2016 Award Winners PUB OF THE YEAR 2016

MacCarthy's Bar, Castletownbere, Co Cork

MacCarthys Bar

While Irish pubs in general are going through a challenging time, the pub experience remains one of the highlights of a visit to this country for visitors from abroad, who love the unique atmosphere and the craic. And as long as there are family run pubs as good as this one - which would make no claim to be a ‘food pub’,incidentally, but anything it serves is honest (simple and delicious) - the future of the Irish pub is assured.

There’s been a lot of talk (too much perhaps) about authenticity of late - but when we see it we recognise it, and there’s no question but that it’s the real thing.

Such is the case with a real Irish pub - it doesn’t need flashing lights or a voice over, it is just itself. And the one we’re honoured to have as our Pub of the Year this year, Adrienne MacCarthy’s timeless West Cork bar in Castletownbere, is a supreme example of the genre, totally unaffected by its great fame - people travel from all over the world to see it for themselves and never, ever, is anyone disappointed by what they find.

It still has the traditional shop at the front (a working shop, not a museum piece) where fishermen and local workmen drop in for a pint, the bar is a pleasing jumble of memorabilia associated with the pub itself and the MacCarthy family’s distinguished history.

The (coincidentally, not artlessly!) mismatched furniture is comfortable enough for eating (anyone for a simply superb crab sandwich?) and, if you can get a seat, for a night out enjoying their famous music sessions. They don’t make them like this any more, although they certainly try. A true gem. 

10 votes


Castletownbere, Co. Cork
Character Pub
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Pub with good food and atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Dating back to the 1870s, and currently run by Adrienne MacCarthy, this famous old pub and grocery store really is the genuine article - and the family history is both intriguing and inspiring (just ask about her father's Japanese sword - or buy the bo ...

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