Travel: Visiting Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse for the Holidays

It’s looking a lot like Christmas at the Guinness Storehouse, and the best present the place can offer takes 119 seconds to settle and a good long time to drink.

Already a central tourist attraction for travelers to Dublin and social HQ for locals, the Storehouse rises seven stories over a brewery that’s been producing beer for the better part of three centuries. The complex wraps around a glass atrium shaped into a gigantic version of the traditional Guinness pint glass offers everything from historical exhibits to shopping to dining.

Now festooned with Christmas lights and holiday paraphernalia, the Storehouse was bustling during a recent visit. Some travelers come to enjoy the complex’s museum experience — walking through a historical record of Guinness’ history while learning how the internationally famous brew comes together.

Also: Pouring a Perfect Pint of Guinness Stout

Visitors from around the world follow a small army of tour guides and translators through a constantly growing and evolving series of exhibits. Most recently, the minds behind the Storehouse most recently added an exploration of the groundbreaking and iconic graphic design and advertising work from artist John Gilroy. Ads like those are just a tiny glimpse into the strong influence Guinness continues to show over Ireland and Irish history.

Of course, beyond its history and significance in Irish culture. Guinness is about the drinking and enjoyment of good beer. High atop the complex, the Gravity Bar offers each Storehouse visitor a free pint of stout and a 360 degree view of Dublin’s surrounds. If a visitor would prefer to attempt serving a pint of Guinness on their own, they can take lessons on the perfect pour at the Guinness Academy. If they stick around a little longer, the Academy’s teachers will lay out a few basic Guinness cocktail and highball recipes for sampling later.

On the culinary front, the Guinness Storehouse offers three separate food and drink experiences for the visiting traveler – The Brewers’ Dining Hall, Arthur’s Bar and the 1837 Bar & Brasserie. While all of the dining stops are well-steeped in Guinness, the 1837 specializes in Guinness’ interaction with classic Irish recipes. It’s a shame if you venture through the Storehouse without trying a bowl of Guinness Irish Stew with a side of soda bread.

Beyond serving the traditional Guinness draft, the drinking and dining spots around the Storehouse offer chances to sample some of the brewer’s lesser known or international varieties. Beer enthusiasts should make sure to try out Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Guinness Nitro IPA and Guinness Dublin Porter.

Finally, not everything within the Guinness Storehouse serves travelers, diners and enthusiastic imbibers. The Guinness Archive lives inside the complex, and its dedicated historians keep track of records on everything from menu books dating from the brewers’ earliest days, classic advertisements and endless explorations of bottles and labels from around the world.

The Guinness Storehouse remains open year round. Of course, the Christmas spirit will fade on December 26, but you have to figure it’s a hell of a place to spend New Year’s Eve.