Cork is a good city to visit when it comes to going out for a drink or two – it’s got a compact city centre that leaves you free to try lots of different bars without worrying about taxis or night buses to get you back to your hostel or hotel. To that end, here’s IrishJaunt’s ten-step guide to the best bars in Cork City – everything from old man pubs to gastropubs to nightclubs.
1. The Best Sports Bar
Reardens, Washington Street
If you’re looking for a place to watch the match on the big screen, then Reardens is definitely the place to go. They show all the big GAA, soccer and rugby games, plus there’s a nice traditional feel to the place that never hurts a pub’s atmosphere.
More options: The Rob Roy, Cook Street; the Mardyke, Sheares Street.
2. The Best Old Man Bar
The Welcome Inn, Parnell Place
This bar has everything you would expect in an old-style pub: it’s tiny, full of wood, hosts plenty of regular barstool characters and and is decked out in old photos of the city.
More options: Cissie Young’s, Bandon Road; Dennehys, Cornmarket Street; the Hi-B Bar, Oliver Plunkett Street.
3. The Best Bar For Foodies
Bodega, Coal Quay
Nestled in a former market building that dates back to 1843, the Bodega styles itself as the city’s most elegant venue for drinking, eating and dancing. It’s got lots of great menu options you won’t find in too many places in the city such as Spanish tapas, gourmet salads, a few dozen wines and even a cheese plate. There’s also a nice selection of open sandwiches and a design-your-own burger.
4. The Best Bar For Trad Music
An Spailpin Fanac, South Main Street
Located opposite the former Beamish brewery, this very old pub is one of the best spots in the city for Irish traditional music. Dating back as far as 1779, ‘the Spailpin’ has got live music from Sunday to Thursday in cosy surroundings with a simple wooden bar, exposed brick walls and open fireplaces.
More options: An Brog, Oliver Plunkett Street; Counihans, Pembroke Street.
5. The Best Bar For Live Music
Cyprus Avenue, Caroline Street
This venue regularly hosts the best of the Irish music scene plus the occasional international artist. Ticket prices are reasonable, ranging anywhere from free to about €20. Locals usually warm up for the gig at the Old Oak pub next door.
6. The Best Beer Pub
The Bierhaus, Popes Quay
This brew pub has more than 70 different world beers to choose from, including Staropramen, Hoegaarden, Krombacher and regular monthly specials.
More options: Franciscan Well Brewery, North Mall.
7. The Best Cocktail Bar
Suas, South Main Street
If want stylish drinks in a classy setting, then this rooftop bar with views of the city and ultra-modern décor is the place for you. Mojitos and Caiprinhas are around €8.
More options: The Long Island bar, Washington Street; SoHo, Grand Parade.
8. The Best Bar For Dancing
The Savoy Theatre, Patrick Street
This is probably the city’s biggest club, with the main area holding up to 1,000 clubgoers. Resident DJs and themed clubnights regularly draw crowds to the three-roomed venue, which also hosts live music and other performances.
9. The Best Hotel Bar
The Weir Bar, Jurys Cork Hotel, Western Road
The recently-revamped Jurys Cork Hotel is now a modern four-star hotel boasting a classy riverside bar, complete with outdoor seating on decking right by the Lee. If you’re after late late drinks, you will probably get them if you’re a guest here.
10. The Best Dive Bar
The Quad, Tuckey Street
This dingey pub has all the top characteristics of a great dive bar: low lighting, loud music, dodgy drunks in leather jackets and more patrons smoking outside than sitting inside.
By Bill Lehane