Irish nightclubs to stay open until 6am under new licensing laws

Pubs in Ireland will also enjoy later opening hours seven days a week as a result of the new legislation.

Hand pouring liquor in a clear glass because Irish nightclubs will be open late under new licensing laws.
Image: Upspalsh by Louis Hansel

Club-goers will soon be able to enjoy parties and pints until 6:00am under new Irish licensing laws.

When the newly approved laws are in place, alcohol will be served in pubs from 10:30am to 12:30am every night of the week. The legislation, which is expected to come into effect early in 2023, also permits nightclubs to stay open until 6:00am with last calls at 5:00am. It also gives late bars the option to serve alcohol until 2:30am.

Under current laws, pubs are only able to serve alcohol until 11:30pm on Monday through Thursday, 12:30am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11:00pm on Sundays. While late bars can apply for a special exception to remain open later, this is a lengthy and expensive process that requires pubs to apply for a separate license for each night they want to open late.

New laws brought to Cabinet on Tuesday morning grant pubs the ability to apply for a new late bar license to expand their hours on an annual basis. The new license will be easier to apply for and less expensive to obtain, although, in order to qualify, venues will need to follow by specific guidelines including operating CCTV and employing accredited security staff.


These new laws represent the most significant overhaul of licensing law in the history of Ireland. Some of the current laws have been in place for over 200 years.

The primary goal of these new Irish licensing laws is to protect and improve Ireland’s pub industry. Publicans have made arguments for longer opening hours for years. In 2021, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said that she was committed to updating the antiquated licensing laws and replacing them with modern alcohol licensing laws to improve the nightlife scene and “reflect the changing expectations and lifestyles of 21st century Ireland”.

In 2019, Leo Varadkar stated that some tourists who come to Ireland find that the nightlife “can be disappointing” compared to other European cities. These new laws are part of the government initiative to revitalise late night businesses and follow hours of other European nightlife.

Many of the country’s LGBTQ+ venues will be impacted by these changes, including Mother, the club which helps to raise funds for yours truly, Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ press. Speaking about the news, Cormac Cashman and Lisa Connell, organisers of the highly successful queer party, commented: “We welcome the proposed changes to Ireland’s restrictive licensing laws and see it as a necessary step forward in modernising our nightlife offering and placing value on night culture.

“We also believe there needs to be a focus on supporting infrastructure in our cities to allow people to go out safely.

“The rising cost of living will have an impact on venues and businesses and needs to be considered in these changes,” they concluded.

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