The Best Irish Pubs In America
Irish pubs are known for their rich ambiance, delicious beverages, and the ultimate comfort food offerings. With lively Celtic music wafting through the air and the perfect pint in hand, it’s no wonder this taste of the emerald isle is a favorite around the world. In fact, Forbes reports that there are roughly 7,000 Irish pubs worldwide, with 4,000 of those in the United States alone.
Publicans make it their business to ensure that those Irish pubs live up to the expectations Guinness and whisky drinkers have come to expect of their favorite neighborhood Irish pub. Though Irish pubs frequently have exceptional food and drink options, the real star of the show is the atmosphere. No bar does community like an Irish pub.
Travel See Write reports that Irish pubs have been the center of Irish culture as far back as the 10th century, acting as everything from a funeral home to a wedding venue, with every celebration and sorrow in between. If you’re looking for an authentically Irish experience in the United States, these pubs should fit the bill.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House in Philadelphia
With great drinks and plenty to celebrate, McGillin’s Olde Ale House in Philadelphia has a remarkable history. The ale house has seen many historical events, having opened the same year Abe Lincoln was elected in 1860. Then, they hosted future president Joe Biden in July of 2016 as part of MSNBC’s morning talk show "Morning Joe." The pub has also survived two pandemics, the first of which began in 1918 and the other in 2020, as well as a massive fire in 1971 that destroyed levels two through four in the building above. The pub, however, made it out unscathed.
As Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operating tavern, you can imagine how popular and crowded this favorite place can become. As a favorite of locals and tourists alike, McGillin’s holds several honors, including the best place to watch the game and even one of the most authentic Irish pubs in America. You’ll come for the ambiance and history of this charming pub but stay for the French onion soup.
McSorley’s Old Ale House in New York City
This Irish pub has humble beginnings as a favorite to local Irish men. McSorley’s Old Ale House in New York City stands as a staunch protector of its own history, continuing to refuse a reservation system and accepting only cash.
The pub opened in 1854 with John McSorley as its proprietor and famous philosophy, "Good ale, raw onions, and no ladies." The pub’s ownership passed down the family line for some time, ending up with Dorothy O’Connell Kirwan in 1939, even though women were not served in the bar until 1970, and didn’t have a separate restroom until 1986.
Infamous to everyday workers, politicians, and artists, the pub is best known as a place for connection with its belief in its golden rule, "Be good, or be gone." The subject of many tributes, e.e. Cummings wrote "Sitting in McSorley’s" in 1925, and it even appears in the Deadpool comics as the pub that Joseph Rogers frequented and Steve Rogers met up with Deadpool.
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston
With accolades such as the top shepherd’s pie in Houston and the best intimate concert venue, McGonigel’s Mucky Duck is an absolute can’t miss. This Irish pub is the perfect place for a pint and some music. Each Monday, they host open mic nights where new and upcoming music acts, poets, storytellers, and comedians share their gifts. They also offer Wednesday night games and Irish music. McGonigel’s supplies the games and music, and you bring your friends for a night of Irish beer, music, and fun.
Aside from their award-winning venue known for its Irish, bluegrass, and Texas folk music, McGonigel’s features farm-fresh ingredients. It locally sources its meats and baked items to create the ultimate home-cooked Irish experience. Between the Scotch egg and a host of other classic offerings, your favorite Irish dish is undoubtedly on the menu.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on the perfectly poured Guinness. A proud recipient of the "Perfect Pour" award, you can bet your stout is in good hands here.
John D. McGurk’s in St. Louis
This award-winning pub began as a one-room pub and grew into one of the best bars in America. John D. McGurk’s started as a great place to drink and play Gin Rummy, and it’s become an absolute favorite of tourists and locals, renowned for great food and service. With special rooms perfect for private parties, McGurk’s is even the ideal place to host a special event, large or small.
As the top seller of Guinness in Missouri, this pub also features a massive, 15,000-square-foot garden of fountains, a waterfall, and several bars. McGurk loyalists enjoy a pint among the roses and authentic Irish music from the very heart of Ireland.
The McGurk’s menu is the perfect meld of St. Louis’ own cuisine of toasted ravioli, but it also includes classic Irish corned beef and cabbage as well as badgers and mash. The Bailey’s cheesecake and whisky bread pudding are absolutely irresistible for dessert.
The Burren in Somerville, Massachusetts
This pub opened in 1996 and is committed to an authentic Irish pub experience. The Burren brings rich food and outstanding Irish music that makes for a fabulous pub. Just down the way from Tufts University, students, professors, and locals mingle in this unique space for some fun nights.
Since The Burren opened in 1996, husband and wife musician owners have brought in great music to Davis Square every night. With many different styles, you can expect to hear everything from traditional Irish folk to indie and even rock. Also, check out the weekly Irish session with favorite regular musicians.
