How to Design a Bar in Ireland : 20 Bar Design Concepts and Ideas

Sarah JohnsonAuthor

Aside from location and licences, design is probably the most important thing to consider when you open a bar. Space for bartenders to work at maximum speed and servers to weave around tables to ultimately get drinks in as many hands as possible is absolutely imperative to making money.

But what is all of that worth without a memorable experience that will bring guests back?

In this article, we’ll discuss the best bar interior design ideas and how to apply them as you open your own bar. From traditional Irish pubs to cutting-edge cocktail bars, we’ve got you covered!

Ready to dive into bar decor? Let’s get started.

Restaurant bar design considerations

Creating a beautiful bar is important, but its functionality is essential. As a bar owner, you want to build a space your staff can comfortably work in and easily access all their bar equipment. Some equipment to consider when designing your bar and restaurant include:

  • Ice wells
  • Storage containers and shelving
  • Sinks (both handwashing and dump sinks)
  • Glassware (lots of it)
  • Server station area with garnishes
  • Draft beer lines/kegs

In addition to equipment, you want to make sure your bar area is as spacious as you can make it. One thing about the food and beverage industry is workers are always right on top of each other. It’s easy to run into co-workers during a chaotic shift. Make sure there’s enough space for your staff first and then start considering wall art and ambience.

20 of the best bar designs and concepts in Ireland

Ready for some inspiration? Here are some of the best bar designs, setups, ideas, and concepts that can help you build your bar vision.

1. O'Connor's Famous Pub - Galway

O'Connor's Famous Pub is a beloved establishment in its community. With its inviting atmosphere, rich history, and hearty hospitality, it epitomises the essence of a traditional Irish pub. For lovers of the Irish charm of yesteryear, this pub is a must-visit destination. 

2. Cask - Cork

Cask in Cork City stands out for its innovative approach to mixology and striking design. Nestled on MacCurtain Street, this cocktail bar blends contemporary flair with rustic elements. It features exposed brick walls, natural wood finishes, and an abundance of greenery that creates a cosy yet modern vibe. Its lush courtyard is the perfect meeting place for friends in the warmer months.

3. Loose Canon - Dublin 

Celebrated for its minimalist and chic design, Loose Canon is located in the trendy area of George's Street Arcade. This ultra-cool wine bar and cheese shop features a clean, uncluttered aesthetic that emphasises natural materials and simple elegance.

4. The Long Hall - Dublin 

One of the oldest pubs in Dublin, The Long Hall is an institution, steeped in history and exuding the charm of a bygone era. This iconic pub, located on South Great George's Street, is a favourite among locals and visitors for its authentic Irish pub atmosphere and beautifully preserved Victorian interior. 

5. The Blind Pig Speakeasy - Dublin

Nestled away in the heart of Dublin, The Blind Pig Speakeasy captures the essence of 1920s prohibition-era bars. Dim lighting sets the mood, with soft jazz music playing in the background. The interior is a harmonious blend of vintage and luxury, featuring dark wood panelling, plush leather seating, and classic furnishings. 

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Restaurant Menu Templates

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6. 9 Below - Dublin

Every corner of 9 Below, from the lavish Champagne Room to the snug Library, is crafted with care, creating cosy nooks that invite guests to relax and savour the moment. The decor is thoughtfully selected, featuring custom artwork and luxurious touches like marble and velvet, adding to the sophisticated yet welcoming atmosphere.

7. Bad Bobs Temple Bar - Dublin

Bad Bobs is like a mini-adventure spread over five floors, right in the heart of Dublin. It mixes the feel of a traditional Irish pub with a cool, modern twist. It’s all about fun touches, quirky art, and a laid-back atmosphere. 

8. Peruke & Periwig - Dublin 

A unique Dublin gem, Peruke & Periwig on Dawson Street is where history meets hip. Stepping inside feels like entering an eccentric parlour from the past, where every corner tells a story. The bar is a visual feast, featuring dark wood panelling, plush velvet seating, and walls adorned with an eclectic mix of portraits and antique mirrors. Perfect for a night out that’s a little out of the ordinary, Peruke & Periwig is a slice of old-school Dublin with a twist.

9. 4 Dame Lane - Dublin

4 Dame Lane is a lively and welcoming cocktail bar in the heart of Dublin's nightlife scene. Its design is all about fun and friendliness, with vibrant colours, cosy seating, and quirky décor that adds to the upbeat atmosphere. The bar area is buzzing with energy, while the upstairs lounge offers a more relaxed vibe, perfect for chilling with friends. 

