The Guinness Storehouse is officially the most popular attraction in Dublin. The old brewery started as a spot for humble beer-making in 1759, and has since been transformed into an educational museum. The Guinness Storehouse now offers seven floors of exhibits dedicated to the 250 years of history of the world’s most famous stout. The beer-centric exhibit is one of the top things to do in Dublin, but this complete guide to the Guinness Storehouse will prepare you to make the most of the experience.
When Arthur Guinness first began brewing ales, he based his operations in County Kildare. However, in 1759, he decided to expand and move the brewery to Dublin. The Guinness founder received an amazing deal on the St. James's Gate property: He agreed to pay a mere £45 (about $26) annually for the four acres of real estate, and he signed a 9,000-year lease.
Within 10 years, the beer maker was exporting his stout in small quantities, and the demand for Guinness soared from there. As exports grew, the Guinness family continued to expand the brewery; they eventually came to own 64 acres of land in Dublin city, where they built offices, staff houses, and all things needed for beer making, including vats and grain silos.
The building that houses the Guinness Storehouse itself was once the area where yeast was added to the brew in order to start fermentation. The building was constructed in 1904, and was converted into a museum and tasting experience in 2000.
How to Get There
The Guinness Storehouse is located at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Most people arrive on foot because it's located near the city center.
In terms of public transportation, it’s easiest to take the red line on the LUAS to the James’s stop.
From O’Connell street, you can also take the 13, 40, or 123 bus. Exit at the James’s St. stop and look for the brewery signs.
If you are driving, there is parking available on Crane Street—but keep in mind that driving in Dublin comes with its own challenges. Taxis are very familiar with the
Guinness Storehouse and can be found at official ranks throughout the city.
They will drop you directly at the entrance.
What to See and Do
While there is still an experimental brewery on site, the small amount of beer produced here is not the main draw. The Guinness Storehouse is really a museum dedicated to the world-famous Irish stout. The museum is divided across seven floors, culminating in a rooftop bar that overlooks the city. The price of an adult ticket includes a beer token, which you can trade in for a free pint of Guinness at the end of your visit.
On the ground floor: You’ll find a huge waterfall and the Arthur Guinness Gallery. The museum overlooks an atrium that is designed to look like a pint of Guinness. If it were a real glass, it would hold 14.3 million pints of beer. This is where you will find a copy of the 9,000-year lease that Arthur Guinness signed to build his brewery here.
On the first floor: Head here to learn about the beer-making process. The exhibit covers everything from how casks (containers for storing beer) are made through to the transportation of the final product.
On the second floor: Here, you'll find the Tasting Experience, where you can learn to identify the aromas in Guinness and sample a very small taste of the beer.
On the third floor: This is one of the most popular floors because it is dedicated to creative Guinness advertisements that have been promoted over the years.
On the fourth floor: While you can absolutely enjoy the perfect pint served by a skilled barman in the bar on the top floor, one of the best things to do at the Storehouse is to learn how to pull your own pint at the Guinness Academy on the fourth floor. There’s an art to pouring a pint of Guinness, so cash in your beer token here to take a try at the supervised taps. An instructor will lead you through the steps, and you can then carry your beer to the bar.
On the top floor: There are no exhibits in the top-floor Gravity Bar, but it quickly becomes everyone’s favorite room. This is where you can drink your free pint (and purchase extra drinks as desired)—but the best thing to do is snag a seat by the window for 360-degree views of the city. The Guinness Storehouse is one of the tallest buildings in Dublin, which means that the bar offers a stunning vantage point from which to admire the Irish capital. Information on the glass windows will help you identify which part of the city you are looking at.
There are plenty of choices for food at the Guinness Storehouse, as well. The Brewer’s Dining Hall serves a traditional Irish menu, while the Cooperage Café has lighter fare like coffee, pastries, and sandwiches. No reservations are required to eat
inside, but you must have purchased Storehouse tickets to reach the various
restaurants and bars.
The experimental Guinness taproom at St. James's Gate is closed to the public most days. However, you can visit on Thursday and Friday afternoons (starting at 4:30 p.m.), or after 2 p.m. on Saturday. Visits and tastings require you to first purchase tickets to the Storehouse and then make your way to the taproom. These events are only open to guests over the age of 18.
Special events are sometimes organized to celebrate the founder (Arthur Guinness in September) or to support emerging Irish artists. For a full calendar of events open to the public, check the online calendar.
Tips for Visiting
- The former brewery receives around a million visitors a year, so it is always a good idea to book your tickets online in order to skip the line. Another reason to buy tickets in advance? The price of the Storehouse visit is discounted up to 25 percent when you purchase through the website.
- If you want to get away from the general crowd, you can book a Connoisseur Experience and be guided through tastings at a private bar.
- The museum experience is child-friendly, but those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The price of a child’s ticket includes a free soft drink.
- Don't arrive too late in the afternoon. The Storehouse closes at 7 p.m., but the last entry is at 5 p.m.. You’ll want to be there by 4:30 p.m. to ensure you get through the doors in time. During July and August, you have a bit more time because the last entrance is extended to 7 p.m., with the Storehouse closing at 9 p.m.
- Guinness is still brewed onsite at St. James’s Gate, but you won’t actually see the beer being made. However, the informative and entertaining exhibits walk you through every step of the brewing process.
- Visiting the Guinness Storehouse is a self-guided experience. Plan to be there for about an hour and a half.