Cork is perhaps best known for the Blarney Stone, the legendary block of limestone that will apparently grant the gift of the gab to anyone who kisses it.
In addition to the questionable hygiene practices of thousands of tourists all kissing the same piece of rock every day, acquiring the gift of the gab requires a degree of flexibility since you need to lie on your back and hang over the side of a wall so that you can tilt your head back and kiss the rock.
If you’ve gone through all this trouble and want to put your newly developed loquaciousness to the test, what better way to do it than on a night out in Cork? As the Republic of Ireland’s second-biggest city, Cork packs everything you could want, including these top nocturnal spots.
Macau Casino & Restaurant Complex
While there are venues in Galway to play card games like Texas hold ’em, Omaha hi-lo, and blackjack, none quite compare to the Las Vegas-style casinos you can find in Cork.
One of Cork’s best gaming establishments is the Macau Casino & Restaurant Complex located on the north bank of the River Lee. Inside, you’ll find everything you need for a thrilling night out.
Its casino floor has all the table games and slot machines you’d expect, including Texas hold ’em and Omaha poker which will be quite familiar if you enjoy playing poker online.
The main poker room hosts regular no-limit and pot-limit cash games and tournaments. You can also book private events for special occasions.
That’s not all, though. Sports fans can also enjoy live games of just about any sport you can think of, including boxing, baseball, rugby, UFC, and American football.
If all the poker and sports have worked you up an appetite, you can enjoy some of the gourmet dishes that are served up in its two restaurants. You’ll find a range of burgers and steaks in the lounge, while the Macau Casino Menu is filled with popular Chinese dishes like sweet and sour chicken and satay beef.
Charlie’s is a traditional pub that’s a popular watering hole among the locals, with traditional wooden benches and a welcoming coal fire. It’s a “morning-ba” too, so you can enjoy drinks in this friendly environment from 7 AM.
While it hasn’t got the casino and poker game offering of the Macau Casino & Restaurant Complex, it does have just about everything else. With plenty of live sport, including big events like the Six Nations, you can follow the action of your favourite teams while enjoying a wide selection of drinks.
Charlie’s Bar also holds regular live gigs, with a range of acts from traditional Irish folk music to Hendrix tributes.
The Secret Garden
Describing itself as a “fairy tale for grown-ups,” The Secret Garden is an outdoor nightclub that has some of Cork’s best live music and DJs in an ambiance that wouldn’t be out of place in Alice in Wonderland or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
It’s got traditional garden decorations like trellis and wooden benches, but that’s mixed in with a peculiar set of tables made from models of sheep inside a glass case.
The club recently added The Hidden Attic, which offers a different feel and atmosphere. With a decor that looks like a random collection of old furniture, along with displays of random things like chess boards, dolls, and old film reels, it aims to be a “treasure trove” of remnants from the past. It’s kept the stuffed animal theme though, with a giant bear in a glass case, which will certainly make for some interesting photos from your night out.
If you want to do something a bit more lively, then why not head to Airtastic? Open until 10 PM most nights and 11 PM on Friday and Saturday, this entertainment centre packs 10-pin bowling, minigolf, and arcade amusements.
While it doesn’t offer the quirky ambiance of other venues, it’s still a great place to hang out with friends for an evening.
The onsite kitchen and bar serve up various dishes and drinks for you to enjoy while you play.
An Bróg looks like another traditional Irish pub on the outside, but on the inside, it’s awash with eccentric styling and decor. It’s got an old VW campervan, tables made from ancient barrels, and some artwork that looks like it’s been lifted from the box art of a Grand Theft Auto Game.
This look is no accident. The place was specially designed by Audrey Gaffney Associations, a Dublin based architects practice.
An Bróg has been open to the public since 1992 and has become one of the most popular nighttime venues among residents of Cork. It’s very lively inside, so don’t expect to receive much in the way of personal space as it’s always busy, but this is part of its charm, and you’ll likely make plenty of friends.
Reidy’s Wine Vault Bar
Located a little out of the city centre, Reidy’s Wine Vault Bar is a little more sedate than An Bróg, making it a great place to relax and chat with friends. With a decent selection of drinks and pub food that you can enjoy in the beer garden, Reidy’s is the perfect place for a summer’s night out.
From poker to stuffed bears, whatever you’re looking for in Cork, the city has it all, making it a great option for a night out away from Galway.