Who doesn’t love a good Irish pub? There’s just something about that welcoming Irish-inspired décor, a well-pulled pint of fresh Guinness and some of that good old-fashioned Irish craic that makes a visit to a lively Irish pub a great way to spend an evening, and these are America’s best.
John D. McGurk's Irish Pub/Yelp
The best Irish pubs, by our measure, have a good selection of beers, whiskeys and other beverages as well as a solid selection of Irish and American pub fare. These restaurants also somehow capture the spirit of Ireland, whether it's through the heritage of the owners and bartenders, the history of the building, the character of the clientele or live music.
Named for Bessie Dee Riley, the daughter of Irish immigrants, B.D. Riley’s boasts an impressive selection of beer and Irish whiskey. By sourcing much of the interior directly from Ireland, the bar’s proprietors have succeeded in making the place feel authentic. Of course, it being Austin, Texas, and all, there’s live music too. On the weekends, there’s brunch, and while it isn’t quite bottomless, mimosas are just $2.50 a pop.
The Celtic Cowboy in Great Falls, Montana, is named after Welsh immigrant Robert Vaughn, the first known European settler in the county who opened the odd combination of a hotel-stable Arvon Block. Locals started calling him the Celtic Cowboy and that later became the name of the pub located in the historic hotel, now called Hotel Arvon. Its long-winded menu includes fish and chips, Irish breakfast and Guinness stew, plus playful eats like baked mac and cheese topped with corned beef and breadcrumbs — an unexpected mac and cheese combo.
At County Clare, beer flows from the taps like a river. In fact, this Milwaukee pub claims to pour the most Guinness in all of Wisconsin. If you’re not a stout person, go for a bloody mary instead. They come in chalices decked with olives, a pickle, smoked beef sticks, a cheese stick, lemon, lime and a pickled potato. If you get a little too tipsy, you can stay at the inn upstairs.
A modern pub that seamlessly combines the old and the new, the interior at Fadó was manufactured in Ireland and shipped to Chicago. Forget basic pub food. The from-scratch kitchen serves finger-licking Guinness barbecue wings, fish and chips and slow-cooked lamb dip, while the bar pours a myriad of beers, ciders, craft cocktails, wines and great whiskey.
Locally owned and operated Fenian’s Pub has been serving the city of Jackson, Mississippi, since 1996. Pull up a barstool or sit down at a table to enjoy a hybrid of Irish and Southern fare including Guinness barbecue wings, Irish poutine with chips and curry, corned beef and whiskey bread pudding.
Locals flock to Finn McCool’s primarily because it’s New Orleans’ premier soccer pub. It shows the English Premier League, Scottish Premiership, Champions League and MLS, but non-soccer fans can view rugby, NFL, NBA, MLB and more. Talk about a great sports bar. The menu is a mix of Irish and Southern pub fare including fish and chips, BBQ brisket and a chili-cheese dog. Finn McCool’s also has more than 50 Irish whiskeys available and craft beer on tap.
Irish immigrants John and Ann McGinley opened Golden Ace Inn in Indianapolis way back in March 1934. Today, it’s one of the oldest family-owned pubs in the U.S. and the oldest Irish pub in the city. March 17 is a big day for the Golden Ace Inn — it hosts the oldest continuous St. Patrick’s Day pub celebration in the country. A huge tent is hoisted in the parking lot where partygoers get down to live Irish music while feasting on corned beef and some of the city’s most sought-out cheeseburgers.
J David H./Yelp
Almost everything you see inside Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant was handcrafted in Ireland before it was shipped to Norfolk, Virginia. Even the kitchen’s recipes come from friends and family in both Ireland and America. The food is inexpensive, the cocktail list is plentiful, the beer menu is creative, there is so much whiskey at the bar and the craic is mighty. What is craic? It’s slang, pronounced “crack,” and it means playful banter, gossip or chitchat.
Gritty McDuff’s in Portland, Maine, dates back to 1988 and has been awarded “Maine’s Best Brew Pub,” “Best Maine Microbrew” and “Best Bar” in statewide polls. Your dog can lie under your table on the back patio while you enjoy lobster poutine, cheese- and jalapeno-stuffed ravioli, Buffalo wings and more.
