Part and parcel of a trip to Galway is definitely seeing some live music in a great Galway bar. If you spend time in Galway without checking out at least one of Galway’s best live music pubs, be sure not to tell anybody!! It is almost something to be ashamed of ….
Galway is my favourite city in Ireland, and that says a lot as I’m from Dublin. Galway is an amazing place to experience traditional Irish music, in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The 2020 European Capital of Culture has no shortage of fantastic live music venues. By the way these Galway live music bars have not been listed in any special preference. Also we are also compiling the Galway Gig Guide here for you.
Live Music In Galway: Our List of the Best Galway Music Pubs
1. An Pucán, Galway City
11 Forster St, Galway, Phone: (091) 376 561
Named after the local traditional sailing boats of Connemara, you’ll find An Pucán bar on Forster Street, on the corner of the main Galway Square; Eyre Square. This place is all about the great Galway and Irish craic.
Although there isn’t traditional music every night of the week, it is a pub that has plenty of characters, so it’s worth a visit for that alone. You might be lucky and have a spontaneous Irish music session just start up while you’re there ….watch out for someone playing the spoons!
In 2014 it changed hands and had a big renovation job done. So now it is much bigger than before, with a number of stages for gigs and different bars. Below you can see a number of the upcoming music events at An Pucán.
2. Seven Bridgestreet, Galway City
5-7 Bridge St, Galway, Phone: (091) 563 804
Enjoy a range of music, with live national and international acts, plus DJs. You’ll find Seven Bridgestreet in the lovely Latin Quarter of Galway.
This pub has an amazing ambience and delicious cocktails. If you’re in Galway on a Monday night, then you really need to check out the 18-piece Black Magic Big Band at the Seven Bar.
Check out these great gigs that are lined up at the Seven Bar & The Loft over the coming weeks and months.
3. Taylor’s Bar & Beer Garden
Taylor’s Bar & Beer Garden is an establishment that is literally oozing history. A hidden gem that was originally home to a merchant in the 1830’s, today you can find this great live music pub on Galway’s Dominick Street. And wait for it, you can bring your best friend with you as well …yes, Taylor’s is a dog friendly bar. So you can bring your pooch for a pint!
Historically this pub was a magnet for creative types, being a much loved favourite with musicians, artists and writers. However in 2004, an era came to an end when Taylor’s closed its doors. Luckily the bar was taken over by its visionary owners, who re-opened this bohemian corner of Galway in July 2018. Now not only can you enjoy a drink with your friends listening to live music seven nights a week, but you can also hang out in one of Ireland’s best beer gardens.
4. Joe Watty’s Bar, Inis Mor, Aran Islands
Stáisiun Doiteain Inis Mor, Kilronan, Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Phone: (099) 20892
Located on the biggest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor (Inishmore), Joe Watty’s offers a warm welcome and live traditional Irish music. In the summertime (May – September), there are live music sessions every night of the week from 8 pm. The rest of the year there are live music sessions during the weekends.
You can be sure of a ‘Ceád Milé Failté’ (A Thousand Welcomes) and plenty of craic at Joe Watty’s. Enjoy a pint of Guinness, Irish Coffee or your favourite tipple, as you drink with the island’s locals, in front of a welcoming, warm fire.
Bar Food is on offer every day from 12.30 until 9 pm. With freshly caught seafood, it is hard to resist choosing some fresh fish, lobster, mussels or crab. However there are also a variety of vegetarian and meat dishes available.
Visiting the Aran Islands is something very special …it is like travelling back in time. A visit to Joe Watty’s, located at the crossroads of the Seal Colony and Dún Aengus, really completes this experience!
You might enjoy this Galway feature where the Aran Islands are featured as no. 5 : Galway Most Beautiful Places & A Few Local Legends
5. Monroe’s Tavern Galway City
Dominick Street, Galway City, Phone: (091) 583397
Situated on the west side of Galway city is Monroe’s Tavern, where not only can you find great craic and live Irish music, but this is also one of the most likely places in Galway city where you can hear Irish (Gaelic, Gaeilge) spoken.
While its large size may be deceptive, inside Monroe’s Tavern is warm and cosy, with a wonderful intimate atmosphere. Beautiful stain glass windows frame a heart warming interior, where you can have a pint of Guinness by the fire, as the Irish music seeps into your soul.
Open since 1964, the other great thing about Monroe’s is the feeling of being one of the locals, even though you’re a tourist! There’s live music there seven nights a week. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday night, there is live Irish dancing that you can join if you have the nerve!!
6. O’Connor’s Famous Pub, Salthill, Galway
Salthill House, Upper Salthill Road, Galway, Phone: (091) 523 468
Established in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, this cosy pub has welcomed many a famous face over the years. Check out these familiar faces of this Galway best music pub ….so you’ll know whose footsteps you’re following in when you head there.
