Skip to Content

5 Best Pubs in Galway City (For Music + Guinness)

5 Best Pubs in Galway City (For Music + Guinness)

In my opinion, the best pubs in Galway City are The Crane and Tig Chóilí.

With that said, I have 5 ‘go-tos’ (all old-school, traditional pubs) if I’m in the city and have time for a pint or 6.

Each of these pubs dishes up a decent pint of Guinness, hold live music sessions and, based on my many visits, never fails to disappoint. Cheers!

The best pubs in Galway City


Take every guide to the best pubs in Galway City with a pinch of salt (including this one!). There are over 50 bars in Galway City and what’s ‘great’ is often subjective.

This guide is packed with pubs I’ve been to on at least 12 occasions and that I’m confident you’ll enjoy after a day spent tackling the various things to do in Galway!

1. The Crane Bar

the crane bar galway

Photos by the Irish Road Trip

If it’s a beautiful pint of Guinness (served in an old-style glass – see above!) and live music in Galway that you’re after, look no further than The Crane Bar on the city’s Sea Road.

This mighty pub has been keeping locals and tourists alike watered since it opened next to the city’s former market square in the 1930s.

In its early days, it would have been frequented by farmers travelling to and from the market to sell their wares.

Fast forward to 2024 and the Crane has somehow managed to retain its original charm and character, while also excelling with a live music offering that’s rivalled by none.

This is one of few Galway pubs that hosts live music 7 nights a week both upstairs and downstairs. If you’re after a great pint and night of tunes, look no further!

Note: If you’re attending live music here and it’s being held upstairs, arrive early – it only holds 50 – 70 people and it fills up quickly!


2. Tig Chóilí

Tig Chóilí

Photo left by the Irish Road Trip. Others via Failte Ireland

Another of the best bars in Galway for music and a great night out in general is Tig Chóilí on Mainguard St. (just off busy Shop St.).

There’s a lot to like about this place, with live music sessions taking place twice a day Monday to Friday (usually around 6 and 9:30 from Mon-Sat and 2:30 and 8:00 on Sun).

This pub has welcomed everyone from Prince William and Kate to Sharron Shannon over the years and, while small, it packs a punch!

If you nip in to Tig Chóilí before if fills up for the music, take some time to admire the photos and artefacts dotted across every inch of wall in this cosy pub.

Tip: If the seats inside the door on the left are free, nab them – although you’ll be asked to move before the music starts, they make a great people-watching spot!


3. Tigh Neachtain

Tigh Neachtain

Photos courtesy Failte Ireland via Ireland’s Content Pool

Few if any Galway pubs boast an interior as perfect as Neachtain’s on the corner of Cross Street and Quay Street.

It opened in 1894 and, when you saunter inside, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time thanks to the beautiful old wooden panelling, dark cosy corners and memorabilia from times past.

During the colder months, it’s one of the few bars in Galway where you’ll find a real fire crackling away, but by God the seats near it are rarely without an a*se on them!

There’s live music throughout the week and it’s a stones throw from the best restaurants in Galway if you fancy a pre-or-post-pint-feed!

Tip: The outside seating area that faces out onto the Latin Quarter is, on a fine day, an unbeatable spot to plonk yourself, nurse a pint and watch Galway City roll by!


4. Garavan’s Bar

Garavan's Bar

Photos via Garavan’s Bar on FB

You’ll find Garavan’s on bustling William St. It first opened it’s doors in 1937 and, at the time, it was a Spirit Grocery (a pub and a grocery shop).

This is arguably one of the best pubs in Galway City when it comes to whiskey and, speaking from personal experience, their whiskey tasting platters are great value!

Although I’ve been coming to this bar since I was 18, the interior never fails to delight – expect old wooden panelling, cabinets with ancient ledgers, victorian-style lamps and endless artefacts.

The Guinness here is rarely anything but top-notch, there’s live music at the weekends and, while bigger than some of the previously mention pubs, it still has a lovely, cosy feel to it.

Tip: Few Galway pubs boast a snug like the one on the right as you walk through the door. Although hard to secure, it’s worth a try (and yes, it has its own serving hatch!)


5. The Front Door/Sonny Molloy’s

the front door pub

Photos by the Irish Road Trip

Now, I need to start this with a disclaimer – I’m very fond of the Front Door during the day (especially the corner near the main door), but it’s too lively for me come the evening.

If you’re not a boring aul huair like myself, this is arguably one of the best bars in Galway for a late pint (they’re open until 02:00 at the weekend), with music, a dance floor and all of that craic.

However, if you’re after a quieter buzz, head in through the Sonny Molloy’s entrance on High St. where you’ll find their whiskey bar.

This has a nice, traditional vibe to it and, while you’ll find endless whiskey options, it’s a great spot for a pint.

Tip: Like Neachtain’s, the outdoor seating area by the Sonny Molloy’s entrance is a great spot for people watching!


Things to do while you’re in Galway

best things to do in galway ireland


If you’re on a Galway road trip and you fancy exploring more than the Galway pubs scene, you’re in luck – there’s plenty to see and do in this county.

Here are a handful of suggestions for you:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Janice Chan

Monday 30th of January 2023

Thanks for the great info! Galway has been on my bucket list since I was a teen way back in the 70s so my husband and I decided to finally come explore the pubs and area. My 24 year old daughter Bailey decided to pop along with us so we REALLY needed some pub info on what is fun for her! This gave me some great ideas!

Chris Blanchett

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Hi Keith, inspired by your website my wife and I are wanting to spend a week touring the west coast of Ireland - as soon as live music returns to the pubs ! Could you confirm I am right in believing that from next Monday (6th September 2021) this will be allowed ? Many Thanks, Chris.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.