Oh My Guinness!: Touring the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

There's nothing quite as good the perfect pour of a pint of Guinness. Here's some insider tips for your visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.

As someone with a long line of Irish ancestors on the family tree (as in, I’m Irish all year round and not just on St. Patrick’s Day), you might say I’ve got Guinness running through my veins.

In my thirty-odd years on this planet, I’ve found there’s nothing quite as good the perfect pour of a pint of the Black Stuff. That’s why, on our recent family heritage trip in May 2017, we knew we’d need to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Grail of Beer Lovers — er, I mean the Guinness Storehouse — in Dublin, Ireland.

After spending six hours (!) at the joint, we’re here to share what to do — and not do — on your visit to the Guinness Storehouse.

What Exactly is the Guinness Storehouse, Anyway?

The short version: Guinness Storehouse is the ultimate beertopia for Guinness fans around the world — a veritable paradise where you can eat, drink, and be merry.

The long version: Guinness Storehouse is Dublin’s number one tourist attraction, which is perhaps unsurprising given that the city’s oldest pub dates back to 1198 (yes, you read that correctly — the Irish have been knocking back pints for well over 800 years, so they know a thing or two about good beer). In fact, the Guinness Storehouse, which opened in 2000 at St. James’s Gate Brewery, welcomed 1.65 million visitors from around the globe in 2016.

Throughout your experience at Guinness Storehouse, you’ll learn about the brewing process, the history of Guinness advertising, and sample some of the world’s best beer. That’s not all you can do there, of course, but we’ll get to that in just a bit.

Where Can I Find This Guinness Nirvana?

Guinness Storehouse is located at St James’s Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8, Ireland. You can zoom in on the handy dandy interactive map below to see exactly where it is. (No, if you type “Guinness Beer Heaven” into Google Maps, it won’t work. I may have done this while drinking a pint of Guinness earlier this year.)

How to Tour the Guinness Storehouse Without Totally Losing Your Mind

Let’s get this out of the way early: there are seven floors to get absurdly lost in explore at the Guinness Storehouse. Siete. Sept. Sieben. As in the number of Snow White’s dwarves, days of the week, or times it took me bashing my head in front of the computer to actually get Hamilton tickets.

Just keep looking up… cuz there’s seven floors of this stuff.

The typical Guinness Storehouse experience — or standard ticket — is a self-guided tour. Their website suggests allowing at least 1.5 hours to meander through this beer labyrinth, but let’s be real, you’re going to need waaaay more time than that. (This was a valuable lesson I learned earlier this year at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.) Ninety minutes divided by seven floors is 12.86 minutes per floor, and you’re gonna need at least half an hour at the bar…

Sorry, I digress.

So sure, you can wander around the 3D Guinness Storehouse maze like a rat who’s trying to find the liquid refreshment reward at the end of the tunnel. But since you are definitely smarter than the average rat, you can start things off the right way by signing up for the Connoisseur Experience.

Step right up for your ticket to the Connoisseur Experience!

What’s the Connoisseur Experience Like?

The Connoisseur Experience is marketed toward proving yourself to be a diehard Guinness fan (the website calls it “[a] five-star Guinness® tasting experience for the ultimate Guinness connoisseur”), but if you’re going to shell out money to visit the place, you might as well go all the way.

Oh my Guinness!

The Connoisseur Experience (48) is a special 90-minute guided tasting session in the exclusive Connoisseur Bar, and it was hands down the highlight of our time at the Guinness Storehouse.

There’s a Secret Entrance

I’m a sucker for anything remotely resembling a speakeasy, so when we were led to the “secret entrance” to the Connoisseur Experience, I was already pretty stoked. Technically, it’s not too hard to find the door if you know where to look, but who cares? It’s still a hidden bar where you get to drink beers that the masses don’t, so it’s a win-win for me. I also appreciated that videos weren’t allowed inside, since they wanted to keep it as a genuine face-to-face experience without too many digital distractions.

Can you find the secret door?

Taking photos is part of my job, but videos aren’t allowed inside the exclusive Connoisseur Bar.

