Fibber Magees: The Best Alternative Bar in Dublin

Dublin has many different bars/nightclubs (including alternative places like Fibber Magees), ranking as the seventh best city in Europe for nightlife. Although Ireland’s capital city offers mainstream places, it also offers an alternative scene that should not be overlooked. Fibber Magees (also Fibbers for short) is one such place where the alternative scene in Dublin thrives with live music, DJ events, and a joint outdoor/smoking area with neighbouring pubs The Living Room and Murray’s.

Fibber Magees – History

Image: Tripadvisor

Image: Tripadvisor

Established in 1979, Fibbers is a bar placing itself within Dublin’s rock and metal scene, and in Ireland’s alternative scene as a whole.  The bar made a name for itself through live music acts both big and small playing there, including acts like U2, Thin Lizzy, Machine Head, and Every Time I Die as examples of bands that have played there. Fibber Magees is also regarded as being a Dive bar,  which is defined (with a lot of debate around its definition) as “any cheap bar with a local flavor”, usually having its own distinct atmosphere accompanying it. 

Fibber Magees features this distinct atmosphere with its dim, sparse lighting accompanying rock and metal paraphernalia across its walls. Its layout is spread across a main bar as you walk in its front entrance, a shared beer garden that doubles as its smoking area, and a basement level with its own upstairs smoking area. Fibbers’s smoking area was due to be closed down for a Holiday Inn Express extension to replace it in 2022, but the area still stands as of this time of writing. This is in part thanks to the efforts of the activist group Rock for Culture, who protested the development plans, alongside petitions to cancel the development plans too.

Fibber Magees – Beer Garden

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Image: District Magazine

One of the key draws of Fibber Magees is its shared beer garden with the neighbouring bars The Living Room and Murray’s. This space acts as a smoking area, a space to play pool, and an outdoor seating area for everyone to converse in. The smoking area of Fibbers is renowned as a social space within the pub and rich with paintings showing pop culture icons like C-3P0 and R2-D2 from the Star Wars universe and graffiti/street art works. It has several pool tables for customers to make use of, with queues to have the next game commonplace during its busiest times.

The fact that the beer garden is also joined with both The Living Room and Murray’s brings social opportunity to meet others of different tastes in pubs too. Food can also be ordered from Fibber Magees’s menu to have either inside the bar and outside at the smoking area, including choices like chicken wings and burgers for people to choose from. Sports fans can also watch football matches, UFC, Formula One and the like, on a large screen display in the beer garden between the three bars or at screens in the smoking area or the main bar. How versatile the smoking area of Fibber Magees proves itself to be, is what makes it a standout feature for the place.

Fibber Magees – Live Music

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Fibbers also play host to a series of live performances from local acts in the rock and metal music scene and events in their basement and ground level. The ground level of Fibbers is where a lot of the live performances take place, with some of them also happening at the basement level. For example, Fibber Magees usually plays host to tribute bands including Lynn Thizzy and local and upcoming acts such as the punk band Jobseekers too. These shows can be either free of charge at the door, a “pay what you want” affair to go to a charity of choice on the night, or else there is an entry fee depending on the event in question.

Meanwhile, their basement level features events such as the Pop-Punk/Emo/Rock/Pop/Nu-Metal event on every first and third Friday of each month: Sabotage. Events like Sabotage and DJs playing sets based on specific themes/genres are commonplace on this level, but gigs from live bands/artists can also happen here too. One such example is their monthly RAGE event, which is a rock and metal oriented night for local bands in the rock and metal scene to perform in, where you “pay what you want” at the door. All of Fibber Magees’s ongoing/upcoming events can always be found here in their events section and promoted across their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages respectively.

fibber magees in summary

These elements of Fibbers come together to form it as we know it today and from its establishment in 1979. Fibber Magees would not have the brand name for itself that it does if not for its historical footprint in Dublin’s and Irish culture, unique beer garden, and live music offering at its ground and basement floors.  The consistent and high quality engagement with Ireland’s alternative scene over the years also earns Fibber Magees its positive reputation as one of the best alternative bars in Dublin.

Have you ever been to Fibber Magees? What would you say draws you to Fibbers if you regularly go or are a fan of there and why? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!

Address: 80-81 Parnell St, Rotunda, Dublin 1, D01 CK74

Opening Hours:

Monday – Sunday: 12pm – 3am


Matthew Lehane
Matthew Lehane

An upcoming MA graduate in New Media and Digital Culture in Utrecht University, with a BA in English, Media and Cultural Studies from IADT, and a QQI Level 5 qualification in Arts, Culture, and History from DFEI. The topics written (and edited) to date for Babylon Radio range from film, tourism, and photography, with a broader range to come during this internship and in future work.

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