If you’re in search of the best pubs in Kinsale, you’ve landed in the right place.
Kinsale is a fantastic place to visit. Steeped in history, with a whole host of things to see and do in and around the town, you could easily spend a week here while exploring Cork.
The town is also home to some of the best pubs in Ireland, and it’s hard to beat sinking a pint or 3 in one of them after a long day of exploring.
In the guide below, you’ll discover the best pubs Kinsale has to offer, from bars where you can kick-back with some live music to quiet pubs where you can chill in peace!
Our favourite pubs in Kinsale
The first section of this guide tackles our favourite Kinsale pubs, from the mighty Spaniard to the brilliant Lord Kingsale.
It’s here that you’ll also find the Bulman, which is arguably one of the best pubs in Kinsale for a pint with a view.
1. The Spaniard Inn
First up is possibly the best known of the many Kinsale pubs. I’m talking, of course, about the brilliant Spaniard Inn.
Rustic and oozing with charm, the Spaniard dates back to 1650 and is bursting with atmosphere. It’s a must for any pub lover, though it’s actually split into two main sections, the bar and the restaurant.
The former is a little more laid back and cosy, with sawdust on the floor and a crackling fireplace — conjuring up images of sailors drinking rum and singing shanties — while the latter is more formal and geared towards dining.
Having said that, you can get great food and drink in both sections, as well as the bustling outdoor seating areas that stretch around the exterior of the building.
The seafood and fish dishes are legendary, but there’s plenty more to choose from. Meanwhile, you’ll find a wide selection of beer, wine, and whiskey as well.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Kinsale (walks, beaches and much more)
2. The Bulman Bar
The Bulman is great for an atmospheric pint. The exposed brick walls and wooden beams, as well as the roaring fireplace and countless knick-knacks create a real buzz.
It’s just 10 metres from the ocean as well, so you’ll often find crowds of revelers sipping pints out on the stone wall outside, the sea splashing gently below.
The Bulman offers a great range of drinks, both local and international, with a brilliant wine selection.
The pub also houses Toddies Restaurant, which dishes up some amazing food, including sushi made from freshly caught seafood.
The Bulman is arguably the best/one of the best pubs in Kinsale for a pint with a view, as you’ll see from the photo on the right above!
3. Lord Kingsale
Packed full of olde-worlde charm, Lord Kingsale is a 250-year-old pub that’ll take you back in time as you step through the doors.
The crackle of the fireplace, the smell of roasting meat, the hubbub of locals, and the old stone walls and wooden beams all meld together to create an amazing atmosphere.
Ideal for a few pints, or a banquet of simple, good quality food, it’s been a favourite of mine since I first stepped in.
Evening entertainment ranges from live traditional music, poetry evenings, and folk nights, though you never know what’s in store! They also offer accommodation, with 10 cosy bedrooms.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Kinsale (from fine dining to cheap, tasty eats)
4. Jim Edwards
Another beautiful pub in Kinsale, Jim Edwards is a top choice if you’re looking for local beers, ciders, spirits, and even mead.
Besides core classics like Murphy’s and Guinness, you’ll find local craft beer and cider on tap and by the bottle, while local gin and whiskey can be enjoyed straight or mixed into a variety of cocktails.
The food is also locally sourced, with plenty of delicious fish dishes to choose from, as well as some traditional classics.
There’s a real nautical theme in this pub, although, with its central location in the town, I personally prefer to sip a few pints outside, watching life saunter by. The pub also offers accommodation, with some beautiful rooms on offer.
Kinsale pubs that host live music
Some of the previous pubs do often have music nights, but the following Kinsale pubs are renowned for live, and often impromptu, music sessions.
1. Kitty Ó Sé’s Bar and Restaurant
Kitty’s is a lively little pub with a friendly atmosphere and warm Irish welcome guaranteed. Inside is filled with all the knick-knacks you’d expect, and there’s plenty of nooks and crannies to huddle into for a pint or two.
They also serve good food, with classics like Irish stew and fish and chips. But the place really comes alive when the fiddles kick in and the music starts.
Every evening is music night in Kitty Ó Sé’s, with some of the best traditional bands in Cork regularly in attendance. It’s lively and the craic is authentic, and there’s no need to be shy about getting up to dance along.
2. The Folk House (one of the cosiest pubs in Kinsale)
The Folk House boasts one of the largest lineups of beers on tap in Kinsale, with offerings from across the globe, as well as a number of local breweries.
It’s not just about the beer though, and there’s plenty more to choose from if beer isn’t your poison, including cider, wine, whiskey, coffee and much more. They also offer a decent pub grub menu, and with their laid-back atmosphere it’s great for a late lunch.
