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10 Of The Best Pubs In Letterkenny (Old School, Music Pubs + Modern Bars)

10 Of The Best Pubs In Letterkenny (Old School, Music Pubs + Modern Bars)

If you’re in search of the best pubs in Letterkenny Town, you’ve found ’em!

From lovely, old-school pubs like the mighty Cottage Bar to slightly more gastro-ey bars in Letterkenny, like Oasis, there’s plenty to choose from.

Especially if, like me, you’re fond of trad bars that knock up a daycent pint of Guinness! Dive on in!

What we think are the best pubs in Letterkenny

Blake's Bar Letterkenny

Photos via Blake’s Bar on FB

The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite Letterkenny pubs – these are places that one or more of the team have drank in over the years.

Below, you’ll find everywhere from McCafferty’s and McGinley’s to some often overlooked bars in Letterkenny.

1. The Cottage Bar

cottage bar

Photo left: Google Maps. Right: Via The Cottage on FB

I’d stand behind the statement that the Cottage Bar is one of the most unique pubs in Letterkenny and Donegal as a whole. This is a traditional Irish pub at its absolute finest.

Located on Letterkenny Main Street, it’s best visited during the colder months when there’s a roaring fire crackling away!

There’s plenty of old-school bits and bobs dangling from the beams and adding to the ambience, from teacups to cooking pans.

The traditional bar is held up by an array of loyal locals and it’s where you’ll find some of the best Guinness in Letterkenny Town.

Forget flashy interiors and rock music; this is a place to seek out quiet contemplation and gentle conversation over a finely-pulled pint. 

2. McGinley’s Bar

McGinley’s Bar Letterkenny

Photos via McGinley’s Bar on FB

McGinley’s Bar is another traditional pub that boasts a smoky open turf fire during the cooler months. It’s also one of the longest established in Letterkenny when it comes to musical entertainment.

Located on Lower Main Street, you’ll find live music from local bands from Wednesdays through Saturdays with two floors of seating on offer.

Local beers are complemented by international pints, and the double decker bus serving artisan pizzas is perfect for family nights out.

On cold nights warm up with one of their Winter Spiced Old Fashioned cocktails or a Coconut Punch Hot Chocolate.

Related read: Check out or guide to 21 of the best things to do in Letterkenny (includes a clatter of beaches near Letterkenny)

3. McCafferty’s Bar (Harry’s)

Harrys Bar Letterkenny

Photos via McCafferty’s Bar on FB

McCafferty’s Bar is one of several Letterkenny pubs that I wish was about 100km closer to where I live. This is a proper pub, the only downside is it’s an 8-minute taxi ride from the town.

However, it’s worth the journey. The first time I walked through the doors of McCafferty’s I was hit with that giddy feeling that often comes when you discover a pub that’s completely alien to what you’re used to.

Beautiful wooden beams, a roaring fire, a great pint and glorious white-washed walls along with endless nooks to tuck yourself away in. A truly mighty pub.

4. Blake’s

Blake's Bar Letterkenny

Photos via Blake’s Bar on FB

Blake’s is one of the more unique pubs in Letterkenny. I was here for the first time last summer and it was one of the most memorable afternoon pints I’ve supped in a long time.

The interior of Blake’s is quirky. It kind of feels like you’ve just stepped foot in someone’s living room.

I’d never heard of it but the lad at the reception in our hotel said it did some of the best Guinness in Letterkenny.

So, we gave it a lash. And it didn’t disappoint. A creamy pint made better by a funky, cosy interior and genuinely warm service. A fine pub.

5. The Central Bar

central bar

Photos via the Central Bar on FB

Our next public house is the oldest of the many pubs in Letterkenny – I’m talking, of course, about the brilliant Central Bar.

Oozing charm and character, this place has ample seating, a welcoming blaze from its fireplace and plenty of traditional music sessions for entertainment from Mondays to Thursdays.

In summer, the Beer Garden is a great place to dine on pizzas, burgers and tasty grub, all served from the newly constructed Stove and Stone Street open air kitchen.

