Nightlife in Dublin is orchestrated by two entertainment supremos—Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You may have heard of them: Dr. Jekyll clocks on as the Dublin office crowd clocks off. He presides over early evening cocktails, performances at the Abbey and Gate theaters, the first surges of Guinness in old Dublin pubs like Kehoe's, and zesty smells at hip restaurants like Saba and L'Gueuleton. Meander about during this wonderful witching hour, and you'll sense cosmopolitanism in the Dublin air. Come midnight, however, Mr. Hyde's shift begins. He is responsible for turning conversation into confrontation; scintillating wit into slurring wackiness. He sets punters waddling into the passing traffic, fast food joints, and each other. Can you have one type of Dublin nightlife without the other? Tourists happy to lap up "paddywhackery" during the day are often shocked at how Ireland's relationship with alcohol plays itself out—in glorious Technicolor—at night. There, we've said it. Now go party.
Closing times in Dublin are famously flexible. By law, last orders are Mondays through Thursdays, 11:30 pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 12:30 am; and Sundays, 11 pm. You have about 30 minutes to drink up. On weekends, late bars serve to 1:30 am, and nightclubs to 2:30 am.