Galway’s Best Pubs: Music, Pints, and Irish Craic

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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 Galway’s best pubs. 

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.

Headed to Ireland? I’ve created a couple of super detailed Ireland itineraries based on my favourite routes, places, accommodations, restaurants, and more. You can find them for sale here.


Galway Latin Quarter

Roisin Dubh

The Roisin Dubh, which is Gaelic for Black Rose, is one of Galway’s best known pubs and famous for its live music scene. There a live shows every night of the week (along with the occasional comedy act) many of which are free. Without a doubt, this is a favourite when it comes to Galway’s best pubs. 

Address: 9 Dominick Upper Street. Open until 2am.

The Front Door/ Sonny’s

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.

Address: 8 Cross Upper Street. Open until: 2am

Tig Coili

A smaller, cozy Pub, Tig Coili 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. It’s one of Galway’s best pubs if you are looking for an authentic trad experience. 

Address: Mainguard Street. Open until: 11:30pm (Monday-Thursday) 12:30 (Friday) Closed Saturdays.

Galway's best pubs

Murphys Bar

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, this is your spot.

Address: 9 High Street. Open until 11:30pm (Monday-Thursday) 12:30am (Friday-Saturday) and 11pm Sunday

Freeney’s Bar

While it’s a popular spot for the locals, most tourists will walk right past Freeney’s; not even realizing it’s a pub. Their loss, 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 Galway without visiting Freeney’s.

Address: 19 High Street. Open until 11:30pm (Monday-Saturday) and 11pm (Sunday).

The Kings Head

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 classic when it comes to Galway’s best pubs. 

Address: 15 High Street, Galway. Open until 2am (Thursday-Saturday) 11pm (Sunday) 11:30pm (Monday-Wednesday)

Galways best pubs


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.

Address: Salthill House, Upper Salthill. Open until: 11:30pm (Sunday-Thursday) and 1am (Friday-Saturday).

The Quays

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.

Address: 11 Quay Street. Open until 2am (Monday-Saturday) and 12am on Sundays.

Galway's best pubs

The Dail

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.

Address: 42 Middle Street. Open until 12:30am (Sunday- Wednesday) and 2am (Thursday-Saturday).

 Garavan’s Bar

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 a few times a week.

Address: 46 William Street. Open until: 11:23pm (Monday-Thursday). 12:30am (Friday-Saturday), 12am (Sunday).

Tigh Neactain

A Galway classic, Tigh Neactain is another historic Galway pub and has been run by the same family for over 100 years. It attracts a diverse crowd and puts on some great live music shows, especially on Sunday night.

Address: 17 Cross Street. Open until: 11:30pm (Sunday-Thursday), 12:30am (Friday and Saturday). 

Galways best pubs

An Pucan

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.

Address: 11 Forster Street. Open until: 11:30pm (Monday-Thursday), 2am (Friday-Saturday), 11pm (Sunday).

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Galway's Best Pubs

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  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.  […]

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  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!

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