The best traditional pubs in Cork city

Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, so after Dublin it’s only natural that it has the liveliest and most exciting nightlife. Cork is also a university city, and where there are lots of young people, there are lots of places to drink, dance and listen to music. And since it’s Ireland we’re talking about, pubs are a pretty important part of nightlife, and often there is more craic to be had in a pub than in a club or a disco. To see how the Irish (both young and old) entertain themselves, here are some of the best traditional pubs in Cork city.

Nancy Spains, Barrack Street

Barrack Street is famous for its many pubs, and there’s even a ‘tradition’ called the Barrack Street Challenge – drinking a pint in every pub on the street and still managing to walk by the time you reach the Brewery at the end of the street. The challenge starts in Nancy Spains pub, one of the student population’s most beloved venue. The pubs is a bit rough around the edges, as befitting an old, traditional pub, very friendly and with great atmosphere.

An Spailpín Fánach, South Main Street

An Spailpín Fánach is one of the best pubs in the city for live music. There’s a band playing almost every night, and the atmosphere after 9 PM is really great. This pub is as traditional as it gets, with people of all ages crowding to get their pints and sit back to have a chat or watch the game on TV.

An Realt Dearg, Barrack Street

An Realt Dearg has laid a claim on the title of oldest pub in Ireland, and while that’s not 100% sure (the Brazen Head in Dublin begs to differ), it is definitely the oldest pub in Cork. Still, the pub is not even remotely run down or boring, quite the opposite. It was renovated (very tastefully) recently, but it retains its traditional charm. Live traditional music nights every Wednesday.

Long Valley, Winthrop Street

The Long Valley has a huge turnover of clientele, people are practically flocking in and out of the pub all the time. That’s because locals are downright addicted to the pub’s delicious sandwiches, and because the interior looks so inviting that you can hardly pass by the pub without going in for a pint or two.

Costigans, Washington Street

Costigans is another great favorite with the locals, so the pub tends to get a bit crowded, especially on weekends. On the bright side, the staff are unusually friendly with the clientele, and the drinks are quite affordable compared to other places. A great place to start off the night, and you can leave before the crowds get too much to bear.


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