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Neighbourhood: South City Centre
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Address: 3 Harry Street, Dublin, Ireland
Phone Number:
+353 1 679 4395
10:30 - 00:30
Open now
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Sun 12:30 - 23:00
Mon - Thu 10:30 - 23:30
Fri - Sat 10:30 - 00:30

' I am a drinker with a writing problem'...the words of one infamous...

' I am a drinker with a writing problem'...the words of one infamous McDaids patron, Brendan Behan, and if ever there was a quote to raise an ironic smile then this was it. McDaids is now considered one of the most iconic Literary Pubs of Dublin not least thanks to Brendan, but it wasn't always so. In fact McDaids only became established as a true haunt for literary types after John Ryan, editor of the now defunct, Envoy magazine, began to attract all manner of writers and journalists here back in the late 1930's.

The building that houses McDaids can be traced back to the late 18th century and is reputed to have housed the City Morgue. It took on it's more ecclesiastical features when it was taken over by the Moravian Brothers some time later. They developed the practice of standing their corpses in a vertical position and it's suggested this may be the reason for the very high ceilings in the pub. It went through a litany of owners and was known as William Daly's Bar before John McDaid purchased the pub in 1936. Paddy O'Brien, one of the most famous bartenders, not just in McDaids, but in the whole of Dublin, worked here from 1937 until 1972, and was quoted as saying that 'Davy Byrnes was the one truly literary pub back then, McDaids in fact was nothing at all. It was a dreadful place, just an ordinary pub with snugs, stained glass partitions, spittoons and sawdust' John Ryan was equally harsh in his assessment saying that McDaids was a dowdy little pub, the plainest possible but that was one of the things I liked. 90% of people were working class" Thanks to some well intentioned advice to the owner from Paddy, the interior was torn out, the place brightened up a bit and thanks to a little help from Mr Ryan, the rest as they say is history.

Many literary greats have frequented here over the years but the 50's and 60's were the decades when the pub truly established it's now famous reputation. Brendan Behan, Paddy Kavanagh, Brian O'Nolan, Austin Clarke, Anthony Cronin, J.P. Donleavy and Liam O'Flaherty are just a handful of the famous writers that have graced the floors, quenched their thirsts and sought their inspiration in McDaids over the years and some of their portraits adorn the walls and look down now, perhaps in judgement, of the rather more sedate clientele that drink here these days.

In the early 1980's the bar was relocated from left as you walk in, to it's now familiar position on the right. Whether that was to confuse patrons into not knowing whether they were coming or going, one can only summise.

Whilst the walls may not be able to tell any stories from the bygone days, the latest generation of bartenders in McDaids are equally skilled in pouring pints of the black stuff and well versed in the history of this quite magnificent pub. So why not pop in, have a chat, a pint or two of Porter, and get a feel of what inspired those literary greats.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 87 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 40
  • 21
    Very good
  • 7
  • 4
  • 11

The quickest bar man in Dublin. Guinness was amazing. Love the quirkiness of the old pub and the 2 upside down pictures for good luck

Reviewed 6 February 2017
Nottingham, United Kingdom
via mobile
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87 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 83: English reviews
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
135 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Has all you need in a pub. Great atmosphere, efficient staff and good beer. The interior of the place looks fantastic and it has to be one of the most stylish small pubs in Dublin city centre. At the same time, the place is not snobby and you can be assured that you will be given a warm welcome. A... More 

Thank Hermes797
Uppsala, Sweden
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2017 via mobile

I live in Sweden where I've owned a bar. I visited last Sunday with my mum and guests. We sat outside. It is a beautiful pub and there were two barmen working. One barman or maybe he was the manager was a tall man who was very professional and friendly. As for the other barman he was a rude arrogant... More 

Thank buddymooney61
Vancouver BC
Level Contributor
43 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2017

tiny pub located in Grafton that serves only drinks. no food. Great place to rest and chill after a long day. Friendly service

Thank StellaStyle
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 22 February 2017

great pint in relaxing yet vibrant setting. The bar staff were friendly, professional and good craic. Location is great. No pubs actually on Grafton Street, this is about as close as you can get to a real pub near Grafton St

Thank Paul G
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2017 via mobile

The quickest bar man in Dublin. Guinness was amazing. Love the quirkiness of the old pub and the 2 upside down pictures for good luck

Thank pauljoann1
Level Contributor
48 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2017 via mobile

......a good beer and whiskey in a proper pub is what I sought. Unfussy pub, proper barman, good beer and Irish whiskey is what I got. One for another visit when I am in Dublin and in the area.

Thank MuchSaid
Level Contributor
79 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2017

I last drank in McDaids about twenty years ago. Its obviously a Dublin institution. We were coming from the Westbury after dinner and thought we would give it a try. It was a Wednesday evening and not so busy. We managed to get a seat by the window. The seats are hard and not so comfortable. I tried a Guinness... More 

Thank Stanislaw M
Castlebar, Ireland
Level Contributor
188 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2017 via mobile

Many a good night had here in an era that spans from the early 80's as a student in Dublin to 2017 now as a close to 50 year old who enjoys a quiet pint of plain. Went in tonight, place was buzzing but still that wonderful local feel that ends up with you talking to a guy who has... More 

Thank Ros1943
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2017

Made a request for a change of Guinness glass; barman was rude, ignorant and aggressive. He's clearly not suited to the hospitality trade. Needless to say we won't be going back.

Thank Meddle1071
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
263 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2017

If your looking for a squeaky clean, quiet pub please look away, however if you are looking for a genuine old fashion pub that serves a wicked pint of Guinness and some great craic to boot please walk in. We enjoyed a few pints on New Years Eve before dining at the Westbury, the atmosphere can best be described as... More 

Thank BreezeRidge3

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