Hibernian Restaurant & Pub is a contemporary pub in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, that boasts dark wood interiors with cozy nooks and gorgeous bars, plus a Gaelic kitchen should you bring your appetite. The lengthy menu features Irish and American cuisine with made-from-scratch dinners like corned beef and cabbage, Irish breakfast and shepherd’s pie, and lots of shareable plates.
The staff at James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant call this pub “Baltimore’s home of Irish hospitality.” Chow down on Mussels James Gate — made with Guinness beer and named after the brewery — or homemade Irish brown bread, slow-braised lamb shank or seared rainbow trout. To drink, enjoy beers on draft, Champagne and wine or any of your favorite cocktails. You can even bring your four-legged friend with you to the canine-friendly outdoor patio.
John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub/Yelp
John D. McGurk’s has five rooms, three full-service bars and an outdoor garden. Musicians from Ireland entertain guests nightly as diners munch on bacon-wrapped shrimp, corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, Irish stew and Baileys Irish Cream cheesecake.
Because it’s so close to Minneapolis’ Target Field, Kieran’s Irish Pub is one of the most popular places to grab a pint and a corned beef Reuben before and after Minnesota Twins games. This is also a great spot for chefs and servers. Thirsty bar and restaurant industry professionals with a clock-out slip proving they worked three or more hours on the same day as their visit get a second beer on the house.
Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., a stone's throw from Union Station, the quaint and boisterous Kelly’s Irish Times has been going strong since 1978. The bar is fun, warm, welcoming and covered in police patches, and its divey lived-in feel gets a boost from its many loyal and devoted regulars. The draft list and food menu are all on point, and you should definitely try the Guinness Irish stew or hot pastrami sandwich, but the star of the show is the bar boasting 90 different whiskeys.
Built in 1864, Kelly’s Logan House claims it’s the oldest Irish bar in Delaware. The historic building was once a resort for visitors to Wilmington including Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, John L. Sullivan and Al Capone. When the three-story site was turned into a pub years later, it became the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Limerick Junction claims to be Atlanta’s oldest Irish pub. The bar carries classics including Guinness, Harp Lager, Smithwick’s and Magners Irish Apple Cider, plus shooters such as the French Leprechaun, made with Baileys Irish Cream and Grand Marnier. If your tummy starts talking, the kitchen can whip up cottage pie, curry French fries or fish and chips, and the annual St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza is the place to be on March 17.
Going strong since 1860, McGillin’s is Philadelphia’s oldest tavern, and it’s also one of the city’s very best, frequented by locals and visitors alike. The bar has been owned by only two families: The McGillins, who ran it for three generations, and the current owners, the Spaniak/Mullins family, who have also passed it down three generations. Be generous to your server: the ship's bell behind the bar tolls for good tippers. McGillin’s is the perfect place to catch a Phillies game in the summertime or to find romance — the tavern has a book with more than 100 signatures from couples who met there.
McSorley’s Old Ale House is one of America’s oldest continuously operated bars, going strong in New York City since 1854. Sawdust floors are underfoot, an old potbelly stove still heats the space when it’s cold out, and few changes have been made since long before you were born. If you look closely, you’ll find an original wanted poster for Abe Lincoln’s assassin and Babe Ruth’s farewell photo from Yankee Stadium. You will find only two beers, light and dark, but it's all a part of the charm.
While enjoying some beers at a local German bar, Anne Mullaney, Brian Mullaney and Sean Patrick Murphy decided Pittsburgh was in need of an authentic Irish pub — so they opened Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle in 1992. Guinness, Smithwicks and more flow from the taps, while customers trade swigs for bites of filet mignon kebab, honey garlic salmon and shepherd’s pie — one of the best casseroles of all time.
Detroit’s Nancy Whiskey is a divey and allegedly haunted Irish pub. The 118-year-old business holds one of the oldest liquor licenses in the city and is one of the hottest spots for watching Lions, Tigers or Wings games. There’s live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and on Whiskey Wednesdays the jukebox is free. Ogle the nostalgic knick-knacks covering the bar’s interior or enjoy a cold one at the picnic table out back.
The enormous pub Nine Fine Irishmen was built in the Emerald Isle and shipped over to the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Get Irish-inspired fare from the kitchen like baked Brie with whiskey-marinated cherries, beer-battered sausage with Guinness mustard sauce or shepherd’s pie with port wine-infused ground beef. You can even buy yourself a pint and keep the logo’d glass.
