The Best Pubs in Galway: Music, Pints, and Irish Craic

This post likely contains affiliate links. By booking through these links I may make a small commission (which I am very grateful for!) at no extra cost to you.

Anyone who’s been to Ireland knows that as amazing as Dublin’s pubs may be, the real craic is in Galway. Sure, I may be biased as Galway was once a place that I called home, but I’m not alone in my thoughts. Even the locals agree that Galway’s craic is top notch, with many of them choosing to spend their weekends or holidays in Ireland’s famous west coast town to drink at some of the best pubs in Galway. 

Traditional music, great beer, and friendly locals all add to the draw of Galway’s nightlife. But another huge factor, especially important to solo female travellers in Ireland, is that Galway has been awarded the purple flag; crediting the city for its vibrant, diverse, but most importantly, safe nightlife.

Convinced? Then here are Galway’s best pubs for good pints, great music, and authentic Irish craic.

Galway Latin Quarter

Roisin Dubh

Address: 9 Dominick Upper Street

The Roisin Dubh, which is Gaelic for Black Rose, is a staple when it comes to Galway pubs and is known for its live music and comedy acts. There a live shows every night of the week, many of which are free. The Roisin Dubh brings both national and international acts and is known not just as one of the best pubs in Galway, but also one of the best pubs in all of Ireland. Without a doubt, this The Roisin Dubh is a must-visit when visiting Galway. 

The Front Door/ Sonny’s

Address: 8 Cross Upper Street

Five bars, two floors, and an outdoor area? The Front Door is MASSIVE and can accommodate about 500 people on its busiest nights. It’s most popular with a younger crowd, and a DJ takes over later in the evening making it more of a club than traditional pub scene. Still, its a good place to dance, and they offer great food until 9pm.

Tig Choili

Address: Mainguard Street

A smaller, cozy Pub, Tig Choili is another well-known pub in Galway’s city centre. If you are looking for a place to experience traditional Irish music, this is where to come. A good mix of both locals and tourists come to spend some time here. Big Choili is one of the best pubs in Galway if you are looking for an authentic trad experience. 

Galway's best pubs

Murphys Bar

Address: 9 High Street

If The Front Door feels like a club, then the best way to descrive Murphys Bar would be as an Old Man’s bar. But don’t let that stop you, it may be small (really small, actually) and cozy, but if you are looking for a quiet(er) spot to enjoy a pint and meet the locals, then this is your spot.

Freeney’s Bar

Address: 19 High Street

While it’s a popular spot for the locals, most tourists will walk right past Freeney’s; not even realizing it’s a pub. It’s their loss though because Freeney’s is part of the Irish Whisky Trail and has over 50 different Irish whiskeys to choose from. If you’re a whisky fan, don’t leave Ireland without visiting this Galway pub. 

The Kings Head

Address: 15 High Street, Galway

A Galway classic known for its morbid history which, you guessed it, involves a king losing his head. This pub can trace its history back over 800 years, but today is known as a great spot to grab a pint and listen to the live music. The Kings Head also make amazing beer battered fish and chips (along with other pub fare) served all day long. Without a doubt, it’s a favourite when it comes to Galway’s best pubs. 

Galways best pubs

O’Connors

Address: Salthill House, Upper Salthill. 

O’Connors, which is in Salthill rather than Galway proper, is probably the most famous pub in Galway. It brands itself as being the first singing pub in the country. Whether this is true or not is up to debate, but it’s absolutely worth a visit with great pints, and good music. It’s also where Ed Sheeran filmed part of the video for his song, Galway Girl.

The Quays

Address: 11 Quay Street 

The Quays (pronounced ‘Keys’) is one of Galway’s prettiest pubs with stained glass and Gothic additions that were imported from a medieval church in France. It’s very popular with tourists, but locals and other Irish from around the country will stop in as well. There’s often music here but expect it to get incredibly busy, especially during the summer months.

Galway's best pubs

The Dail

Address: 42 Middle Street

A newer pub in the city, The Dail was opened in 2008 by the same man that owns The Front Door. Like The Front Door, The Dail attracts a younger crowd and has a DJ on the second floor giving it a more club like feel at night. Even if that’s not quite your scene, stop by for a meal during the day; they serve up some great food.

 Garavan’s Bar

Address: 46 William Street

Another traditional style pub, Garavan’s, like Freeney’s, is also on the Whisky Trail. It’s won the title of Irish Whisky Bar in the year from 2014-2017 for the Connacht region. A family style pub, it has more of a laid back and friendly atmosphere that attracts locals and tourists alike. Live music sessions happen here a few times each week.

Tigh Neactain

Address: 17 Cross Street

A Galway classic, Tigh Neactain is another historic Galway pub and has been run by the same family for over 100 years. The history alone makes it a great fit for the list of best pubs in Galway. Tig Neactain attracts a diverse crowd and puts on some great live music shows, especially on Sunday night.

