Famous Pubs to Explore in Kilkenny
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5 Famous Pubs to Explore in Kilkenny

You just might be in for a treat when you visit local pubs in Kilkenny—don’t say we didn’t warn you!

With a rather rich history, you’ll find the best pubs in the city located at the most stunning mediaeval structures. Plus—they serve great local beers, offer gastronomic food on the menu, and play great music that adds to the cosy atmosphere!

How Much to Spend on a Beer in Kilkenny

The prices vary, but according to Numbeo, this is the average cost of drinks at the pubs in Kilkenny:

Local beer€5
Imported beer€5.50

Top Pubs in Kilkenny Ireland

We considered the following in searching for the best pubs in the city:

Beer quality and variety tells us about the range of local beers available and the quality of taste.
Location means the pub’s in a prime area, has a good atmosphere, and is easy to visit.
Service evaluates the professionalism of the staff, the speed of service, and how customers are treated. 
Reputation is credible feedback from people who have been there, and tells us  about the overall vibe of the pub.

1. Kyteler’s Inn

Kyteler's Inn
ADDRESSSt Kieran's St, Gardens, Kilkenny, Ireland
CONTACT DETAILS+353 56 772 1064
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 11:30 AM - 11:30 PM

Friday - Sunday: 12:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Beer quality and variety★★★★☆ (4/5)
Location★★★★★ (5/5)
Ambience and cleanliness      ★★★★★ (5/5)
Accessibility      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Service★★★★★ (5/5)
Professionalism      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Speed      ★★★★★ (5/5)
Reputation★★★★☆ (4/5)

As Kilkenny’s oldest pub, Kyteler’s Inn has already established its name in the city not only because of its drinks and food, but also because of its intriguing history. All of this combined makes the pub one of the locals’ and tourists’ favourites!

According to locals, most tourists or visitors from other cities go to Kyteler’s to hear about Alice de Ketyler—the first owner accused of witchcraft—while enjoying a good pint of Guinness. And the mediaeval look of the place just adds to the vibe of the story.

In fact, the original look of the Inn was restored by its current owner. This was to make sure the visitors will be reminded of its heritage and history. 

We also want to commend the inn for extending this effort to preserve heritage and history through the food it serves. Ketyler’s offers traditional Irish food like Irish stew and bacon and cabbage, and of course its creamy local beers.

We also think there are other things you’ll love about Kyteler’s other than those connected to its history. There’s the Top Bar for example, wherein you can enjoy live music while nursing a beer.

We also love the cosy and casual atmosphere of the pub—it really is tourist-friendly! The bartenders are accommodating and the locals who are regulars of the pub treat you with the amazing Irish hospitality.

Probably the only thing we’re not too fond of is that it stops serving food around 8:30 in the evening. There are tourists who are looking for a good place to eat after a long tour, and this can be disappointing for them.


  • Has vegetarian options in the food menu
  • Casual atmosphere
  • Good for groups
  • Kid-friendly
  • Has outside seating
  • Good pint of Guinness
  • Good music at the Top Bar
  • Friendly bartenders
  • Attentive staff
  • Great location with private parking
  • Interesting history


  • No takeout or delivery
  • Stops serving food early

Customer Reviews

Good food and drinks plus great music

Nestled within the Mediaeval town of Kilkenny on one of the small city’s main thoroughfares is this gem of a Pub! The food was very traditional and featured Irish stew, fish & chips and chicken vu von’s-all of which were very good and didn’t leave you feeling stuffed, which was perfect for lunch. Drinking the local cream ale at its point of origin was such a delight!! I couldn’t recommend this experience more if I tried! Stop in for a pint… or two! — Keith R, Yelp

Perfectly poured pints and fascinating history

It was a cold and wet September afternoon and we had walked along the mediaeval mile. This pub was one of the spots recommended by our hotel and we couldn’t have been happier. Service was very good. The pints were poured perfectly and the warm stew hit the spot. It’s worth wandering around to see the full Inn and to learn about the original proprietor and how she fled the city to avoid being branded a witch. They also gave us some great suggestions for music later than evening. Thanks — Keven O, Trip Advisor

2. Syd Harkin’s Pub

Syd Harkin's Pub
ADDRESS25 Rose Inn St, Gardens, Kilkenny, R95 VK02, Ireland
CONTACT DETAILS+353 56 772 2134
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 12:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Friday - Saturday: 12:00 PM - 12:30 AM

Sunday: 12:30 PM - 11:00 PM

Beer quality and variety★★★★★ (5/5)
Location★★★★★ (5/5)
Ambience and cleanliness      ★★★★★ (5/5)
Accessibility      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Service★★★★☆ (4/5)
Professionalism      ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Speed      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Reputation★★★★☆ (4/5)

What we love the most about Syd Harkin’s Pub is that it’s hard to miss. Located right at the centre of the Kilkenny, you’ll casually just be walking around and run right into the pub!

It’s also retro-themed, with an amazing interior and soft lighting that will have you reminiscing the past. We also love that the walls are full of photos which add to the nostalgic vibe of the place.

We love that the place doesn’t get very crowded even on Friday nights. There’s a place for everyone, and you can get immediately seated even on peak hours!