Shinnick’s Pub has been serving Chicago fresh brews from its huge mahogany back bar since 1938, a short time after Prohibition ended. Nowadays, it’s run by original owners George and Mary Shinnick’s nine grandchildren. Domestic beer and shots are cheap, and the friendliness of the staffers and fellow customers is unmatched.
The Brass Door opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2006 and is just a skip away from the famous Peabody Hotel. It’s warm, relaxing and slightly fancier than your average Irish pub. The menu centers around first-rate pub fare, excellent Irish spirits, local and Irish beers and ciders and nice wines. Don’t leave without trying the Reuben egg rolls, Irish BBQ sliders or fried goat cheese with chili-spiked honey.
The Buena Vista in San Francisco came to be in 1916, and it has the origin story for one of America’s favorite cocktails. Indeed, this place served the first Irish coffee in the U.S. in 1952. After enjoying one at Shannon Airport in Ireland, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Stanton Delaplane recreated the now world-famous recipe for this coffee-based cocktail. Then-owner Jack Koeppler helped too, as did the city’s mayor, a prominent dairy owner who discovered cream must be aged for 48 hours and frothed to a precise consistency in order to float perfectly. Today, the formula remains the same.
The Dead Rabbit/Yelp
This bustling 19th-century saloon is not your average Irish pub. Here, guests can order craft beers, bottled punches and dozens of different types of Irish whiskey. If you’re hungry, the hearty Irish and British food menu has fish and chips, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs, plus some modernized items including burgers and truffle chips with curry mayo. Things get a little swankier up on the second-floor parlor — dubbed the “Cocktail Cathedral” — dedicated to expertly crafted mixed drinks. At $17 each, they’re a little pricier than your run-of-the-mill cocktail, but they’re good. Would you expect anything less from one of the best bars in America?
The Dublin Village Tavern is housed in an old hardware store, which eventually also became one of the earliest post offices in Dublin, Ohio. The pub opened on Valentine’s Day in 2000, and that St. Patrick’s Day, George Killian Lett (of Killian Brewery heritage) came in with his wife for a visit. Before he left, he autographed a photo, which guests can find hanging in the brick room. If you come hungry, go for the fish and chips or braised beef shepherd’s pie slow-cooked in Guinness and red wine and covered in a potato crust.
Washington, D.C., spot The Dubliner is one of our nation’s largest purveyors of Guinness and the only place in the country you’ll find the bar’s exclusive Auld Dubliner Amber Ale. If it’s Irish whiskey you’re looking for, The Dubliner’s collection is more than 100 strong. No wonder it’s considered a must for St. Patrick’s Day revelers in the nation’s capital.
Tucked down an alley in downtown San Francisco, The Irish Bank is cozy and inviting, featuring a rare collection of antiques, historical documents and knick-knacks. Its outdoor area feels like a world away from the Financial District and is a great place to relax and have a pint with the bar’s signature Reuben sandwich or homemade mac and cheese.
The Irish Rover is the place to be for people in Louisville looking to have a great time with family, friends or colleagues. The 150-year-old building began as a saloon and then turned to a grocery and dry goods store before becoming the pub it is today. This place is pretty much always busy, but its annual St. Patrick’s Day party attracts thousands from around the state of Kentucky.
The Boston area has some of the best Irish pubs outside of Ireland, and The Plough and Stars is one of them. Its dark-wood interior, cozy ambiance, warm service and innovative, traditional fare constantly draw huge crowds. Naturally, it has become a cornerstone of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, community. Come by for live music seven nights a week, a cold pint of beer on tap and comfort foods like boneless Buffalo chicken tenders and baked cheesy nachos, plus blackened catfish, a sirloin burger and Baja fish tacos.
Irish pride flows like ale at McGuire’s Irish Pub, which is located in an old Pensacola, Florida, firehouse. The motto at McGuire’s is “Feasting, Imbibery, Debauchery.” Based on that, McGuire’s obviously knows how to have a good time. Beer is conveniently brewed in copper kettles on site — it doesn’t get any fresher than that. Hungry? Recline at one of 615 seats for a great steakhouse meal.
The Marlay House/Yelp
Decatur, Georgia, pub The Marlay House is owned and operated by Irish expats. Beer on draft is always changing, but there are always 20 fresh and exciting international, American and seasonal beers on tap at any given time. Bring your appetite for shepherd’s pie or the Guinness-braised beef brisket.
Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub/Yelp
There’s something for everyone at Galway Bay in New Orleans. Belly up to the bar for Irish twists on classic cocktails like the mai tai and lemon drop, or eat potato soup, Gaelic steak, Dublin coddle or Celtic chicken in the dining room. Take a dram in the intimate tasting room, relax in the super cute, covered and heated outdoor garden, or shoot pool, throw darts and show off your shuffleboard skills in the game room.
Kilkenny’s Irish Pub and Eatery is one of Tulsa’s most popular hangouts. The vibe is comfortable and cozy thanks to its abundance of dark wood paneling and collection of Irish memorabilia. With great service, an expansive beer selection and a wide variety of Irish whiskey, you can’t go wrong with this place. While there, explore the long menu of Irish and American pub staples.
Nashville is a legendary party and music town, and on both counts, McNamara’s Irish Pub and Restaurant fits right in. This popular tavern, with its classic Celtic-inspired décor, is well-stocked with whiskey and beer, has an appetizing menu of Irish fare like corned beef bites and Steak & Guinness Pie, and regularly features live Irish music.
In operation for more than 40 years, Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles is a great place for a pint, a plate of fish and chips and live music in an intimate setting. While you’ll still hear Irish troubadours once in a while, the stage at Molly Malone’s has also seen the likes of famous names including Lucinda Williams, Joan Osborne and Lenny Kravitz.
Raglan Road is the ideal spot to kick off a bar crawl after a fun day at Walt Disney World. Its high-energy atmosphere with live Irish dancers and music will get anyone feeling the craic of the Irish. With all the necessary brews on hand — like Magners Irish Cider, Smithwick’s Irish Ale and, of course, Guinness — and contemporary Irish dining, you'll be set here for a perfect night out.
Wilfie & Nell/Yelp
Wilfie & Nell manages to be both traditional and trendy. It’s cozy and dark, just like a good pub ought to be, and the bar’s menu is full of elevated versions of classic Irish dishes, like Guinness stew and Scotch eggs, in addition to modern fare like steak and spinach salad, pulled pork sliders and loaded tater tots. It’s tucked away on a quiet stretch of West 4th Street, and the old brick walls and ample reclaimed wood will transport you to another time and place.
T Scott M./Yelp
Kells is a Portland, Oregon, brewpub that serves classic Irish fare with a little Northwest flair. The menu features favorites such as Irish lamb stew, Belfast chicken curry and Ballycastle sausage roll, plus bar snacks like wings, nachos and fries. Wash it all down with a house-made hard cider or beer — Kells makes an Irish red, lager, blood orange wheat, stout and more — or go with what you know. Guinness is on draft, and all your favorite domestic brews come by the bottle.
The Local is a friendly Minneapolis pub that features beautiful dark wood, a gorgeous hand-crafted back bar, tall ceilings and “numerous nooks and crannies for exchanging secrets and ample space for telling flat-out lies.” The Local claims to have once served the largest volume of Jameson of any bar in the world, so it goes without saying that the drinks are plenty here.
Not far from Kansas City is Weston, Missouri, where you’ll find Weston Brewing Company and its historic, underground cellar-pub O’Malley’s. The cavernous, limestone layout features multiple levels of seating and a stage for live music performances. Check out the old-school Guinness posters behind the band and fill up on spicy or stout bangers, BBQ pulled pork nachos and corned beef, or a classic pint of the black stuff.
People from Colorado Springs, Colorado, love Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub and Restaurant for its traditional Irish cuisine, live music scene and warm interior. The room features the same original wood and exposed brick from when the building was first built in 1875, and the woodwork was imported from craftsmen in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The result? A cozy, inviting space for folks to congregate over a cold, crisp beer and Irish pancake shots.
Erin Rose is a divey Irish beauty that is warm and welcoming to people in the New Orleans community and beyond. Wet your whistle with any of many Irish whiskeys, a bloody mary made from a top-secret recipe or the pub’s famous frozen Irish coffee. Guinness is always on tap, as well as Louisiana-made Abita, Tin Roof, Dixie and Urban South brews. Irish pubs are the best — but all bars are beautiful. Maybe that’s the booze talking? Let’s debate it over a drink at the best cocktail bar in your state.
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