The comfy couches, roaring fireplace, wooden floors, and brick and stone walls instantly blend together to create a welcome and relaxed atmosphere.
However, regular live music ensures that you’ll soon be on your feet doing a jig, and the Folk House is known for attracting some of the best bands in Ireland.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best beaches near Kinsale to have a ramble along this summer.
3. The White House Kinsale
The White House offers quality accommodation, a great restaurant, but most importantly, a bustling bar with plenty of live music.
It’s a huge pub, with areas that are exclusively for dining, but plenty of space for drinkers. The main bar is spacious, with numerous nooks in which to enjoy a quiet pint, while a sheltered courtyard provides a peaceful spot on a warm day.
A good range of drinks, including local craft beers, sit side by side with high quality food, with a focus on steaks and seafood dishes.
The main bar frequently plays host to a range of live bands, and while you’ll certainly enjoy some traditional Irish tunes, bands from across the globe often play in the bar.
4. Dalton’s Bar
Dalton’s is the epitome of a traditional Irish pub, and it’s one of the best in Kinsale. The beer flows as easily as the banter, while the flames of the fireplace cast dancing shadows upon the wood panelling.
Up at the bar you’ll generally find a friendly cluster of locals, though there are plenty of cosy tables and benches to sit at and enjoy a few pints if you’re looking for a little peace.
This is a proper drinking pub, so you won’t find much more than bar snacks on offer, but that’s part of its charm.
Most weekday nights see the bar come alive with music, as regular trad music sessions kick off, with the whole pub generally joining in. It fills up quickly, so if you want to secure a table, get there early and enjoy the craic.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best hotels in Kinsale (you’ll find many of the best hotels in Cork in this buzzy town!)
More pubs in Kinsale with 4/5 review scores on Google
Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? No worries, Kinsale isn’t short on quality watering holes!
1. Oscar Madisons
Sports enthusiasts will love Oscar Madisons, and it’s one of the best places in Kinsale to catch a wide array of sporting events.
Spacious and lively, wood dominates the decor, with natural wooden beams and barrels aplenty. There’s also plenty of space outside, with a bustling beer garden that’s extremely popular during summer.
It’s a drinking pub rather than a food joint, and while you’ll find bar snacks, you’ll need to go elsewhere for a more substantial feed. Fortunately, it sits among plenty of top quality restaurants.
2. The Grey Hound (the oldest of the many bars in Kinsale)
The Greyhound is said to be the oldest of the many pubs in Kinsale, with a license dating back to 1690. Once you step inside, you’ll feel the years peel away.
Candlelit, with roaring fireplaces, the rustic, yet cosy, snug bar is immediately inviting, and before you know it you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with the locals, ordering the first of many pints — or is that just me?
Expect a warm welcome, friendly service, a bustling atmosphere, and an incredible selection of local brews in this old school boozer.
Meanwhile, impromptu trad music sessions can spring up at any time, and soon enough the whole pub is heaving!
This is a brilliant, no-fuss spot that’ll make those of you in search of old-school Kinsale pubs with a buckets of character very happy.
3. The Dock Bar
The Dock Bar is another of the few mighty Kinsale pubs that tends to fly under the radar a bit, for some reason.
Tucked behind Kinsale Beach and James Fort, the Dock is outside of the hustle and bustle of the town centre.
Slightly off the beaten track, it offers the simple delights of a local pub, with a fantastic outdoor seating area that overlooks the marina.
It’s fairly peaceful compared to the town centre pubs, but not without atmosphere. There’s no food served here, but it really is a great place to unwind after taking in the local sights, or a day on the beach.
What Kinsale pubs have we missed?
I’m sure we’ve unintentionally missed out on some great Kinsale pubs in the guide above. Have a place you’d like to recommend?
Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll check it out! Cheers!
FAQs about the best Kinsale bars
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the best pubs in Kinsale for live music to which ones do the best food.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best pubs in Kinsale?
The Spaniard Inn, The Bulman Bar, Lord Kingsale and Jim Edwards are my favourite bars in Kinsale.
What Kinsale pubs are good for live music sessions?
Kitty Ó Sé’s, The Folk House, The White House and Dalton’s tend to run live music regularly.
Where can I enjoy a pint with a view in Kinsale?
It’s hard to beat the Bulman on a sunny day if you manage to nab one of the few seats that are plonked outside the entrance.
Wednesday 6th of April 2022
It's been many years since I've been to Kinsale. What a wonderful place! There was a pub called something like The Monk's Library. I had one of the best times of my life there. Rugby fans with their team colors and cork black marks on their faces...great time!!!