If you’re in search of the best pubs in Ballsbridge in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.
However, there’s also plenty of ‘new’ thrown in with the ‘old’, for those of you that prefer a more polished type of pub.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the brilliant Paddy Cullen’s and the very popular Searson’s to The Bridge and more.
Our favourite pubs in Ballsbridge
The first section of this guide is packed with our favourite Ballsbridge pubs. These are places that one or more of The Irish Road Trip Team have been to, and have loved.
These are, for the most part, old-school pubs (the Horse Shoe is an exception!) that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
1. Paddy Cullen’s Pub
Let’s start with Paddy Cullen’s, one of Dublin’s most renowned traditional pubs and the only local in Ballsbridge with an open fire. Along with the sister pub, Mary Mac’s, this Ballsbridge institution on Merrion Road is just minutes from the city centre.
Local artworks, caricatures, sporting memorabilia and hunting pictures line the wood-panelled walls and extend onto the ceiling for lack of space. However, this unique gallery creates a local ambience and sense of history that other sports bars lack.
The building started in 1791 as the home of Fagan Brothers Whiskey Bonders and is now a top spot for traditional food (from breakfast to dinner) and tasty drinks in friendly surroundings.
2. Horse Show House
Further along Merrion Road is Horse Show House, a friendly pub with a lovely beer garden and an upstairs function room. It’s the largest pub in Ballsbridge and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
It serves wonderful Irish food in smart surroundings that include 7 flatscreen TVs and a large-screen for big sporting occasions. Take a seat at the polished wood bar or gather around the tables for a wee chat.
Order a selection of small plates to share such as scrumptious Beef Brisket Fries with Truffle Mayo. Fish, burgers, pizzas and steak all feature on the mouthwatering menu.
Related read: Check out our guide to 10 of the finest restaurants in Ballsbridge (from fine dining to cheap and tasty eats)
The traditional frontage and timeless, well-stocked bar at Searsons on Upper Baggot Street make this a must-see if you’re visiting south Dublin. It’s a lovely pub that’s reputed to do some of the best Guinness in Dublin.
Their award-winning food includes Roaring Bay Mussels in white wine cream with toasted sourdough. It’s divine! Searsons is a big pub that attracts a full house when sports matches are playing at neighbouring Aviva Stadium.
They even have coloured lighting around the bar adding to the atmosphere! Sundays see a change of pace with a jazz ensemble to accompany brunch. If you’re looking for Ballsbridge pubs that are perfect for watching a match, you won’t go wrong here.
4. The Bridge 1859
Just a stone’s throw from the River Dodder, Aviva Stadium and RDS events venue, The Bridge 1859 is an award-winning gastropub in central Ballsbridge.
Owned by four well-known Rugby players including Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip, it recently netted nationwide acclaim as Overall Best Sports Bar in the National Hospitality Awards.
It’s a smart place to relax with friends, sip your favourite pint or cocktail and order up some tasty food while you’re at it. Fish and chips, hot rolls, crepes and bar bites are prepared fresh to order and are the ideal accompaniment while you’re watching The Match.
5. The Old Spot
The Old Spot on Bath Ave has a rack of Irish Restaurant Awards for Best Gastro Pub in Ireland and Best Manager in Dublin, so you’re in for a treat here. It’s also recommended in the Michelin Eating Out Pubs Guide every year since 2016.
It’s secret to success is the young and hardworking team that produce delicious food, fine wine, craft beer and great service in this friendly bar.
They offer an Express Lunch for city workers grabbing a break as well as Mains, Pub Classics and A La Carte menus. All this and a friendly fully stocked bar too!
Other great Ballsbridge pubs (and ones a short walk away)
The next section of our guide is packed with Ballsbridge pubs that are worth nipping into along with several nearby pubs worth walking to.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the excellent Ryan’s of Beggars Bush to the very old-school Smyths of Haddington Road (a peach of a pub, this one!).
1. Ryan’s of Beggars Bush
Since 1916, Ryan’s of Beggars Bush has been serving the best Guinness in D4, according to locals. Relax in the snug, sit up at the bar, or find a seat on the terrace and enjoy the whole experience.
Named after the nearby barracks, the first pub on the site was in 1803. It oversaw action during the Easter 1916 Uprising and bullet holes remained in the wall for decades.
Owned and run by the Ryan family since 1913, it’s now an integral part of Ballsbridge offering hearty food and the best pint in Dublin at the cheapest price.
2. The Waterloo Bar
The Waterloo Bar is a timeless bar with its row of wood and leather bar stools lining the polished counter. Located on Baggot Street, this stylish venue is easy to reach on foot, just 10 minutes from St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street.
The decorative coffered ceiling and leather benched booths provide a more private space for enjoying a meal, a pint and a chat.
From zesty cocktails to attractively presented sliders, burgers and pasta dishes, it’s a great place to roll up and satiate your hunger.
Related read: Check out our guide to 9 of the best hotels in Ballsbridge (from 5 star stays to quirky B&Bs)
3. The Bath Pub
Set in the shadow of the Aviva Stadium, the Bath Pub is a great pre-match or post-concert hangout. Beer aficionados will approve of the extensive menu of craft beers along with wine, cocktails and spirits galore.
Their homemade pizzas are legendary but they also do a noteworthy brunch, subs and bites menu cooked to order and served hot from the oven.
The flower-filled front garden is a popular place on a sunny day along with the south-facing courtyard and two large rooms with bars. Wherever you sit, you’re never far from a pizza!
4. Smyths of Haddington Road
Smyths is the antithesis to the more modern city-chic offerings in Ballsbridge. Located on Haddington Road, it offers delicious coffee, beers and wine in a relaxed homely atmosphere in the bar and snug.
It’s a perfect little pub with friendly staff serving a few snacks. If you want to watch the match with food, Nellies Cafe next door will deliver to your table.
There’s an outdoor terrace with TVs and heating for colder match days, making it a great place to meet up with mates. If you’re looking for cosy, old-school Ballsbridge pubs, get yourself here.
5. Schoolhouse Hotel
It’s back to school at the Schoolhouse Hotel and Bar which dates back to 1859. If only those walls could talk, what stories they would tell! As well as the award-winning restaurant, this hotel also has a popular Schoolhouse Bar.
It’s always buzzing with locals dropping in for an impromptu lunch with friends, weekend brunch or post-match gatherings.
Steeped with old world charm, the two-storey high interior has a intimate ambience with tables set beneath high rafters and lofty beams of this charming building. Known for its Bloody Marys, it’s a part of Ballsbridge history that’s well worth experiencing.
Ballsbridge pubs: What ones have we missed?
Although I’m fairly sure we’ve included the best pubs in Ballsbridge in the guide above, I’m sure there are plenty of nearby pubs worth adding in.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best pubs in Ballsbridge
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best Ballsbridge pubs to watch the match?’ to ‘Which do the best pub grub?’.
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 old-school pubs in Ballsbridge (and nearby)?
If you’re looking for traditional style Ballsbridge pubs, you can’t go wrong with Paddy Cullen’s Pub, Searsons, Ryan’s of Beggars Bush and The Bath Pub.
What are the best pubs in Ballsbridge to watch a match?
The majority of the pubs in Ballsbridge are well equipped for showing matches, however, the Horse Shoe and the Bridge are too nice, big pubs to watch a game in.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.