You’ll Learn Guinness History 101

Colm, our expert guide for the Connoisseur Experience, led us through the history of Guinness from its founding until the present. Turns out that brewing is “all in the family”: Arthur Guinness, the legendary founder of the Guinness brewery, had a father who was a brewer as well. Arthur was not only a prolific creator of beer, but of progeny, too: he and his wife, Olivia, managed to have 21 kids (though only ten survived to maturity).

In what is either the smartest or the dumbest move in the history of real estate, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for St. James’s Gate Brewery, where he had been brewing ales, in 1759. He was 34 years old at the time. In my thirties, I can barely think ten years ahead, let alone thousands! Dude must have been pretty confident that his brews were gonna be a hit.

Colm teaching us how to taste, and really savor, a pint of Guinness.

You’ll Sample Four Different Guinness Beers

After regaling us with tales about Arthur and brewing, Colm led us through how to savor the perfect pint of Guinness: observing the beer’s color, taking in its aroma, and finally tasting the glorious Black Stuff (which, ironically, is more red in color than black).

Here’s what we tried during the tasting (my beer note-taking skills have improved since Amsterdam):

  1. Guinness Draught — 4.2% ABV. First flavors you get are sweetness, caramel and toffee; next you’ll taste barley, coffee, and dark chocolate. There’s a reason that this beer accounts for almost 50% of global sales of Guinness — it’s really damn good.
  2. Guinness Original Extra Stout 4.2% ABV. Rudy red color; carbonated, fizzy; more malt and roast flavors, with a dry finish. Pairs well with shellfish, oysters, and mussels.
  3. Guinness Foreign Extra — 7.5% ABV. Recipe from 1801. Darker and yellower in color than previous two. Hints of dried fruit and raisins; also licorice and some pepper. Longer finish and very well balanced.
  4. Guinness Brewers Project Dublin Porter — 3.8% ABV. Lighter in color; carbonated and crisp. Big seller in the summer. Very refreshing.

Fun fact: three of the five Guinness breweries are located in Africa.

You’ll Learn How to Pour the Perfect Pint

After tasting our way through four beers, each of the 16 of us learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. For some reason, this stressed me out at first (I hear the word “perfect” and am instantly nervous that I’ll @#$! it up), but Colm was patient and helpful in explaining the six steps involved. Hint: the ritual takes precisely 119.5 seconds and involves holding the glass at a 45-degree angle.

Once you’ve poured the perfect pint, you’ll get a cute little certificate saying that you mastered said pour. The overachiever in me kept that gratifying piece of paper and toted it all the way back to New York City.

And don’t worry, once you pour the perfect pint, you get to drink the perfect pint. You’ve earned it: you’re a Guinness Connoisseur now!

You Even Get to Take Beer Home With You!

At the end of the Connoisseur Experience, you have the opportunity to take some Guinness beer home with you. We chose the Foreign Extra and the Dublin Porter to go in our goodie bag. While we sincerely tried to bring it back home, we wound up drinking it on our last night in London. Sometimes the pull of a good beer is too irresistable.

Would We Do the Connoisseur Experience Again?

Overall, the Connoisseur Experience was definitely worth it for us. Colm was clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about Guinness, and the beers we tried were fantastic. As a history and science buff, I loved learning about things like the retronasal technique and how Guinness is brewed in 49 countries. Plus, the Connoisseur Experience turned my mom into a true Guinness stout devotee — which, as someone who’s worshiped at the Temple of Stout for years and attempted to convince her to no avail, is priceless.

The only thing I would change is possibly offering some food during the tasting (such as cheese or something light to sop up all the beer we’re imbibing). That being said, there are restaurants located inside the Guinness Storehouse (I told you the place was freaking HUGE), so perhaps it’s wise to eat before you go inside the Connoisseur Bar!

What Else is Inside the Guinness Storehouse?

Once we finished the Connoisseur Experience, we explored the rest of the Guinness Storehouse mega-museum. While I won’t go into too much detail about what’s on every floor — we have to leave some surprises for your actual visit — here’s a taste of what you’ll see.

The Guinness Retail Store: Or, Where You’ll Fall Into the Guinness Shopping Wormhole

On the ground floor, you have the requisite gift shop for all of your Guinness shopping needs. You can proudly display your love for Guinness on t-shirts, personalized glasses, and even poker sets.