Inside the decor is bric-a-brac and outside there is also seating! Not only is this a historic and great place to enjoy some trad music, but there is also an extensive Irish whiskey collection.
7. Taaffes Bar Galway City
Shop Street, Galway City, Phone: (091) 564066
Photo credit: Taaffes Bar
Taaffes is one of those places that you should be able to listen to a trad Irish music session, at almost any time. Officially the sessions are on each day at 5 pm and 9 pm.
Plonked right in the middle of the shopping area, Taaffes is a busy bar at all times.
8. Thatched Pub, Inis Meain, Aran Islands
The name of the pub in Irish is Teach Osta Inis Meain which translates into Thatched House (Teach is house) as opposed to pub, but in the old days a pub really was an open house anyhow.
Out of the summer season, Inis Meain has a population of 130, but this doubles during the summer months. The owners, Meg and Pádraic, welcome lots of great musicians at this time of the year.
However the rest of the year, this is not a bar to go to expecting a definite traditional Irish music session. It is a pub for the locals and an impromptu session may or may not start up….maybe on a Sunday afternoon, depending on the mood. However if you have the good luck of being there when it does, it is an authentic experience not to be missed.
Visiting the island itself is an experience that is a real tonic coming from most places in our incredibly hectic modern 21st century world.
9. The Bar, Inis Mor Aran Islands
The imaginatively named, The Bar, on Inis Mor, is another pub where session may just start depending on who is in there having a drink, during the winter.
During the summer however, there are local musicians who come in to play together. If you’re able to play an instrument, be sure to bring it along and join the session.
10. The Crane Bar Galway City
Sea Road, Galway City, Phone: (091) 587419
If you’re looking for traditional Irish music any night of the week, then the Crane Bar is the place to go. Its reputation as a superb music venue precedes it so much so that many visitors will head there, even though it is located in Galway’s west side.
Its wonderful Victorian façade dates to the 1800’s and inside you can choose whether to be on the ground floor, or to head upstairs for the music that kicks off every night at 9.30 pm.
The Crane also offers different music genres these days.
11. The Quays, Galway City
Quay Lane, Galway, Phone: (091) 568 347
The Quays has been around for about 400 years. It has a striking church organ sitting behind its stage, where music specials are frequently recorded.
Located in Galway’s Latin Quarter, this is an award winning music pub. Most recently it won the City Bar of the Year in 2016, and in 2010, it won the coveted All Ireland Music Bar Award.
You can enjoy trad Irish music in the Quays many nights during the week.
12. Tig Coili Bar Galway City
Mainguard Street, Galway City, Phone: (091) 561294
Tig Coili Pub is one of Galway’s and Ireland’s most famous music pubs. The likes of Sharon Shannon have been known to join in on the spur of the moment to music sessions there!
You can find Tig Coilí at the end of Galway’s main shopping street. It is heaving with a great atmosphere, but do be aware that it is incredibly busy in the summer season.
13. Tigh Neachtain’s, Galway City
17 Cross Street, Galway, Phone: (091) 568 820
Since 1894, the bartenders at Tigh Neachtain have been pulling pints for locals and visitors. As it has been featured in many of the travel guide books, it is possibly Galway’s most famous music pub.
So many of Ireland’s talented musicians have played in this pub over the years that in 2011, a music album was released: the Ceol Tigh Neachtain album.
The list of names that have played at Tigh Neachtain include Sharon Shannon, Kevin Hough, Deirbhile Ni Bhrolchain, Brendan O’Regan, Brian Lennon and Breda Smyth.
This great Galway music pub’s reputation does mean that you just never know who you might see there! This includes not only talented musicians, but also the rich and famous, that also want to experience that special piece of the Irish music action!
14. The Western Hotel, Galway
33 Prospect Hill, Galway, Phone: (091) 562 834
If you are in Galway on a Thursday night, then head to the Western Hotel as this is where a big music session happens. All sorts of musicians turn up here every Thursday, and it turns out to be an unmissable music gathering. You can even join in if you like!! This special gig happens at 9.30 pm.
15. Roisín Dubh, Galway City
9 Dominick Street Upper, Galway
Last but certainly not least is the Roisín Dubh. In fact, there are plenty of people who consider the Roisín Dubh to be an important, driving creative force behind the Galway amazing entertainment scene.
The Roisin Dubh is a legendary music venue and one of the most respected in all of Ireland. Its intimate atmosphere and worldwide reputation has attracted names such as Steve Early, Ray Manzarek and John Paul Jones. Some of Ireland’s greatest musicians have also gigged there, including The Frames, Christy Moore and The Saw Doctors.
It was bought by new owners back in 2004, but thankfully the extensive work they carried out on the premises managed to extend it without losing its very special ambience.