If you plan on drinking like an Irishman this St. Patrick’s Day (or any day really), you had best find yourself a choice Irish pub to tip back your Guinness or whiskey. Choose wisely though, the wrong choice and you could find yourself surrounded by drunken frat boys playing that Cranberries song “Zombie” on loop. Grab a stool at one of these pubs and you can’t go wrong.
When U2 is in Boston, Bono makes a point to stop by The Black Rose. Whether that’s a pro or con for you, if it catches the attention of one of Ireland’s most respected musicians, the pub must be doing something right. Located near the Boston waterfront, the pub serves up award winning clam chowder and corned beef to keep patrons happy during its live music acts 7 nights a week.
Bubs has been around for a decade now and in those 10 years it’s become one of the most sought after places by Wisconsin residents looking for a lively pub experience. The place isn’t tiny and makes use of its 15,000 square foot space with live music, earning the title of best live music venue in Milwaukee.
Located just a half hour from Boston, The Claddagh Pub offers everything one would expect to find in a small town Irish pub. Good food, drinks, billiards and a robust schedule of live music have kept patrons coming back since 1992.
Durty Nelly’s has been pouring pints since 1854 and keeping customers coming back with its black pudding and homemade soda bread. The bar has a relaxed and warm atmosphere (which is what you want in an Irish pub) and to up the Irish authenticity even more, the prints on the first floor have been sourced from the National Gallery of Ireland. Yeah, the place is legit.
San Francisco, CA
Located down a back alley in downtown San Francisco, The Irish Bank offers patrons the comfort of sipping a Guinness in its cozy dinning room with custom made pews or outdoor patio space that seats up to 100 of your drinking buddies. It’s also worth mentioning they’ll be serving up brews and blue cheese fries at 9 am on St. Patrick’s day with live music and a DJ throughout the day.
This upscale pub in Toronto’s financial district is housed in an old bank building from 1873. It’s a popular hangout for after work patrons as well as Raptors and Maple Leafs fans who flock to its beautiful bar for a tall pint or smoked salmon plate. And like any good Irish pub, live music and dance is a staple in the venue.
Martin Scorsese may not be a regular bar tender at Brooklyn’s Irish Haven, but the bar is the epitome of an Irish dive bar, making it the perfect choice to shoot for The Departed. The bar attracts the occasional movie buff who’s not afraid to venture off the beaten path, but for the most part, it’s populated by neighborhood locals. Playing a game of pool on the table where Leonardo DiCaprio got his arm smashed is a visit highlight.
The highest elevated pub in Ireland, Johnnie Foxes is a half hour drive from Dublin and well worth the trip. Established in 1798, live Irish music and storytelling by the fireplace have been a pub staple for over 200 years. It’s this atmosphere and history that have brought presidents, celebrities and world class musicians to the Johnnie Foxes.
Savannah does St. Patrick’s Day big, dying the river green to mark the occasion. If you find yourself in Savannah on March 17th, Kevin Barry’s is a must, as it has been for 32 years. Offering up world-class pub fare and nightly music, the upstairs room has been dubbed the Hall of Heroes, and boasts an impressive display of military memorabilia.
New York, NY
Okay, any New York City bar that can withstand the city’s real estate hikes and ever changing neighborhoods for over 150 years is worth having a drink in. Besides the fact that they keep the place warm for patrons with a coal burning stove, folks like Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon have passed through its doors. How many other bars can boast that kind of clientele?
One of the newer Irish pubs on the list, Molly MaGuire’s has been a local favorite since 2002. Mixing-up its live band schedule with karaoke, paired with affordable drink prices and fan favorites like fish n’ chips set Molly MaGuire’s apart in a NJ landscape of mediocrity.
New York, NY
A near perfect Shepard’s pie, wood burning fireplace and sawdust coated floors have helped Molly’s carve out a name as one of NYC’s best Irish pubs since 1960. Its low ceilings, dark walls and no frills bartenders make it the perfect hideaway to escape the urban sprawl of New York and get back to the old country.
Family owned and operated for 25 years, Fenian’s holds the title of “best Irish pub in Michigan” and for good reason. The bar is a must stop for Irish and Irish/American musicians touring the Midwest. Following the town parade, the bar opens its doors to patrons, promising a full day of Celtic music, dance and cuisine. Best of all, no cover!
Quite possibly the first Irish pub (or close to it) Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street is a no-nonsense kind of pub. The bar attracts its fair share of tourists, but is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet pint of Guinness. The lounge on the other hand, can get a little noisier with trivia and the twenty-something crowd, so take your pick.
Don’t worry about getting beat down with Ireland’s traditional stick, the “shillelagh.” However, you might find yourself on the floor after partying it up at their over-the-top St. Patrick’s Day party. They also offer free shuttle service to downtown sporting events and concerts. That’s Irish hospitality for ya!
Spring Lake Heights, NJ
If drink is your second concern in a Irish pub and what you’re really after is the food, St. Stephen’s is where you need to be. In addition to music and drink, they’ve got a full Irish menu to keep you happy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With offerings like whiskey chicken, Guinness beef stew and baked cod, you don’t have to worry about going hungry at happy hour.
Located high up on Howth Hill, the inn overlooks Dublin bay and was built in the 19th century. Like any good Irish pub, they’ve got homemade food and lineup of traditional Irish music, but also mix in battle of the bands competitions. It’s the perfect pub with a view and a can’t go wrong choice to spend St. Patrick’s day – assuming you can get in. Expect the line to be out the door.
New Orleans, LA
The Kerry is not a sprawl of a pub. It’s small dark and the perfect hideaway from the madness that swirls throughout New Orleans. Pull up a bar stool, order a pint and drink with the locals.
Galway City, Ireland
Another can’t miss Irish pub, the Tigh Neachtain is located in the heart of Galway City and normally has a line out the door every night. It’s not surprising either with the bar’s close ties to the Galway music and arts community. Whether having a pint in the garden or sampling the stew of the day by the fire, pub fans are sure to be satisfied with their visit.
There’s no way we could do this list and not touch on Chicago. The Irish have been a part of the Windy City since the beginning and The Grafton reflects that. Named after one of Dublin’s most famous streets, the bar routinely receives praise for its burgers and whiskey selection. Oh, and a side note, they open at 8:30 in the morning on St. Paddy’s day for you early drinkers.