. It was recently renovated in the 1990s, but still has a very traditional pub theme inside with carved wood and stained glass.

At The Quays, you can find live trad music no matter what night it is. If you go upstairs, you’ll find a live music venue that is super popular on the weekends. This is also the perfect pub to come to if you’re looking to try some traditional Irish food.

Travellers of all ages will love The Quays, though it’s not as rowdy during the day. Even solo travellers will feel at home here and will be welcomed with a pint upon entering. It’s a favourite of locals and tourists.

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Where: The Quays is located right next to the River Corrib by the Latin Quarter. See its exact location here on Google Maps.
When: Every day 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Cost: Meals average around €15 depending on the time of the day and the menu ordered from, while beverages start around €6.

Now You Know The Best Pubs in Galway

During my trip to Galway, I was amazed at how many amazing pubs there were. I couldn’t even manage to visit every pub on this list, but some of my favourites are Murphy’s and O’Connell’s. I’m itching to go back to Galway to grab a pint at these places and listen to some more trad music!

Next time you plan a trip to Galway, you can’t miss out on these pubs. Even if you’re visiting with a family or if you’re a solo traveller, you’re sure to feel at home in one of them.

Visiting the pubs in Galway is such a great way to get introduced to the friendly locals of the city. Sláinte!

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