Ireland’s best wheelchair-friendly bars and restaurants, according to a recent wheelchair user

Lymphoma left him unable to walk, but 36-year-old James McGill has spent the past year rekindling his social life

Choosing where to eat is among the joys of dining out, but what if that choice was taken away or restricted? What if where you wanted to dine was dictated by where you could do so comfortably? Welcome to life as a wheelchair user.

Three years ago, 36-year-old Dubliner James McGill had an active social life. A media strategist with Google, McGill worked hard and played hard. But all that changed when he had a couple of falls that resulted in him being admitted to Beaumont Hospital.

He was diagnosed with CNS (central nervous system) lymphoma, which had caused cancerous growths on the right side of his brain, with another on the frontal lobe, greatly impacting his mobility. He left Beaumont 10 months later, wheelchair in tow.

Five long months at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire followed, where McGill began the process of relearning how to walk.


His personality was not affected, he jokes. “I’m still an ass and it’s not the brain injury’s fault — much to people’s dismay.”

Some places will have done everything right [on paper] but the choices that have been made, like bench seating, means I can’t sit there. Accessibility is always an afterthought

McGill is still working hard on his physio. “I’m a bit like drunk Bambi at 4am. The chair is obviously with me for the foreseeable,” he says.

Last October, he made a return to the social scene he had enjoyed so much in his previous life. “It was an adjustment, I didn’t know how that was going to look or what it was going to be like being in a wheelchair.”

He quickly came to realise that the places he used to frequent were no longer suitable for him as a wheelchair user. “It was eye-opening,” he says, still dismayed at the fact that often, even venues claiming to be “accessible” don’t have wheelchair accessible toilets.

“It’s mind boggling. They only need to be able to get you in the door. I have a very compact wheelchair, but in a lot of places, you still wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom by yourself; you would need someone to hold a door at some point, and often you will find wheelchair toilets being used as a storage area.”

Another bone of contention is the interior design of some restaurants and bars. “Some places will have done everything right [on paper] but the choices that have been made, like bench seating, means I can’t sit there. Accessibility is always an afterthought.”

He recognises that many of the buildings that house restaurants are restricted due to the age or style of the building. If they are protected and listed, for example, it’s virtually impossible to add features such as lifts or exterior ramps.

But happily, there are many places that do put accessibility at the forefront of their design plans. For a night on the town that can be enjoyed equally, these places are leading the way.

Fully accessible restaurants (with accessible bathrooms)


Drury Buildings, 52-55 Drury St, Dublin 2; 01-9602095,

Drury Buildings is one of McGill’s top choices. The menu skews toward Mediterranean influences with good cocktails in a stylish space that’s very wheelchair friendly.

Fade Street Social, Fade Street, Dublin 2; 01—6040066,

The enduringly popular Fade Street Social is also top of the list for McGill. It’s a cavernous space with great food and excellent cocktails.

Allta Rooftop, level 5, Trinity Street Car Park, Dublin 2;

There are just a few months left to experience the latest Allta incarnation, one of the most talked about pop-up dining ventures in Ireland, which is also accessible for all.

Bunsen, various locations;

Touted by some as the best burger in Ireland, most Bunsen locations (except Temple Bar) are easily accessible.

Lennan’s Yard, 21A Dawson St, Dublin 2; 01-2402555,

Described by McGill as “brilliant”, Lennan’s Yard has a disabled entry push button system in the accessible loos.

The Ivy, 13-17 Dawson St, Dublin; 01-6950744,

Love it or hate it, The Ivy offers easy wheelchair accessibility and accommodating staff.

Balfe’s, 2 Balfe Street, Dublin 2; 01-6463353,

The layout is spacious and there are no pesky steps to navigate. Incidentally, The Westbury Hotel next door is also accessible for all.

Lemon & Duke, 1 Royal Hibernian Way, Dublin 2; 01-6796260,

With a natty interior, rugby superstar owners and a prime Dublin location, Lemon & Duke is a popular bar that’s really wheelchair friendly.

Anti Social, 101 Francis Street, Dublin 8; 01-4988855,

Self-proclaimed purveyors of fine drinks and unique events, Anti Social is easy to navigate in a wheelchair, for tacos and brunch courtesy of the El Milagro pop-up taqueria, and cocktails, beer and music.

Tribeca, 65 Ranelagh, Dublin 6; 01—4974174,

Wings and more wings are what this Ranelagh eatery is most famous for, but the absence of steps and an accessible bathroom make it a winner for wheelchair users.

Press Up venues, Dublin, Cork and Galway (all venues with the exception of The Stella, The Grayson and The Lucky Duck)

The Press Up group has an impressive track record when it comes to wheelchair accessibility across their venues. The group works with Mobility Mojo, an Irish company that helps venues (primarily hotels) to evaluate, integrate and display their accessible features for customer’s reference.

Also receiving McGill’s seal of approval in Dublin are The Shelbourne Hotel, The Market Bar, Tap House, The Bernard Shaw, Mother Reilly’s, Peggy Kelly’s, 37 Dawson, Cafe en Seine, The Jar, Opium, The Bath, The Bailey, Krewe and The Bridge


Cava Bodega Middle Street, Galway; 091-539884,

Dishing up some of the best tapas in Ireland, JP McMahon and Drigín Gaffey’s Cava Bodega is also fully accessible.

Aniar 53 Lower Dominick Street, Galway; 091-535947,

A Michelin star and faultless food is not the only reason to visit McMahon and Gaffey’s other Galway restaurant Aniar; it’s also fully equipped for wheelchair users.

The Dough Bros, 1 Middle St, Galway; 085-2145283,

Ranked the best pizzeria in Ireland by the 50 Top Pizza World 2022 list, The Dough Bros also boast a wheelchair ramp and a wheelchair accessible toilet.

Dela 51 Lower Dominick Street, Galway; 091-449252,

A fully wheelchair accessible cafe and restaurant with their own organic farm just outside the city.


Market Lane Group various locations, Cork; (Market Lane, Castle Café, Elbow Lane and Goldie)

There is a lot to like about the Market Lane Group of bars and restaurants, including excellent food using ingredients from the English Market, a menu catering well for those with allergies or intolerances, and wheelchair accessibility.

Liberty Grill 32 Washington Street, Cork; 021-4271049,

Save yourself the wait in line by using the virtual queuing app, and enjoy a New England style brunch in a wheelchair friendly space.

The River Club Western Road, Cork; 021-4937772,

Located in the River Lee Hotel (also fully accessible), The River Club does brasserie dining in style, and is spacious enough to accommodate a wheelchair of any size.

Fishy Fishy Kinsale, Co Cork; 021-4700415

Martin and Marie Shanahan’s seafood restaurant in beautiful Kinsale is a treat; gorgeous food, and a restaurant designed to be easily navigated by wheelchair users.