There's more to Dublin than Guinness: Join the locals for new riffs on whiskey cocktails and dancing until the wee hours.
6 P.M. Rooftop Toast
The Dean Hotel’s style is so dialed-in that even your minifridge—a vintage-inspired, sherbet-orange number stocked with local Fulcrum beer—is a talking point. Save the brew for later and head for Sophie’s, the hotel’s buzzing rooftop restaurant and bar with views of Dublin chimneys and the countryside beyond. Snag a spot on the patio and nurse a coconut water–laced Whiskey Swizzle while the crowd around you slowly builds.
Photo courtesy of The Dean
7 p.m. Dinner and a Show
For the city’s best meal, head across town to Forest Avenue, where chef John Wyer runs his forward-thinking restaurant in an open kitchen. Ask for a table near the action to watch while Wyer prepares your five-course tasting menu, from house-made breads to rabbit agnolotti with peas, salsa verde, and whey. And trust us, you want the international wine pairings, too.
Photo courtesy of Forest Avenue
9:30 p.m. Modern Tinctures
It’s a 10-minute ride from Forest Avenue to South Great Georges Street, where you’ll find most of the action at night—and Dublin’s newest cocktail spot. The brick-lined Chelsea Drugstore is no longer a pharmacy but rather a low-lit watering hole serving cocktails with names that nod to the building’s history. Try the pleasantly herbal Henry’s Elixir, made with a mix of gin, chartreuse, and minty Strega.
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Drugstore
11 p.m. Time to Dance
Cross the River Liffey to Wigwam, a North Side venue with multiple personalities. During the day, locals come by for flat whites from Vice Coffee and beard trims at Boxcutter Barbershop. Early evening is time for burgers and tastes from the 100-strong rum list. But the space really fills during weekly Saturday night socials, when indie bands stop by or DJs play a mix of soul and funk music. No need to BYO bling. There’s a tiny stand that sells glittery glasses, party-ready wigs, and sailor hats from 10:30 on.
Photo courtesy of Wigwam
1:30 a.m. One Final Stop
Back on the South Side, House is close enough to the Dean that you can walk back whenever sleep calls. But fight that feeling for a while. You need time to find the room that’s right for you in the labyrinthine bar, which occupies two connected Georgian townhouses. Sip one of 39 varieties of local whiskey in, say, the garden beneath olive and citrus trees, or maybe the sultry Red Room, where DJs play until dawn on Fridays and Saturdays.
Photo courtesy of House
The Next Morning
The Irish swear by one trusty hangover cure: a plunge in the icy Irish Sea. Follow the locals to the Forty Foot, a scenic nook on the coast eight miles south of the city where stalwarts take frosty dunks year-round. Steps carved into stone lead into a deep pool surrounded by basalt outcrops. Get in and under quickly, then immediately swim a few strokes to keep warm. Your headache? Banished.
From JFK, you have seven uninterrupted hours before landing in Dublin to devote to The Little Red Chairs, a hypnotic new novel from 85-year-old Irish writer Edna O’Brien. The story starts with a stranger settling in a small Irish town and slowly intruding into the lives of several locals, including Fidelma, an unhappily married woman. Fidelma takes the stranger as her lover only to discover too late that he is a Balkan War criminal. In clear, unstinting prose, O’Brien traces Fidelma’s grim fall and slow redemption. —Vince Cosgrove