It’s thanks to the many lively pubs in Carlingford that this town is a hen and stag party haven.
And what better way to wind down after a day spent tackling the many things to do in Carlingford than with a pint in one of the town’s cosy pubs.
In the guide below, you’ll discover our favourite bars in Carlingford, from Taaffes and PJ’s to Ma Baker’s and more.
Our favourite pubs in Carlingford
The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite bars in Carlingford in County Louth – these are places that we’ve been in several times over the years.
There’s only three in this section, but the first does arguably the best pint of Guinness in Carlingford. Dive on in!
1. PJ O Hare’s
Whether you’re in the mood for a smooth pint or a sublime meal, PJ O’Hare’s on Thosel Street will have you covered. Sat in a perfect location right in the heart of Carlingford and run by Michael and Bernadette Heaney, it’s been racking up awards ever since it opened over 20 years ago.
But despite its pedigree, O’Hare’s still offers cracking value for money and you can pick up its world-famous oysters for just €2 each! So come down to enjoy some of the freshest seafood in Louth and don’t forget to enjoy the Lounge Bar if you’re here at the weekend.
If you’re looking for old-school pubs in Carlingford that do great food and even better pints, get yourself to PJ’s.
A casual stroll through Carlingford’s medieval streets will tell you how old the place is and Taaffes Castle is the perfect spot to pay homage to that long history. In fact, stepping into a bar filled with stone walls and wooden beams is enough to make you think you’ve gone back in time already!
But Taaffes Castle is so much more than just a nod to the past – it also offers accommodation, great meals and is the only venue in Carlingford to provide both live bands and live DJs and guarantee reserved areas. Basically, no matter what year it is, you’ll have a good time!
This is one of the more popular Carlingford pubs amongst big groups, as there’s a nice big beer garden that’s perfect for those often rare sunny days.
3. Carlingford Arms
With its bright purple exterior and prime location in the heart of town, the Carlingford Arms isn’t an easy place to miss. Run by Sharon McGuigan since 1994, she’s expanded the place over the years and it’s now one of the busiest spots in Carlingford – and for good reason!
With loads of room for eating, accommodation for those looking to stay the night and a gorgeous open fire in the main bar, it’s no surprise that McGuigan’s pub is so popular with locals and tourists alike. They also boast their own cocktail bar and host live music on Fridays and Sundays.
Other very popular bars in Carlingford
Now that we have our favourite bars in Carlingford out of the way, it’s time to see what else the town has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from John Long’s to the excellent Carlingford Brewing Co.
1. The Carlingford Brewing Co
Another cracking countryside spot, the Carlingford Brewing Co offer a great modern blend of craft beer and wood-fired pizza in a stunning location. And it’s those scenic views that make this place so unique. The sort of stylish brewery you’d expect to find in the hippest areas of Dublin or Belfast, its lush surroundings are a world away from those busy neighbourhoods.
As well as a fine selection of beers and bubbling pizzas, they also offer brewery tours and double up as a cool low-key wedding venue. And at just a 10-minute drive from Carlingford, it would be rude to give this spot a miss!
This is one of the more unique pubs in Carlingford and, if you read our Carlingford restaurants guide, you’ll know that they dish up a mighty bit of grub, too!
2. John Long’s Bar & Restaurant
The Cooley Peninsula is a place for exploring the great outdoors and John Long’s Bar & Restaurant is a fine spot in the country for getting away from it all. Even though it’s actually only a five-minute drive from Carlingford, it feels more secluded and the beer garden gives some lovely views of the Cooley Mountains.
Inside it’s a cosy affair, with a massive open fireplace occupying a full wall and a beautiful wood-finished bar. It gets pretty lively at weekends too, with the rear lounge turned into a bouncing disco bar with a live DJ every second week and live music throughout the summer months.
3. Ma Bakers
Back in Carlingford, Ma Bakers is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing of the many pubs in Carlingford. From a plate of hearty fish and chips to a spacious beer garden, it’s a perfect place in the middle of Carlingford for a good time.
And that entertainment vibe is further helped by a ton of live music on offer and big screens showing everything from live GAA to Premier League soccer. Look out for the bright yellow letters on the outside and head inside for a fine time!
Carlingford pubs: Which ones have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant bars in Carlingford 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!
FAQs about the best Carlingford bars
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which Carlingford pubs are good for stags?’ to ‘Which does the best pint?’.
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 Carlingford?
PJ O Hare’s is our favourite, with Taaffes coming in at a close second. However, as Carlingford’s pubs are often packed, sometimes you don’t have much choice.
What Carlingford pubs do a decent pint of Guinness?
PJ O Hare’s is a solid option if you’re on the lookout for a great pint of Guinness.