Dublin is well-known as a city of music. U2, The Script, Thin Lizzy, Sinead O’Connor, Hozier and many more world-famous musicians learnt their craft in many of the bars and live music venues around the city.
Places like Croke Park, The Aviva Stadium and The 3 Arena play host to large international acts and are great venues but we thought we’d tell you about seven smaller venues that are just as good if not better.
(*the words in bold are explained at the bottom of the text)
The International Bar – Folk/Jazz/Singer-Songwriter – City Centre, Dublin 2
This small bar close to City Language School has been famous as a place for both live music and comedy. In the 1990’s this was the centre of a singer-songwriter renaissance where people like Glen Hansard and Damien Rice would regularly try new material. These days you will find singer-songwriter nights, poetry nights and jazz.
The Mezz – Rock – Temple Bar, Dublin 2
This is a favourite of Brazilians here in Dublin. Many of the nights here involve cover bands but occasionally you will find bands playing their own material and you will rarely get a bad gig. It is sweaty and sticky but it is usually great fun and there is always a good atmosphere.
Whelan’s – Rock/Folk/Jazz/Singer-Songwriter – Wexford Street, Dublin 8
This is probably Dublin’s most famous small venue and a place where many famous people play in if they want to play a nice small gig. Ed Sheeran played here recently (see above) and so too Regina Spektor. It is always worth keeping an eye on their listings to see who is on.
Admission: €10 – €25
The Cobblestone – Traditional Irish Music – Stoneybatter, Dublin 1
Some people say this pub is older than Dublin. That’s probably not true but we do know that every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday people come here and play ‘Trad’ (Traditional Irish Music). This is a classic Irish pub and one of the best places in Dublin to hear this kind of music.
The Workmans Club – Indie Rock – City Centre, Dublin 2
Open over seven years now, The Workmans Club has become one of the city’s most serious venues for up and coming acts from around the world. If it’s young and trendy and coming to Dublin, it will pass through here. Ticket prices are usually good value and the venue itself is small but super-cool. The main hall holds just 300 people but there are several bars to settle into and a great rooftop terrace. This place recently won Hot Press/IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Award and deserved it.
Admission: €6 – €12
The Bowery – Indie Rock/Rock – Rathmines, Dublin 6
This venue is a little outside of the city centre in Rathmines but it’s great that this part of the city has a regular music venue. It is famous for its cover bands and its cheesy decor – it looks like the inside of a pirate ship. You will need to check the listings before you go.
Admission: FREE – €20
The Grand Social – Indie Rock/Pop/Rock – City Centre, Dublin 1
The Grand Social’s main stage looks like a circus but the people who run this venue are no clowns. An eclectic mix of rising stars, cover bands and people coming out of retirement.
Admission: FREE – €20
try new material = play new songs and see if people like them.
cover band = a band that plays music by other, usually more famous, bands.
gig = concert
sweaty and sticky = hot with lots of people and a little bit dirty
venue = a place where something happens
listings = dates of gigs
classic = always great
up and coming = becoming famous
the main hall holds just 300 people = 300 people can fit in here
cheesy decor = decorated with a theme (that isn’t very good)
are no clowns = are not stupid