Your Essential Irish Pub Etiquette Guide

When in Ireland, there’s no escaping the pubs. Whether you’re in Dublin or exploring the quaint towns, you’re bound to find yourself in one sooner or later. But before you saunter in for a pint of Guinness or a sip of Irish whiskey, it pays to know the unspoken rules of Irish pub culture. Here’s your essential guide to navigating Irish pub etiquette like a local.

Irish Pubs Etiquette At A Glance

🍻 How to Buy Rounds

Ah, the age-old tradition of buying rounds. In Irish pubs, the concept of buying rounds is common practice. If someone in your group buys a round of drinks, it’s customary to reciprocate and buy a round in return. Failing to do so can lead to some awkward moments and may leave you with fewer friends than when you entered the pub. Tourists often mistake locals’ generosity for a simple welcome gesture, but make no mistake, it’s all about camaraderie. And remember, couples count as two separate drinkers, so no dodging rounds as a duo! Everyone who’s drinking should contribute to the round.

💃 Dress Code and Tipping

Unlike some fancy establishments, Irish pubs welcome you in your casual best. You’re unlikely to face any issues gaining entry while wearing casual attire, such as a t-shirt and jeans. As for tipping, it’s not mandatory, but it’s appreciated. Leave 10-15% for table service, and if a bartender goes above and beyond, a little extra is always welcomed.

🍹 What to Drink

Irish pubs offer a wide array of drinks, including the world-famous Guinness and traditional Irish cider. If you’re keen on exploring more options, consider trying Murphy’s Stout, Tullamore Dew whiskey, Teeling, Jameson, and others. And let’s not forget about the burgeoning craft beer scene. O’Hara’s Irish Red or Rascals Session IPA are just a few examples of the stellar craft beers, and Branningans favourites you can enjoy. And, of course, a trip to an Irish pub wouldn’t be complete without indulging in an Irish coffee or two.

🥓 Irish Pub Fare to Try

While enjoying your drinks, don’t forget to indulge in some traditional Irish pub food. Beef and Guinness casserole, fish and chips, traditional Irish lamb stew, seafood chowder, and Irish oak-smoked salmon are just a few examples of the mouthwatering dishes available. And back to drinks, keep in mind that patience is key when it comes to ordering Guinness, as it’s poured in two stages and requires a brief wait between pours—it’s worth the wait!

Irish Pub Etiquette Social Rules

Respect the Bartenders

The bar staff are the gatekeepers to liquid happiness. Avoid waving money around like a semaphore, and instead, use subtle cues like a nod or a raised finger to signal your order. And never interrupt an Irishman mid-story—especially if he’s an old-timer with a designated seat at the bar.

Mind Your Manners

Don’t be “that guy” stumbling around the pub or hogging someone’s view of the TV during a match. And speaking of seating, always ask before snagging a stool from someone else’s table. It’s just common courtesy. Keep your composure and enjoy the craic responsibly.

Parting Thoughts

Lastly, in Ireland, the legal drinking age is 18, and it’s normal to see children in pubs around mealtimes. Keep in mind that many pubs close before midnight, and it’s typical to pay for your drinks immediately rather than running a tab. 

As you get ready to hit the Irish pub scene, remember these tips for a great time. 

Whether you’re enjoying a Guinness in a classic Dublin pub or trying out some craft beers, soak up the friendly vibes of Irish pubs. And if you’re in Dublin, stop by Brannigan’s for good food and drinks in a cosy setting. Cheers!