If you’re heading down South to the country’s “real capital," or just heading to Ireland in general, you simply have to step inside a traditional Irish pub. Despite the smoking ban, and a fairly hefty tax-rate on liquor sales, the Irish pub scene continues to thrive and features as largely as ever in modern Irish life.
Without further a-do then here are the top ten pubs in the city that you simply have to visit during your stay Southside, or vow to visit next time you find yourself down that part of the country.
The Franciscan Well, 14 North Mall
Famous among Corkonians for its delicious home-brewed beer, this place was voted Ireland’s Best Microbrewery in 2009, and for a country of beer-lovers, that’s a pretty big honor.
They make their own stout (Shandon Stout), ale (Rebel Red), and wheat beer (Friar Weisse) and regularly host club and society events in the summer. The covered outdoor patio is an ideal place to while away a summer’s evening, drinking your quaintly-titled Shandon Stout and enjoying the beginnings of your bar-hop through the city.
The Bodega, The Coal Quay
Since undergoing major renovations in 2009, this city-centre pub boasts of a new vibrancy and elegance that makes it one of the most popular late-night spots for the late-20s crowd in the city.
A varied and tasty lunch-menu is served at a reasonable price, and the place turns into a bustling nightclub at the weekends.
Salsa nights contribute to its slightly exotic feel. This is one of the city most bohemian-feeling venues.
Reardens, 26 Washington Street
Despite the often lengthy queues to get in, few leave Reardens either regretting the wait or as sober as they did when they got in the door. The place is teeming with life, pints (naturally) and music, making it one of the city’s most popular venues.
The place has a slightly old-school feel, but isn’t rooted in the past. A gig guide and upcoming events listings is also posted on the site, and many of the tribute bands are shockingly good.
The Castle Inn, North Main Street
This is a place that even most Corkonians wouldn’t recommend you set foot in, but is as integral a part of the city’s pub-life as college haunt An Brog.
Stepping inside the doors of The Castle Inn is like travelling back in time. Men who could have been pulled straight from the set of “The Field” populate the small room, snuff is still for sale (please try it), and customers are known on a first-name basis.
It’s one of only a handful of places within the city bounds that manage to feel and smell like a true country pub, which is as just about as wholesome and satisfying an experience as it is possible to get in Ireland.
Scotts on Caroline Street
Similar in respects to The Bodega, this is another sleek modern pub that is popular with the late-20s crowd.
During the October Jazz Weekend the place feels truly snazzy, with the eye-catching glass displays and gleaming polished counters adding a very Chicago-like feel to the haunt.
A little expensive, but a good place for a drink in that part of down.
An Brog, Oliver Plunkett Street
This is THE college pub in Cork City, the pub is populated almost exclusively by UCC students. Owing to its popularity with the college crowd, the pub offers great deals on pints and shots. Pints are often less than €3 before 10pm.
Service can be somewhat slow, but it’s an expected by-product of the bar’s popularity.
Quiz nights for college societies are often put on mid-week, which are probably best avoided unless you’re part of that society are truly care what country Montevideo is the capital of. However, most nights provide great drinks at a great price.
The Pavillion, Carey’s Lane
One of Cork’s most buzzing nightlife venues, known locally as “The Pav”, it’s hard to find fault with this venue. A spacious drinking area is complemented by an upstairs stage, and it’s a great place to go for a drink and a gig. A complete gig and events listing is posted on their website.
The Angler’s Rest, Carrigrohane
Cork’s most popular riverside beer-garden, the pub is located in the countryside not far from Cork City.
The availability of private function rooms makes this a popular corporate-lunch venue, but the place’s main function is as a favorite watering-hole and a popular venue for 21st and 18th birthday parties. A full dinner menu throughout the day makes this a good place for a bit of grub along with your pint as well.
Suas, North Main Street
Coming from the Irish word for ‘up’, Suas is one of the few pubs in the city with a roof-top beer garden from where patrons can look over the beautiful Cork skyline.
Drinks can be a little pricey, cocktails even more so, but it’s a popular place with young Corkonians, and is a necessary stop along the way to Patrick Street on your drinking odyssey around Cork.
Long Island, Washington Street
Without a doubt the best cocktail bar in the city, the place doesn’t excel on value but offers an impressive variety of cocktails.
The pub can be booked for corporate evenings and is a popular Friday boozing-spot for many city centre businesses after work. Expect to pay top-dollar (or Euro) for a mojito, but it’ll be worth it.