Ireland is known for its love for booze. In fact, the country shared a couple of its best products with the world. We have the best Irish whiskey brands including Jameson, Redbreast, Green Spot, Connemara, and Teeling, Irish red ale-style beer like Smithwick’s, and the famous dark Irish dry stout called Guinness.
Wherever you are in Ireland, you can find a great pub or cocktail bar under the radar. If you’re lucky, you can even go to a brewery and distillery to learn more about the elaborate process of transforming your favorite drink from mere grains to a chilled glass of good stuff.
If you’re in Cork, the food capital of Ireland, make sure to leave room for drinking after all those hours of tasting and munching. Cork is a fun drinking town, with lots of experiences for live music, sing-a-longs, brewery tours, and of course, gulping tap beers and Irish whiskey. Without further ado, here are 5 ways to get high-quality Irish booze (and drinking experience) in Cork Ireland.
1. Stick to classic bars to sample the best Cork spirits
The terms “bar” and “pub” are often used interchangeably to refer to places of drinking. However, they don’t mean the same thing. A bar serves drinks, while a pub usually serves both drinks and food. Pubs may also offer lodging, and they can be called “inn” for such purpose.
So if you want to focus on sampling exceptional locally-crafted drinks and award-winning signature drinks, Cork is home to the best bars in Ireland. The county has a wide array of bars, from modern high-end cocktail bars in Cork city like Cask in the Victorian quarter to rustic-style bars in small villages, offering a great selection of local beers.
In Cork, Guinness is rarely favored – locals prefer their local brews including Murphy’s and Beamish stouts, so go ahead and try them. You’ll also be thrilled to know that powerhouse whiskey brands including Jameson, Green Spot, West Cork, Hyde, Knappogue Castle, Midleton, and Redbreast ( which won the “best in the world” award from International Wine and Spirit Competition) are all distilled in Cork.
2. Pair Cork’s signature drinks with traditional Irish dishes
Pubs in Ireland and the UK aren’t solely for drinking. You can find pubs serving families and hosting special occasions like birthdays, weddings, baptisms, and even funerals. Unlike bars, pubs serve great-tasting food. They’re not your usual, light bar finger food – they’re actually warm and hearty meals like Irish lamb stew.
For wholesome traditional food, The Old Town Whiskey Bar at Bodega is a must-try, serving brunch and steaks 7 days a week. Rising Sons Brewery is also serving Cork’s finest pizza, along with their award-winning house brews.
3. Immerse yourself into the Irish nightlife and dance the night away
What better way to enjoy your drink than to have it with live music? In Cork, you won’t just have a taste of their local craft beer but also a taste of their cultural heritage.
Bars and pubs that offer live music include Larry Tompkins Pub, South County Bar and Cafe, Jim Cashman’s Pub, An Bróg, An Crannog, Bar Rumba, Readrdans, Le Cheile, The Oyster, and The Bodega.
But if you’re looking for traditional Irish music, Sin É is the place to be. It is, after all, the home to Cork’s longest-running traditional music session. If it’s late-night dancing with jazz, blues, and burlesque music you’re after, you may head to Crane Lane Theatre, one of the best venues for live music and nightlife.
4. Join Cork Ale Trail
A walking tour filled with booze and fun-loving strangers? Yes please. A couple of brewers and Irish craft beer pubs have joined forces to create the Cork Ale Trail. Walk down the River Lee and hit several pubs that stock Cork craft beer in one afternoon. It’s one heck of a booze-filled adventure that’s perfect if you only have a day or two in Cork.
5. Visit breweries to enjoy Cork craft beer right from its source
I think we can all agree: a pint of beer tastes better when you learn more about its rich history as well as the meticulous process of crafting this legendary spirit. If you’re in Cork, consider yourself lucky: we’ve got a wealth of breweries that are just a short drive (or walk) from the city center.
Let’s start with the Franciscan Well Brewery and Brewpub built on the site of the 1219 Franciscan Monastery and Well. The brewery combines tradition and modern technology to create a classic beer collection including ale, stout, lager, and wheat beer. Breweries including Rising Sons, White Deer Brewery, Eight Degrees Brewing Company, Elbow Lane, and West Cork Brewing Company, and Blacks of Kinsale should also make it to your list.
Aside from serving exceptional spirits, these breweries also offer tours for those interested in learning more about the craft of beer making.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys discovering hidden gems and writing engaging articles about food, travel, and lifestyle. And yes, she loves cocktails and happy hours too! To know more about cocktails, you may visit Cask Cork.