There’s good music too, which makes the place relaxing. The staff are quite friendly as well and are always ready to help whenever you need it.

But what we love the most—Syd, the owner! He’s very jovial and accommodating–quite the storyteller too–always has a fascinating story to tell about anything you ask him about.

We also appreciate the speedy service—food and drinks are served immediately. And speaking of drinks, Syd Harkin’s probably has one of the widest range of local beers in Kilkenny—and the prices are reasonable too! 

It can get a little too loud on weekends though, which might not be an ideal place for you if you want to relax. Also, please don’t expect too much about the food—they’re not bad, but probably not as stellar as you expect them to be.


  • Retro-themed
  • Great atmosphere
  • Good music
  • Reasonable drink prices
  • Wide range of local beers
  • Friendly staff
  • Wasn’t too crowded even on a Friday night
  • Interactive owner who tells customers stories


  • Can get a little loud
  • Average food
  • Some bartenders aren’t very polite

Customer Reviews

Retro-themed pub

I love the retro theme and old-fashioned look of Syd’s pub. It’s a huge contrast to some of the pubs in Kilkenny that go for a more contemporary and modern look. Great atmosphere and music. The bar staff were fantastic and the prices of the drinks were all reasonable. Fantastic location too!— Jordan Kevin Magtaan, Google Reviews

Wide range of top-quality local stouts and beers

Go to this bar and you just might run into Syd himself. He was working behind the bar and we struck up a nice conversation. He said he’s owned the bar for over 30 years and he told us about Ireland’s national sport, hurling. I had no idea! They had a variety of beers and some good local varieties. It was warm there on a cold rainy evening and it seemed like a place where the locals hang out. — Melissa, Trip Advisor

3. Cleere’s Bar & Theatre

Cleere's Bar & Theatre
ADDRESS28 Parliament St, Gardens, Kilkenny, R95 YR61, Ireland
CONTACT DETAILS+353 56 776 2573
OPERATING HOURSSunday - Thursday: 12:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Friday - Saturday: 12:00 PM - 12:30 AM

Beer quality and variety★★★★★ (5/5)
Location★★★★★ (5/5)
Ambience and cleanliness      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Accessibility      ★★★★★ (5/5)
Service★★★★☆ (4/5)
Professionalism      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Speed      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Reputation★★★★☆ (4/5)

We think the name says it all—Cleere’s Bar & Theatre. What makes this Kilkenny pub special is that it offers a variety of entertainment for its guests like music, poems, and most especially, theatre—its specialty!

In fact, according to locals and tourists alike, the entertainment variety is one of the reasons they keep coming back to the pub. They’re looking for a place where they can relax and have fun, and Cleere’s is definitely a good spot for that goal!

The pub also has a lot of good food options that match the great selection of local beers. Just a secret from us—it arguably serves the best Irish stew in town!

We also appreciate how they serve the beers—always fresh and cold. The best way to enjoy a local Irish beer is the way it’s poured and served ice-cold.

The overall atmosphere is great as well! The service is quick, the staff are friendly, and the locals are hospitable—it’s easy to feel that authentic Irish pub vibe.

There are just a couple of things we hope can be improved. One is that some staff are inattentive. Some customers have to find seats of their own and don’t get immediately assisted.

Another thing—we hope Cleere’s can do something about those stools. They’re quite hard so it gets a little uncomfy after some time.

But other than those, we recommend visiting Cleere’s when you’re in town! Entertainment, food, and drinks—you’ll experience these things at its finest when you go to the pub!


  • Authentic Irish pub atmosphere
  • Great food options
  • Offers a variety of entertainment
  • Great selection of local beers
  • Quick service
  • Prime location
  • Best Irish stew in town
  • Drinks are always served cold


  • Inattentive staff
  • Uncomfortable stools
  • Easily gets crowded

Customer Reviews

Best Irish stew in town

If you want a locals spot with amazing beer and food, then this is your place!! Low key, amicable service with a relaxed vibes makes sense why local love this place and recommend it.. even the crew at Smithwicks brewery down the street have been known to roll kegs over, put them on tap and drink them through the entirety of the day post shift throughout the years being neighbours!! Don’t skip this gem!!. A hot bowl of Irish stew and a couple cold ones will fix you up proper!! — Glenn N, Yelp

Good music and live theatre

Cleere’s is known for its cosy theatre out the back which is a much-loved local venue for music and theatre attracting quality local, national and international acts. The main bar is always buzzing with conversation. Get in early to grab a coveted couch-spot. Friendly staff will serve you up a great pint and always, always check if there’s something going on in the theatre…you’re likely to discover some hidden gem of a band in there at very reasonable prices. Smoking facilities amount to a single bench out the front, but who cares, it’s Cleere’s! — Qype, Yelp

4. Breathnach’s

ADDRESS23-24 John Street Upper, Gardens, Kilkenny, R95 AXC9, Ireland
CONTACT DETAILS+353 56 775 6737
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 10:30 AM - 11:30 PM

Friday - Saturday: 10:30 AM - 1:30 AM

Sunday: 10:30 AM - 11:00 PM

Beer quality and variety★★★★☆ (4/5)
Location★★★★☆ (4/5)
Ambience and cleanliness      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Accessibility      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Service★★★★★ (5/5)
Professionalism      ★★★★★ (5/5)
Speed      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Reputation★★★★☆ (4/5)

Breathnach’s is that type of pub you’ll appreciate if you want to relax and just have an easy conversation with friends. There’s a good selection of beers and food that’ll keep you warm along with the already-warm atmosphere it exudes!

