Travel Advice

Irish Pub Etiquette | Dos and Don’ts

Whether you’re a seasoned pub-goer, a tourist or a first-timer with bumfluff on your upper lip, there’s something in this list for you. Have a read, and please consider some of the points from the Irish Pub Etiquette manual.


Say hello to the regulars

The old men sitting on stools in a country bar are like the shareholders of a company, so don’t ignore them. A simple nod will do, but a chat about the weather wouldn’t go astray. Remember, get the regulars on your side and you’ll get away with a lot more. You might even receive the coveted invitation for a lock-in.

Tommy might seem grumpy, but he’ll chat away to you.

Try something other than Guinness (tourists)o

The only people I ever see drinking Guinness are old men and Spanish Au pairs. Guinness is lovely, and you should drink it. It tastes a lot better in Ireland than anywhere else.

But Ireland has so many great beers and stouts for you to try. If you’re a tourist, try a local beer, there’s more to life than Guinness. In Cork, there’s Rebel Red, and all over Ireland you can get Smithwicks, Bulmers, Murphys and Bushmills.

Give them a try!

Grab the first stool you see

There’s no one gonna usher you to a table, so grab a stool, sit down and skull your pint. If you’re by yourself,  it might be better leave the tables for groups and sit at the bar. Its very easy to strike up a conversation with one of the old boys at the bar. Ask them did they sell any cattle over the weekend, conversation sorted. (Note: Obviously this won’t get you anywhere in Dublin)

You have to ruthless when it comes to bar stools. Don’t even surrender it to a pregnant woman. She shouldn’t be in a pub anyway.

Know what you’re getting when you stand at the bar

“Ammmmmmm…. Era…. I’ll….. Do ye have Smithwicks?” This is the longest you should take when ordering a pint, any longer and the bartender wants to throw it in your face. Its fine to say “give me a minute, I’ll let you know,” just try not to string them along while you agonise on this very important decision.


Ask for a pint, not half a pint

The entire pub will lose all respect for you if you ask for a glass instead of a pint. I know if you think about it, you wouldn’t sit around drinking five pints of water, but don’t think about it too much. This is beer, you can handle a big boy glass. Girls, you get a pass, but most Irish girls drinks pints too.

Respect the bouncer

Don’t try to be their friend, most of them don’t want to chit-chat. Just have your ID ready and be ready to confirm your date of birth. Bouncers are the guardians of the sesh, so stay on their good side and you’ll have a good night.

Vary your Jukebox requests

Youngfellas, you don’t only listen to Duke Dumont, so throw a few different genres into the jukebox. We turned a local pub into a rave one night and it’s fair to say the regulars hated us that night. And the barman hated us too because we upset his shareholders. So throw a few Bob Dylan songs in between Nina Kraviz and Tchami, and you’ll get away with it.


Steal Pints/Minesweeping

To bartenders this is unforgivable and may even get you barred. I don’t care if its been unattended for half an hour, it’s not yours. The bar needs to make money, and they can tidy up unattended drinks without your help.

Mess with the girls/lads behind the bar

I’ve seen lads leaning over the bar, phone in hand, trying to get a phone number. Think about it from her point of view. She’s sober, trying to pull three pints, and she has to deal with some lad with sudden liquid courage trying to blag her number. If you’ve made eyes at each other or talked, then maybe. But probably not. There’s probably plenty of girls in there to socialise, but she’s there to work.

Suggest rounds if you’re planning on ‘getting tired’ when it’s your turn

The only thing worse than a friend who constantly borrows money without paying you back is a friend who turns up at the pub with no intention of paying for anything. He’ll suggest rounds only to suddenly disappear when it’s his turn. Tight fecker.

Wait a second, where’s Dave gone?

Bring food into the pub without asking

Even if the pub doesn’t serve food, it’s not worth trying to sneak food in. Chances are the staff will have no problem with it. If you ask that is. Your relationship with your bartender should be one of trust and love and small talk about how busy the bar is.

Don’t do drugs in the toilet

The barman doesn’t care about your statistics on alcohol related deaths, or how Babylon should just low di herb. The pub owners can get in serious trouble with the guards if there are drugs being done on their premises. So be considerate of the owners, and people who are dying for the toilet.

If you’re American, don’t tell us you’re Irish

I don’t care if your great great grandmother was from Connemara. First of all, I don’t know her. Yes I’m sure. You’re pronouncing her surname impressively wrong. And it doesn’t really make you Irish. It is flattering that so many people want to be Irish, but, although its hard to believe, we’re not perfect.

And there you have it, just some useful tips on the Dos and Don’ts of Irish pubs. If you’re a tourist, don’t worry too much. We’ll forgive you if you forget a few don’ts. I’ll see you tonight for ‘ one quiet pint.’



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