McSorley’s Old Ale House (New York City) from America's Best Irish Bars Slideshow
America's Best Irish Bars Slideshow
McSorley’s Old Ale House (New York City)
Ah, McSorley’s. With its sawdust-blanketed floors, vintage photo-lined walls, and thick garlands of dust icing nearly every inch of the space — it just has pints full of charm. And speaking of pints, here, at what is distinguished as New York’s oldest bar, there are only two choices of beverage: the light or dark house beer. This is definitely an institution everyone should experience at least once — and good luck not going back for more.
Wilfie & Nell (New York City)
Consider this the Irish bar for those not looking for a typical, by-the-book pub experience. A good mix of hip and cozy, it boasts rave-worthy bites — usuals like Scotch eggs and meat pie, but better than you thought they could be — and a unique, varied selection of quality brews that beer geeks can get excited about.
The Blackthorn Pub (Boston)
This South Boston bar is confident in asserting that it offers a "TRUE Irish pub experience without the fake 'Irish props,'" and fans and regulars no doubt agree. With that old-school, worn-in feel and a solid selection of beers on draft (including Irish favorites like Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's), it’s simply a great place to grab a drink. Plus, they screen all the important Irish and U.K. sports games on their large-screen TVs.
The Plough & Stars (Boston)
Named among Draft Magazine’s 150 Best Beer Bars of 2010, this long-standing Cambridge pub has earned as much praise over the years for its smartly chosen beer list as its live entertainment. The pint-sized place (pun intended) also earns points among regulars for its lack of stereotypical Irish pub décor, instead capturing the vibe with its convivial atmosphere.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House (Philadelphia)
There are plenty of great Irish bars in Philadelphia, but only this one can call itself the city’s oldest continually operating tavern. With the kind of old-school, no-frills charm that can only be achieved after 153 years in business, this place is no-brainer for cold beers (try their house brand Real Ale and Genuine Lager) and good times.
The Grafton Pub (Chicago)
Consistently called out among the city’s best Irish pubs (in addition to the praise for its top-notch burger), The Grafton Pub boasts a craft beer list with some 70-plus selections and more than 20 Irish whiskeys. If that alone didn’t make for a stand-out Irish pub, tack onto that a friendly staff and regular live music performances.
Molly Malone's (Los Angeles)
This more than 40-year-old landmark is known for its great live music, featuring a wide range of local musicians nightly. A good place to grab a pint, the LA Times once wrote this about it: "The shelves are lined with books and, generally speaking, everything that isn't made of wood is green — except for the beer, which is never green, even on St. Patrick's Day."
This Seattle pub is more than just a place to grab a well-pulled pint of Guinness, it's also arguably the best spot in town to catch whatever must-see soccer game — sorry, football match — is playing. The bar opens as early as 4:30 a.m. to show important international matches from the World Cup, Euro Cup, and English Premier League.
B.D. Riley’s (Austin, Texas)
This pub was named by Imbibe Magazine as one of the country’s best places to drink Guinness. The secret to their "perfect pint ‘o dark"? Spotless imperial glasses and the patience to allow the beer to settle into its two proper parts. The bar is adamant about not being a "cookie-cutter" pub, and much of the establishment’s design and furnishings were sourced directly from Ireland. And of course, this being Austin, there’s plenty of great music to add to the atmosphere.
The Buena Vista Café (San Francisco)
How do you compete with the place where the Irish coffee was invented? It’s a tourist attraction for sure, but you’ve got to appreciate an Irish pub that’s known for a drink besides Guinness and whiskey. Of course, if you’re looking for someplace in San Francisco with more of a traditional Irish bar feel, The Irish Bank is a must-visit, especially if you’re a whiskey drinker.
Rí Rá (Las Vegas)
You're probably thinking: A good Irish bar in Vegas? Really? Yes, really. This establishment is no Vegas mirage, having gone to great lengths to deliver on real-deal Irish pub atmosphere. Although the expansive, four-room venue doesn’t make for as cozy a space as many older pubs, it certainly has the right look — outfitted in dark wood furnishings and antique fixtures salvaged from old Irish buildings. There’s also an impressive selection of Irish whiskeys and international brews on tap and by the bottle, as well as bands flown in from the Emerald Isle.
Clarke’s Irish Pub (Miami)
Another great Irish bar in an unexpected location is Clarke’s Irish Pub, in Miami Beach. Very much a departure from the city’s swanky nightlife scene, this homey bar is, as they say, "all about the craic." (For the uninitiated, that’s Gaelic for a place with a fun, lively, social atmosphere.)