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May 5 2017

Lively music and plenty of pints: A pub crawl in Galway, Ireland

It should come as no surprise that Galway, Ireland is home to great nightlife: The country is covered in pubs, and the presence of a major university, plus a reputation as a hotbed for traditional music make Galway one of the best places to embark on a pub crawl. Anywhere you go in the city, you can generally rely on a friendly atmosphere, good pints and whiskeys, and pub fare that ranges from serviceable to excellent, plus many offer live music nightly. These are a few pubs that we think stand out in Galway for their notable food, lengthy whiskey lists and stellar music.

                                               

                                      The facade of the King's Head Pub; photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The King's Head is one of the oldest pubs in Galway—it's been in operation since the 1600s, but the building dates from the 13th century—and it also happens to serve one of the city's finest menus of pub fare. The burger and fish and chips are recommended, but the menu is varied and offers several homey, traditional Irish plates, too. Great Guinness and an ample whiskey list, along with friendly staff and a comfortable, low-key vibe make this place a must-visit. Like all great Irish pubs, it hosts live music every night of the week.

An Pucan has the relaxed and cheerful vibe of many Irish pubs, but its unassuming facade belies its greatest strength: A whiskey list that's more than 200 labels longs, many of which you won't find anywhere else in Galway. Outside that impressive list, the menu features classic brews and pub fare, and there is music every night. The service and the food are good, and this is an enjoyable stop along any pub crawl or for a lively night of music, but it is certainly of especial interest to whiskey enthusiasts.

                              

                               A small slice of the extensive collection of whiskeys at An Pucan; photo via Liquid Irish.

Crane Bar is practically synonymous with the word "music" in Galway—this is the place for live music, and it's known for having played host to many of Ireland's biggest stars right before they broke into national notoriety. Two stages feature performers nightly, with music ranging from traditional Irish to country, blues and roots. The atmosphere is friendly and the pints are reliably delicious. It's popular with locals who are often happy to talk with you about their music and heritage.

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