So you’ve spent the day hiking Croagh Patrick’s slopes, powering through the Atlantic’s waves or cycling the Greenway’s miles. You’ve earned a bit of R&R. Whatever way you choose to unwind after the sun goes down, you’ll find there is loads going on after dark in Westport. And the best part? Everything’s within walking distance of everything else – no hanging around at bus stops or forking out for taxis – stroll around the town at your leisure, drifting from one place to the next, and allow yourself to be tempted into a great night out. Here are our top tips for Westport after dark…
A Guide To Westport After Dark
Party into the wee hours and shake it up on the dance floor at the Castle Late Night Venue just beside the Plaza Hotel. Spread over two floors, its four rooms each have their own style – clubby house and dance, retro vibe, opulence and glamour or mellow acoustic. There’s also plenty of space to dance to DJs in Cosy Joe’s and Henehan’s on Bridge Street. Check out the pubs too – McGing’s and The Clock often have brilliant gigs, and a spontaneous spot of dancing is always on the cards.
A Night at the Theatre
Did you know Westport has a 225 seater state of the art theatre and music venue and is often the starting point of a great night out for visitors and locals alike? From international touring shows to local talent there's always something of interesting waiting in the wings. Watch out for the St Patricks Drama group who always bring the house down with their plays and musicals. The theatre also hosts an everchanging art gallery and the small bar upstairs has a beautiful vantage point over the town centre to enjoy with a pre-show tipple.
Laid Back & Timeless
Climb onto a high stool or grab a low table at any one of the town’s traditional bars, and you’ll find it hard to leave without having befriended a local or another visitor. Moran’s on Bridge Street still has a grocer’s shop in the front bar, while McGing’s, the town’s oldest pub, is welcoming and warm. Overlooking The Mall river, Toby’s on The Fairgreen goes back a fair bit too – they’ve been pouring the pints there since 1856. Blouser’s old-world charm, open fire and relaxed banter are a real draw for visitors and locals alike. There’s also the front bar of Matt Molloy’s, which has a gorgeous dark-wood feel, while McBride’s boasts a massive fire and cozy snugs.
Many of the town’s bars host live music every week, and all for free. If it’s top trad you’re after, the most famous spot in town is Matt Molloy’s, where regular trad sessions take place in the ‘back bar’. Hup and toe-tap along to the spirit-raising airs beside a crackling fire. Bliss. Drop into McGing’s on High Street on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, and you could be treated to anything from folk to alt-rock or bluegrass to jazz. The Gallery Wine Bar and Tapas often has intimate, eclectic gigs, as well as the occasional open-mic night. And there’s The Clock, where live rock and alt-pop acts frequently have patrons up on their feet.
If you just want to kick-back and chill out in a quiet bar, settle yourself and your friends into any one of the plush hotel bars in Westport and watch the world go by and meet some fellow travelers. The emphasis here is on comfort, elegance and style wherever you go. Choices include the Brehon Bar at Knockranny House Hotel, The Bench Café Bar in Westport Woods, the Coast Bar at the Westport Coast Hotel, Petie Joe’s at the Castlecourt Hotel, Madden’s Bar at The Clew Bay Hotel, the Maple Bar in Hotel Westport, the Plaza Bar at Westport Plaza Hotel, the Park Terrace Wine Bar at The Wyatt Hotel (pictured above). All serve great bar food, as well as delicious tipples to wash it all down.
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Westport has more restaurants than you can shake a stick of lemongrass at, with a range of ethnic, traditional and contemporary cuisine to tempt you to loosen your belt. For Italian, try La Bella Vita, Il Vulcano or Torrinos, or head to Woodfire for a pizza. If you want to feel the heat, try Everest, a fabulous Nepalese and Indian restaurant housed in a 19th- century Methodist church. For contemporary cuisine, check out the amazing plates at Sage and the Pantry and Corkscrew, while award winning An Port Mór has a richly deserved reputation for working magic with seasonal, artisan produce from local suppliers. And don’t forget about fine dining in the hotel restaurants, with La Fougère at the Knockranny House Hotel sitting pretty at the top of the food chain!