Galways best pubs

An Pucan

Address: 11 Forster Street

Recently redesigned, An Pucan now has two live music stages. It was originally best known for its traditional music, which can still he heard during the evenings. However, on late nights there are often cover bands or DJs making it one of the best pubs in Galway for music lovers. 

Galway is full of pubs but as someone who lived in the city for awhile and goes back regularly, I would argue that these are the best pubs in Galway. 

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Please do not travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to use it multiple times throughout my travels and it has saved me thousands of dollars. You can learn more about travel insurance here. If you are looking for a provider I love and recommend SafetyWing. For Canadian readers, take a look at SoNomad.

Book your accommodation

I love and recommend booking.com for accommodation. They have a range of hostels, guesthouses, hotels, and resorts. Plus, the platform has a great loyalty program that means the more you book, the more you can save. 

Book your tours

My go-to tour provider that I love to recommend is GetYourGuide. They have options all over the world and partner with local companies for everything from day trips to food experiences and even airport transfers. 

Get connected

If you want to have data while travelling for online maps or any other needs, an esim is one of the easiest solutions. I’m a big fan of Airalo and have used their sim cards around the world from Brazil to Uzbekistan, Greece to the USA. It’s really easy- you download the app, pick what country you want an esim for, and after you purchase it follow the installation instructions. You can use promo code HANNAH3326 to save $3USD on your next esim purchase. 

Not sure what to pack?

I have destination-specific guides for some countries but you can also check my travel essentials and camera gear if you are looking for some ideas. 

Looking for a travel buddy?

Check out my group trips!

Galway's Best Pubs

22 Comments

  1. Katherine on May 18, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Great post! When I lived there (once upon a time) my personal favourites were Tigh Neactain and Monroe’s!

    • Hannah Logan on May 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Good picks 🙂 Galway is such an awesome city to live in for awhile for the pub scene haha.

  2. Sarah Shumate on May 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    We spent a day in Galway while we were visiting County Clare in Ireland and it was such a fun town! It was so much bigger than I was expecting after spending a week in smaller Irish villages! We didn’t get to try out any pubs here, though. Luckily we found some good ones where we were staying. There really is no better way to end the day in Ireland than in a pub listening to traditional Irish music!

    • Hannah Logan on May 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Thats the good thing about pubs… they really are everywhere, even in the small towns!

  3. Meg | MeanderWithMeg on May 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I would hazard a guess that you had a lot of fun researching this post! I’d love to visit Ireland one day. It’s my dream to bust out the camper van and do a road trip. Glad to see I will discover plenty of watering holes along the way!

    • Hannah Logan on May 20, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Haha well living there for awhile plus lots of return visits made this an easy write 😉 I’m surprised I didn’t do it sooner!

  4. Karen on May 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Galway looks like SUCH fun! I really want to visit Ireland in the near future and I’d love to see the awesome nightlife. 🙂

    • Hannah Logan on May 20, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Its an amazing city and a must see when in Ireland!

  5. Jill at Reading the Book on May 20, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Great post! You can’t go to Ireland and not hit the pub/live music scene! Thanks for these suggestions… ?

    • Hannah Logan on May 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Hope they come in handy for you at some point 😉

  6. Cheryl Howard on May 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    This guide is great! Saving for future reference as I’d really love to spend time in Ireland someday. 🙂

    • Hannah Logan on May 22, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      I hope you get there- such an awesome country!

  7. hopefray on July 19, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve only been to The Kings Head so far (O’Connell wouldn’t let us in as we are under 23), so that you for all the other recommendations. I still have a couple of days left in this beautiful city. I’m a lucky girl at the moment 🙂

  8. […] For some of the best pubs in Dublin check out this post. Or, for some of my favourites in Galway, check this list.  […]

  9. […] St. Patrick’s day just around the corner I’m daydreaming of Ireland. While Galway was my home, I have a definite affinity with Dublin. Sure, it’s more touristy, but it’s a hell […]

  10. […] Galway’s Best Pubs  […]

  11. […] (aside from visa limitations) but I know I’ll feel the same. After all, it was living abroad in Galway, Ireland that kick-started my travel obsession, and as much as I adore that Irish city, I still […]

  12. Gerri on October 16, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Great article! I’ve just booked my very first solo-adventure and will be spending my birthday in Galway in June 2019… now to choose which one to start in!!!!

    • Hannah Logan on October 18, 2018 at 12:40 am

      Ahh you will have such a good time! Check in the weeks before to see who has what going on for the night and plan around that 🙂

  13. Beth on December 21, 2019 at 12:21 am

    My boyfriend and I we’re just in Ireland in October, which happens to be a great time to visit- less crowded. We had dinner at the King’s Head and loved it Galway was one of our favorite places we visited Can’t wait to go back ❤️

    • Hannah Logan on December 21, 2019 at 10:18 am

      I was there in October again too, though the weekend before the Halloween so for the Macnas parade which was chaos. But still fun 🙂 gad you loved it as much as I do!

Leave a Comment





Dreaming of Adventure?

Sign up to the Eat Sleep Breathe Travel mail list and stay up to date with all the latest travel tips and stories.