First thing we like about the pub is how cosy it is. It’s spotless clean, has friendly local regulars, and has good music playing in the background—it really has that traditional Irish pub vibe!

We also love the attentiveness of the bartenders who immediately attend to the customers. Just order your drinks and they’ll be prepared in a few minutes—you don’t have to wait long just for a pint of Kilkenny!

In contrast to the speedy service at the bar though, the food takes long to arrive. A few customers we talked to said the interval between food orders usually took long, which to them was pretty inconvenient as they couldn’t enjoy the food thoroughly.

It’s because according to some locals, the pub is usually understaffed. This is actually evident most especially on busy hours—the staff can’t really rest.

Speaking of food though, we think it’s amazing that Breathnach’s is very accommodating to the dietary needs of its customers. There are vegan and gluten-free options in the menu, and you can even tell the staff specific requests!

Best thing for us—as opposed to other pubs that stop serving food at 8:00, Breathnach’s still serves food until late at night. So we think it’s perfect for those looking for a place to eat while doing their nightly walks.


  • Can accommodate large groups
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Great music playing in the background
  • Good selection of drinks
  • Quick service at the bar
  • Reasonable prices for drinks
  • Clean and cosy
  • Great and lively atmosphere
  • Adjusts to dietary needs of customers


  • Average food
  • Understaffed
  • Food takes long to arrive

Customer Reviews

Friendly and attentive service

Fantastic pub!  Great menu and drink selection with friendly and attentive service. Peter, the bartender, was exceptional. Food was amazing. Save room for sticky toffee pudding for dessert! — David Hillner, Google Reviews

Lovely pub where you can watch sports

Lovely little pub, great pub grub and all sports catered for on their multiple tv screens, live music on weekends. — Alan Whitely, Google Reviews

5. Christy’s Bar

Christy's Bar
ADDRESS34 Upper Patrick St, Deansground, Kilkenny, R95 HK12, Ireland
CONTACT DETAILS+353 56 776 2359
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 10:30 AM - 11:30 PM

Friday - Saturday: 10:30 AM - 12:30 AM

Sunday: 12:30 PM - 11:00 PM

Beer quality and variety★★★★☆ (4/5)
Location★★★★☆ (4/5)
Ambience and cleanliness      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Accessibility      ★★★★★ (5/5)
Service★★★★☆ (4/5)
Professionalism      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Speed      ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Reputation★★★★☆ (4/5)

Locals don’t call Christy’s Bar a hidden gem for nothing—if you’re a fan of good music and want the perfect place for watching sports, this is the pub to go to! The atmosphere’s just so fun and lively, we think you’ll have a great time.

First, it has a lovely bar with an extensive list of local beers and other drinks so you have plenty of choices. The drinks are served quickly as well by the very attentive staff—you don’t need to wait long.

And Christy’s has a lovely beer garden! It has a large space outside to have conversations with friends while having a good drink.

We also love that there are other activities that can occupy your time like pool and sports watching. There’s also good music that constantly plays in the background that turns the atmosphere into something cosy and casual.

The local customers are very friendly as well. If you’re a tourist, you won’t feel like one because you’ll be treated with warmth and friendliness. 

The only thing some of you might not appreciate is that the pub is a favourite hangout among the young people. It can get really noisy because of this, and if you want to relax, this can be a problem.

Another thing is that Christy’s doesn’t serve food—not even nuts or chips. We recommend not going in hungry—there’ll be nothing to satisfy your stomach here.


  • Spotless clean
  • Helpful and accommodating staff
  • Large beer garden
  • Decent customer service
  • Good music
  • Offers other activities such as pool and sports watching
  • Lovely bar
  • Full of friendly locals


  • Very loud
  • Doesn’t serve nuts or chips
  • No food menu

Customer Reviews

Extensive list of beers

The best local bar for whiskey fans. The catalogue with their choices is amazing.  It’s a book. Where others couldn’t even tell you what they had, Christy’s not only could tell you but they have what others don’t. Local spot with a lot of fun welcoming banter. A must stop for locals and tourists like us. — Art L, Google Reviews

Lovely, well-kept venue

A hidden gem in Kilkenny. I have only been once and will be back for sure. When speaking with friends I referred to it as the ‘Tardis’ because what you see outside is nothing to what it is inside. A beautiful Irish bar front with an equally lovely bar inside the front door but when you go out to the back the place opens up into an amazing venue with beer gardens (yes, plural as there are at least 2 that I have seen) including a pool room and other attractions. Great place for a gig I reckon. Staff were great and efficient and the place was spotless and kept very well.

A Great spot! — Lisa Farallo, Google Reviews

FAQs About Pubs in Kilkenny

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