The Lower Floors: For People Who Want to Learn How Guinness Is Made

The self-guided tour kicks off on the ground floor, which is actually the bottom of the “World’s Largest Pint Glass.” It’s large enough to hold 14.3 million pints, which is completely mind-blowing. The lower floors cover the ingredients and processes involved in brewing Guinness, including the waterfall (see below) where 8 million liters of fresh water from the Wicklow Mountains flow into the brewery every day. 

The Third Floor: For All the Don Drapers Out There

You’ll learn all about ads and marketing on the third floor, called “World of Advertising.” One such gem is this letter from Guinness to America right after Prohibition was repealed in the US, in which the younger generation is hilariously asked to not put ice in their Guinness (Ah mon Dieu – sacrilage!).

Letter from Arthur Guinness to the US

Floors 2, 4, 5, and 7: Or, Where The People Who Want to Drink Beer ASAP Go

Some people will zip straight on up to the second floor because that’s where you can drink to learn more about tasting Guinness. The entrance to these tasting rooms looks straight out of some intergalactic sci-fi movie with its bright neon lights.

Once inside, sniff the aromas of each ingredient that goes into Guinness. You’ll get a small sampler of the Black Stuff and enter into another room (which honestly reminded me of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland) where you’ll toast to each other and sip your beer.

I don’t know this guy, but he was in the perfect pose to demonstrate how one sniffs what’s in the tasting room. Thanks, Mr. Guinness Model. #NotACreepyBlogger

On the fourth floor, you’ll find the Guinness Academy, where you can learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. Since there’s usually a super long line to do this, however, you’re better off doing the Connoisseur Experience so you don’t have to wait for a really long time.

The fifth floor features restaurants like 1837 Bar & Brasserie and Brewers’ Dining Hall, which is a key floor if you want to maintain your drinking stamina. You’ll find everything from small plates to hearty mains… and the opportunity to buy more beer with your meal, of course.

The seventh floor is where the famous Gravity Bar is located. With its breathtaking 360-degree views of the city of Dublin, it’s not hard to see why most people redeem the pint included in their admission ticket here. The Gravity Bar is truly a fitting grand finale for your long, Guinness-packed day.

ALL THE GUINNESS!

Guinness Storehouse 101: Need to Know Before You Go

Open Hours

Guinness Storehouse is open 361 days out of the year. It’s only closed on Good Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephen’s Day (December 26 in 2017).

General Hours: Guinness Storehouse is open every day of the week from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM, with last admission at 5:00 PM.

Summer Hours: During July and August, when days are longer and parties are hoppin’, it’s open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, with last admission at 6:00 PM.

Be sure to verify hours on the Guinness Storehouse website in the event of any changes.

Admission

Standard tickets for the Guinness Storehouse are 14 and up for adults ages 18 and over; it includes admission and a complimentary pint of Guinness. The Connoisseur Experience costs 48 for adults and 46 for students or seniors.

You can save time and money by purchasing your tickets in advance online by going here. Be sure to verify ticket prices on the website in the event of any changes.

Connect With Guinness Storehouse on Social Media

You can connect with the Guinness Storehouse on the following social media platforms:

Essential Info:
Where should you stay in Dublin? Check out all options here.
Don’t forget to check out Galway and Cork while you’re in Ireland.
Be sure to brush up on your James Joyce and Oscar Wilde novels before visiting.
Want a guidebook for Ireland? Check out Rick Steves and Fodor’s.
What other beer experiences do I recommend? The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.

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There's nothing quite as good the perfect pour of a pint of Guinness. Here's some insider tips for your visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.


A huge thank you to Guinness Storehouse for providing us with a friends and family rate for the Connoisseur Experience. While we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at Guinness Storehouse, all opinions are my own. Not even a delicious cold beer can change that.

Also, some of the above are affiliate links and I will earn a tiny percentage of the sale if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting It’s Five O’Clock Here!

22 thoughts on “Oh My Guinness!: Touring the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

  1. Justin

    Fantastic post, Julianne! As a lifelong Guinness fan, I’m incredibly jealous. On my solitary abbreviated visit to Ireland many, many years ago, I crammed in as much as I could, but sadly, never made it to Guinness Storehouse. I may just have to rectify that now. Cheers!

