You can’t really stop in Dublin and not enjoy at least a few good meals and a pint or two. As promised last week, here are a few recommendations for trying and enjoying Irish beer, whiskey and food.
1. Guinness Storehouse — The Guinness Storehouse is a multi-story experience located next to the St. James Gate Brewery. Founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, the company eventually signed a 9,000 year lease for their property and became a mainstay in Dublin.
Even if you aren’t a beer drinker or a Guinness fan, this is still a pretty amazing exhibit of Irish history and the influence of the Guinness company in Dublin. Brett and I did the self-guided tour through five stories of beer making and advertising history. During the tour we had a chance to try a sensory tasting experience and learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness at the Guinness Academy.
We did a later afternoon tour and unfortunately the restaurants on the fifth floor were closed by the time we arrived but we did get a chance to head to Gravity Bar on the top floor for a drink. With floor to ceiling windows, the views of Dublin and the countryside are incredible.
If you do have Guinness lovers in your party, be warned, there are several places to purchase rare or limited release brews. There is also a large gift shop that will probably steal of bit of money from your wallet!
NOTE: If the Guinness Storeroom is on your list (and it really should be), book tickets ahead of time to save a bit of money and skip the ticket line. I’d recommend an 11 or 11:30 time slot and plan to have lunch on the fifth floor. You can add on extra experiences when you purchase a ticket, including a guided tour, and personalized Guinness pint glasses. There is a new experience that includes a drink at the old Guinness Power Station, now home to Roe & Co Whiskey Distillery, definitely on my list for our next visit!
2. Teeling Distillery — Teeling opened in 2015 and was the first new distillery to open in Dublin in 125 years. We visited Teeling in 2017, when they were still new and bit unknown. Since then, we’ve started seeing some of their bottles appear in our grocery story and local liquor stores.
We arrived at Teeling in time to enjoy a quick lunch in the Phoenix Cafe. It was a bit rainy that day, so having a chance to warm up with soup and tea was fantastic. I definitely recommend stopping in for a quick snack, if you have time.
Teeling guided tours come with Tasting Options. Anytime we have options, Brett and I usually get two different tastings so that we can share and try more. That’s exactly what we did at Teeling. At the end of the tour, the whole group sits down with their guide for a guided tasting of their whiskeys. Both of us had upgraded our tastings to the Teeling Trinity and the Teeling Select. The rest of our tour had kept to the tasting that is included in the tour, small batch whiskey tasting and a cocktail. The tastings were great and Brett and I enjoyed what we had, but it was a bit awkward as our guide had to walk us through different tastings than the rest of our group. If you upgrade, be prepared that you may have six to eight people watching you taste something they don’t have!
Note: If you like whiskey and are interested in seeing a smaller distillery, I do recommend a visit to Teeling, however, if you are just going to pick one whiskey experience while in Dublin, I’d save that for Jameson.
3. Jameson — Jameson was our favorite whiskey stop in Dublin. Since we had done a blending experience at the Irish Whiskey Museum and a distillery tour at Teeling, we opted for the Secret Tasting Experience at Jameson.
If you skipped Teeling or didn’t blend your own bottle of whiskey at the Irish Whiskey Museum, you might want to consider choosing The Bow Street Experience for a tour of the distillery or the Jameson Blending Experience. Your other options include combining the tour and a secret tasting or just the secret tasting.
What’s so special about this secret tasting? It’s done in J. Jameson’s private office. (Well, a very close replica to his private office as we were told the actual office doesn’t exist anymore). Brett and I lucked out for our Secret Tasting. Normally, that experience accommodates up to 18 guests at a time. Fortunately for us, we were the only 2. So we enjoyed a 4o minute private tasting in Jameson’s private office. This was one of the highlights of our visit to Jameson.
The other highlight, bottling our own bottle of Jameson Whiskey. At the Bow Street Distillery, they have a special whiskey that can only be purchased at that location and when you purchase it, you bottle it, write out the label and add your label’s number to the official book. That’s bit on the pricier side, but it was something we couldn’t pass up!
Before leaving make sure to stop by the bar for a seasonal cocktail creation. We tried the Pear and Blackcurrent Sour and the Cherry and Orange Sour and enjoyed both of them!
NOTE: Tickets are timed entry, I recommend purchasing ahead of time to guarantee the time slot that works best and to skip the ticket line.
4. The Brazen Head — If you are looking for an Irish pub, The Brazen Head definitely meets that description. It has been a pub, restaurant and at times also a hotel since 1198. The current building can be traced back to 1774. Revolutions planned by Robert Emmitt (1798) and Michael Collins (1916) were planned at The Brazen Head and authors, Behan and Joyce were frequent visitors.
We went to The Brazen Head for Food, Folklore and Faeries, a combination dinner, Irish Folklore and music event. This was absolutely a highlight of our trip. The program and dinner are held in an upstairs room at The Brazen Head. We were seated at a long table with several other parties and ended up meeting some very nice Norwegians sitting next to us. The evening started with a host introducing the program and sharing a few stories. Then as each course is served, we were treated to traditional Irish music. In between courses, more Irish folklore. If you are looking for something that gives you a good understanding of the more popular Irish legends or want to know why the Irish still preserve faerie mounds, this is the place to go! Good food, captivating story-telling and great music.
Note: This is a popular show in Dublin, it runs nightly March through December but you do need to book in advance.
5. Boxty House — We can’t wait to go back to Boxty. This meal was the best of our time in Dublin and maybe even our whole trip! Boxty is a type of potato pancake that is thin enough to wrap around other ingredients. So as you might guess, Boxty house, specializes in boxty and it is delicious. The also have other Irish specialties such as Colcannon and Champ, additional potato side dishes. The service was fantastic, the food was incredible and atmosphere was cozy.
Note: You can make a reservation on their site, I would recommend it, just to be sure you have your preferred dinning time. We went for dinner, but their breakfast and brunch menus look equally delicious.