Christmas means overindulgence, and everyone needs to relax after hauling shopping bags around town, and being in Dublin, you’ll have no trouble finding somewhere to park yourself for a drink and a chat. The Stag’s Head and Sweeney’s face each other on Dame Lane, which sparkles with the magic of Christmas, illuminating the people that mill outside, chatting and buzzing with the thrill of the festive season.

If you want to escape the madness of town, head up Camden Street, with its motley combinations of trendy eateries, ethnic food stores, pound shops and top-notch watering holes such as Anseo and The Bernard Shaw.

If you fancy a more unusual way to quench your thirst, check out the Bison Bar, where there’s always plenty whiskey in the jar, or L. Mulligan Grocer with its selection of bijou boutique beers and ales. For a quiet drink, walk past Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland to The Long Hall or Doyle’s.

For a traditional Christmas treat, a beverage in the Central Hotel’s Library Bar will have you feeling more Christmassy than Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve. Tradition is also the name of the game when it comes to having a drink in old literary haunt Grogan’s, or in the historical Sackville Lounge.

Doyles indulges your penchant for bellowing Wham’s classic ‘Last Christmas’ while making up for your lack of good taste by also giving you the opportunity to rock out to Metronomy. Two-tier Doyles offers worlds of fun. Downstairs is a world of bantering conversations with your mates and slowly sipped pints, whereas upstairs is home to a dancefloor packed as tightly as a tin of sardines with dancing lunatics.
Doyle’s, 8/9 College Street, Dublin 2.
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Stepping into the Long Stone is like stepping into the painting of Strongbow and Aoife’s wedding, but in pub form. Its warm Celtic gaudiness is the perfect antidote to the cold, dark December nights. The warmth – both temperature and welcome-wise will blast you away. Hide from the cold, wind and belligerent Christmas shoppers in this pub; probably the closest thing to Tir na N’Og in the city!
The Long Stone, 10 Townsend Street Dublin, Co. Dublin City
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The people at L. Mulligan Grocer know a thing or two about patience, and delayed gratification. They hunt down fine craft beers, have a heaving selection of over 200 whiskeys and stock David Lewellyn cider imported all the way from Wales, which is quite exotic considering their dedication to Irish breweries, stocking O’Hara’s, Galway Hooker and Molly’s Chocolate Stout.
L. Mulligan Grocer, 18 Stoneybatter Dublin 7
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You’ve probably never frequented Santa’s sitting room, but if you did, it would probably be like this. You half expect to see Bing Crosby parked in front of the blazing fire and adorable, expectant children shaking parcels under the Christmas tree. If there’s ever a time to indulge in finely spiced Mulled Wine, it’s in this evocative and old-fashioned bar, sunk into the armchairs, and away from the madness of the season.
Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin, Ireland
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If you had wise Grandparents, you’ll know that a Hot Toddy will ward off the sniffles that come with the icy months of December and January. The Bison Bar, which sits on the banks of the Liffey, is a specialist Whiskey bar, and therefore the ideal place to sip at a ‘medicinal’ Hot Toddy. Even if you’re not a whiskey fan, you can enjoy the daring hunting lodge style interior, replete with stools made out of saddles.
Bison Bar, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2.
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The Stag’s Head is particularly magical at Christmas, upstairs being a fairylight-lit den and downstairs a cosy arrangement of people drinking pints of the Black stuff, if you’re hard enough. It is situated on buzzing Dame Lane; a kind of secret lane that separates the people in the know from the people getting crushed on Dame Street. If you like a good time with a bevy or two, this is the haunt for you!
1 Dame Court, Dublin 2
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Grogan’s might be familiar from Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds, where the hero spends money he doesn’t have on a pint or three in this Castle Market stalwart. You’ll find the gene puddle of Dublin life here, ladies who lunch, surrounded by Brown Thomas bags enjoying a drink next to a plumber who’s come straight from a job to on the lash, Guinness in hand.
15 South William St, Dublin
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The Bernard Shaw is so laid-back there’s a big ole bus in the yard and street artists doing their aerosol thing on the walls. With a huge smoking area that feels like an homage to Trench Town and a bar pumping alternative music, DJs spinning tunes and often with an exhibition adorning the walls, you’ll want to make that afternoon beverage into a full-blown night out!
12 Richmond St S Dublin, Co. Dublin
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Anseo is a mad den of iniquity located on Camden Street…With frequent comedy nights, you’ll often find a familiar face telling a few cutting edge jokes upstairs or even propping up the bar. It’s always a handy stop-off point after a meal down the gastro-nirvana that is Camden/Wexford Street; chatty bar staff and a chilled crowd ensure a good time to be had.
18 Camden Street Lower, Dublin
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Sweeney’s, with its walls illustrated like an old edition of Peter Pan, isn’t just a colourful, laid-back bar, but also a top-notch spot for live music. Follow the sound and you’ll find all sorts of genres being explored – folk, rock, heavy metal, you name it. Join the cool kids at the front of the bar; and get into the groove while sipping on a bottle of Lager.
32 Dame St, Dublin 2
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The Sackville Lounge is the perfect place to enjoy the St. Stephen’s Day horseracing or to yell obscenities at a TV screen. This hide-away from the shopping district is filled with all sorts; locals, visitors, local visitors; and if you don’t come away without at least an amusing anecdote, you’ve definitely missed a trick!
16 Sackville Pl, Dublin 1
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Feel the warm, worn carpet underfoot in The Long Hall for a hot port where you can admire the decadent wall of spirits and keep your eye out for their framed beer mat collection of Dublin’s most famous pubs.
51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 1
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