    1. Julianne

      Thanks, Justin! I agree with you – I was in Dublin for a day and a half and am itching to go back as soon as possible. There’s always so much to see in a city that it’s hard to get to everything (plus, I haven’t made it to Jameson yet, haha). Are you two heading abroad soon?

      1. Justin

        Yes, we do! We revisit London in November, and I”m crazy excited about it. I believe we may do a quick side trip, but I think it will be Lisbon or Amsterdam.

        1. Julianne

          Tough choice – both Amsterdam and Lisbon have great things going for them. I’ve spent much more time in Amsterdam, so I’m afraid I’m biased in my advice to go there. 🙂 Make sure to visit lots of pubs while you’re in London, and have an amazing time!

  2. Flo

    Woah – 7 floors? That’s insane! I had no idea that it was the #1 attraction in Dublin. I have friends who would absolutely lose their minds in this museum!

    1. Julianne

      I know — that’s why we (accidentally) stayed for six hours, haha! Hope your friends get to visit it soon 🙂

  3. Sonja

    I never knew about the Connoisseur Experience when I went there! Not that I’m the biggest beer drinker ever but my husband loves Guinness and we’re finally going to Dublin together later this year. I know exactly what to surprise him with now!

    1. Julianne

      Hi Sonja, that’s awesome — have a great time in Dublin! Excited for your trip, especially since it will include Guinness Storehouse 🙂

  4. Juliann

    I did the Connoisseur experience, too and loved every minute. I learned how to pour the perfect pint and was so eager to do it back home in the States, but the trouble is — it doesn’t taste the same here. Sadly.

    1. Julianne

      Ooh I’m glad you liked it! And I agree 100% — it doesn’t taste the same here. I guess we’ll have to go back to Ireland for some more Guinness 😉

  5. Susan Ripley

    I love learning about local spirits, beer and wine when I travel to a new place because I feel like it’s so integral to the culture – plus, you know, it’s fun to sample. 🙂 I would definitely have to visit the Guinness brewery when I travel to Ireland. It’s helpful to have a breakdown here on the different experiences you can choose. And I love the anecdote about Arthur Guinness signing a 9000 year lease. hahah!

  6. Ann

    Oh, such PERFECT timing for this post! I’m headed to Dublin at the end of September, on the way to Killarney, and I LOVE Guinness Stout. I’m headed over to their website to see about booking the Connoisseur tour!

  7. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    What is your quest? To seek the Holy Grail….

    Guinness is a mighty fine beer. Hard to imagine that the majority of the breweries are actually in Africa. The tour looks amazing. I love the special tours. They are usually worth the extra costs. You only make it to the Holy Grail once, make sure you choose the right chalice.

  8. Jen

    You had me at Guinness! Haha I feel like this is the main attraction in Dublin. I took a tour of the Jack Daniels distillery and learned that you can get drunk just from the smell of the hops since it’s all alcohol processing. Such a fun experience!

  9. Andi

    I have yet to get to Ireland, but I definitely want to one day. I am a total lightweight, I love guinness, but I’m usually only to be able to drink 2. I like the draft ones better than bottle, but I do really enjoy them. I love doing food or drink tours, it is a great way to experience what e put in our mouths and a wonderful way to get to know locals!

  10. Cat

    7 floors? I would probably spend the whole day there! It is such a cute idea to give you a certificate for mastering the pour. I’ll definitely take your advice on signing up for the Connoisseur Experience!

  11. Ashley Hubbard

    I’m headed to Dublin in a month or so – trying to decide if I have time to fit this in or not! We have very limited time in Dublin itself and my list of things I want to see is growing haha. This does look like an awesome experience though

  12. Katie Williams

    First of all, great photos! 2nd of all, I’ve been 4x (im crazy), but I love it more every time. My fave part is the ads through the ages and the rooftop free Guinness of course!! 🙂

  13. Ivy

    Wowzers what a tour. This place is pretty much the Ireland equivalent of the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam eh? We really enjoyed that so I bet we’ll love this!

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