10. The Bar with No Name - Dublin

A hidden gem as mysterious as its name, The Bar With No Name is a pared-back cocktail bar. Its design features a blend of rustic charm and modern flair that creates a hip and relaxed space to drink. The dimly lit interior is adorned with vintage furnishings, eclectic artwork, and flickering candles, setting the stage for an unforgettable night out. 

11. Cafe en Seine - Dublin

Café en Seine is like stepping into a chic Parisian paradise. Its design is a perfect blend of classic elegance and modern flair, with stunning architecture and lush greenery. Whether you're enjoying a cocktail at the glamorous bar or relaxing in the enchanting indoor garden, Café en Seine offers a delightful escape from the ordinary. 

12. Mary’s Bar and Hardware - Dublin

A quirky fusion of two worlds, Mary's Bar & Hardware is a delightful combination of a cosy Irish pub and a nostalgic hardware store. This bar is full of character, with shelves stocked with tools and trinkets, vintage signage, and rustic decor that pays homage to its hardware store roots. 

13. The Mint Bar - Dublin

Previously a bank vault, The Mint Bar is a hidden gem tucked within the historic College Green Hotel. Soft lighting and an inviting atmosphere make it the perfect spot to unwind with one of the many cocktails on offer. The bar itself is truly a masterpiece, crafted from exquisite marble and shelves stocked high with an impressive array of spirits. 

14. Vintage Cocktail Club - Dublin

Vintage Cocktail Club is tucked away behind an unassuming doorway however, once inside, you’ll be transported to the glamorous 1920s era. The plush velvet seating, dim lighting, and vintage decor create an atmosphere of old-world elegance. Check out this bar for a unique experience that'll bring you back in time.

15. The Big Romance - Dublin

A laid-back and welcoming bar, The Big Romance is all about the good times and great vibes. Situated in the heart of the city, it's a cosy haven where friends gather to relax, unwind, and enjoy each other's company. Inside it’s all about comfort with eclectic décor, mismatched furniture, and quirky accents creating a unique and inviting atmosphere. Whether you're perched at the bar, lounging on a sofa, or chilling out in the outdoor seating area, you'll feel right at home. 

16. An Púcán - Galway

At An Púcán in Galway, the outdoor area is a delightful extension of the bar's warm and welcoming atmosphere. The spacious outdoor area is thoughtfully designed, with comfortable seating and vibrant greenery. With regular live music performances showcasing the best of traditional Irish music and contemporary hits, there's always something happening to keep the party going.

17. Shuffleboard Bar - Dublin 

Shuffleboard Bar is a trendy spot known for its laid-back style, tasty food, and of course, shuffleboard! The focal point of the space is the shuffleboard area, where guests can test their skills and compete against friends. The concept is all about creating a relaxed and casual atmosphere where friends can unwind and have a good time over a game or two.

18. The Odeon - Dublin

The Odeon is a standout venue known for its unique blend of historic charm and contemporary style. Housed in a former railway station dating back to the 19th century, it's a true icon of the city's nightlife scene. It’s a captivating mix of old and new, with original architectural features such as high ceilings, ornate detailing, and grand archways set against modern furnishings and sleek decor. 

19. Opium - Dublin

Located in the heart of Dublin's bustling nightlife scene, Opium is a must-visit venue that encompasses a bar, restaurant, and nightclub. It's renowned for its unique fusion of East Asian-inspired decor, contemporary design, and vibrant atmosphere. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the outdoor terrace, a tranquil oasis where you can unwind and soak in the atmosphere while sipping on a cocktail.

20. Riot - Dublin

Looking for an unforgettable dive bar experience in Dublin? As the name suggests, Riot is a celebration of urban culture and creativity. Every corner of the bar is covered with vibrant graffiti murals, bold street art, and eye-catching neon signs. This bar promises a one-of-a-kind experience that combines the best of Brooklyn's dive bar culture with the edgy sophistication of Berlin's nightlife scene.

Set your bar up for success

Now that you’ve read about these 20 incredible bar design ideas, pick and choose what details make the most sense for your bar layout. What comes after that? Your bar will not succeed without the right staff. Great bartenders respect their craft and are creative, motivated, and excited to come to work every day. 

To find excellent candidates, you can use sites such as:

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