You’ll see many reviews online stating that this is one of the best bars in Letterkenny, and it’s not hard to see why.

More very popular bars in Letterkenny worth nipping into

Orchard Inn

Photos via The Orchard Inn on Facebook

Now that we have what we think are the best pubs in Letterkenny out of the way, it’s time to see what else the town has to offer.

Below, you’ll find everywhere from Brewery Bar and The Wolfe Tone to some very lively bars in Letterkenny.

1. Sonny McSwine’s

Sonny McSwine's

Photos via Sonny McSwine’s on FB

I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of this place, but it seems that confusion is down to it changing name recently. Sonny McSwine’s was previously called McCaffery’s, and it’s a peach of a pub.

Another spot that’s known to pour an excellent pint of Guinness, Sonny McSwine’s is a solid shout if there’s a match on as there’s plenty of TVs and seating.

There’s decent pub grub on offer along with a packed cocktail menu. It’s one of the livelier bars in Letterkenny and you’ll find live music every night of the week along with a full band each weekend.

Related read: Check out or guide to 10 of the best restaurants in Letterkenny (from fancy spots to cheap eats)

2. Brewery Bar and Restaurant

Brewery Bar and Restaurant letterkenny

Photos via Brewery Bar and Restaurant on Facebook

The Brewery Bar and Restaurant with its old world ambience and incredible collection of local memorabilia is another popular spot with locals and tourists alike.

Located on Market Square, it’s hard to miss the blue and white facade. It has a brasserie-style eating area for leisurely lunches and a full-blown restaurant upstairs for evening meals.

With a full bar and wine list, every possible taste is catered for, from fancy cocktails to premium Irish whiskey brands.

Live music and sports on the big screen ensure that the good times flow as freely as the ale. 

3. The Wolfe Tone

the wolf tone

Photos via The Wolfe Tone on FB

If you’re in search of pubs in Letterkenny that do some decent live music, take not of the next spot on our list. Located on Lower Main Street, the Wolfe Tone Bar is a huge establishment known for its live sessions.

It takes its name from Theobald Wolfe Tone, a local hero during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 who was captured on Main Street.

The pub was named in his honour, appropriately occupying the former Garda barracks building. Full of Irish history it has its own unique character with a friendly bar and foot-tapping Irish music most nights.

Related reads: Check out or guide to the best hotels in Letterkenny and our guide to the best Airbnbs in Letterkenny

4. Oasis Bar

Oasis Bar

Photos via Oasis Bar on Facebook

You’ll find our next pub, Oasis Bar , in Letterkenny Shopping Centre (near the bus depot).

They have a packed menu with everything from oatmeal crusted goujons to loaded fries on-the-go along with a popular cocktail menu.

The interior has been recently refurbished and there’s a plush feel to the place. It’s also big and there’s plenty of seating, which makes it a handy option of you’re visiting with a group.

If you’re looking for gastro-style bars in Letterkenny, you won’t go wrong with a visit to Oasis.

5. The Orchard Inn

Orchard Inn

Photos via The Orchard Inn on Facebook

If you’re in the mood for some great bar food, look no further than the Orchard Inn which is on High Road near Donegal County Museum.

The excellent bar menu is surprisingly well priced, whether you’re ordering for a quick bite or planning a party event in the function Room.

Friendly staff make everyone feel at home and the quality food that comes out of this gastropub kitchen is second to none.

If you want a bite of lunch in the fresh air, the outdoor tables are very pleasant on a fine day. 

The best pubs in Letterkenny: What have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Letterkenny pubs from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

Letterkenny bars FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where does good Guinness?’ to ‘What are the best pubs in Letterkenny for live music?’.

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 Letterkenny?

It’s hard to beat The Cottage Bar, McCafferty’s and McGinley’s when it comes to Letterkenny bars, however, each of the above is worth considering.

Where does the best Guinness in Letterkenny?

The Cottage Bar, McCafferty’s Bar (Harry’s), McGinley’s Bar and Blake’s are all good options if you’re after a decent pint of Guinness.

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