Be sure to order favorites like the Guinness beef stew and a signature cocktail. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you’ll find specialty-created dishes like the Mediterranean snack plate or falafel wrap. There’s also a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, so herbivores can enjoy this classic Irish dish, too.
Barry’s Old School Irish in Webster, New York
A few years ago, Jessica and Danny Barry were on their honeymoon in Ireland. After falling in love with the charming pubs throughout the Irish countryside, the Barrys aimed to bring back a taste of that charm to their hometown, and Barry’s Old School was born.
Though locals love this pub, it has also been recognized as one of the top 20 Irish pubs in the United States and one of the best in New York state. With the typical drink fare and great food, the menu features favorites like the Barry family’s homemade potato and herb soup and the Bunratty wrap. You’ll also find favorites like the Reuben and shepherd’s pie.
Each year, the pub also hosts its own Irish festival, complete with Guinness sponsorship. With activities in yoga, kids’ activities, music, beer trucks, food trucks, craft vendors, and even an Irish dance performance, this festival certainly succeeds in the Barry’s goal of bringing the life of an Irish pub home.
Murphy’s Bar & Grill in Honolulu
This beloved pub has a long and storied history in Hawaii. In the beginning, the pub now known as Murphy’s Bar & Grill was given one of the first five retail spirit licenses on Oahu. From there on, ownership changed several times, as did the theme of the pub. However, the popularity certainly didn’t waver as a favored pub for many memorable names, including Robert Louis Stevenson and King Kalakaua.
Finally, Don Murphy purchased the pub in 1987 and made it into an Irish pub. Now, the menu features classic Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage, a Gaelic steak, and Hawaiian specialties like the fresh ahi. There are also weekly specials, so there’s always something new for Murphy regulars.
Murphy’s reflects the traditional feel of an Irish pub as a place where all are welcome and gather to celebrate one another.
Galway Bay in Annapolis
This Irish pub is award-winning and brings great Irish hospitality to Annapolis, Maryland. Galway Bay has been recognized for its great bartenders, trivia nights, and even for having the best Irish pub experience in the United States.
Galway Bay works very hard to bring an authentic experience where patrons can connect. To that end, this pub has no televisions to draw attention away from your company. Instead, it relies on the food, drink, and environment to make your experience memorable.
With unique offerings and classic favorites, Galway has an entire menu dedicated to its own eggnog cocktails inspired by Galway Bay’s Irish eggnog. It includes apple spice nog and even a chai tea nogg. This eggnog beverage isn’t like the bottles you’ll find in refrigerated coolers during December since this eggnog comes from the very best that Irish pastures have to offer.
The Irish Bank in San Francisco
The heart of San Francisco offers many unique experiences, including a visit to The Irish Bank. This pub brings an authentic experience with antiques and other authentic memorabilia, and you’ll find a pub committed to authenticity and the traditional comfort of an Irish pub. The exterior of the building fits that traditional feel entirely with whitewashed brick, floral baskets, and brass plaques. Inside, you’ll uncover artwork, memorabilia, and photos covering nearly every square foot of wall space.
You’ll find plenty of Irish favorites on the menu, and the fish and chips are a perennial favorite. However, they also have unique options like a vegetarian curry and vegan options of Jasmine rice, baked beans, and salsa with avocado. This uniquely appointed pub mixes old with new and is never short on extraordinary items to see throughout the restaurant.
The Harp Irish Pub and Restaurant in Cleveland
Find a warm environment and an incredible menu at this Irish pub. Inside The Harp Irish Pub and Restaurant, you’ll see beautiful features like the stained glass adorned windows and rich wooden walls. With a view of Cleveland’s city skyline and an outdoor fireplace, the patio is one of the best in the city. Warm and inviting, The Harp is the perfect space to ease into the weekend with a great pint.
The Harp boasts delicious dishes such as a Boxty salmon cake, an Irish potato pancake stuffed with salmon, squash, zucchini, spinach, and carrots, then folded over and smothered in sun-dried tomato pesto cream sauce. With an extensive menu, they offer plenty of classic and new favorites, but the different types of Boxty cakes are an absolute favorite of Harp regulars.
The Dubliner in Washington, D.C.
This D.C. pub is steeped in Irish tradition. The Dubliner is straight out of a James Joyce novel and comes from a family of Irish publicans. Just across from the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in D.C., the Dubliner is part of the very architecture of the capital.
Opening in 1974, the pub has a menu that includes rare pours like Auld Dubliner Amber Ale, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, and over 100 rare and favorite whiskies; it’s no wonder this pub is a favorite in the capital. The pub is traditional and warm with rich green and wooded walls, bringing a taste of Dublin.
With plenty of classic offerings, The Dubliner presents outstanding chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie. Still, there are also non-traditional options like the Beyond burger and bacon macaroni and cheese.
Fadó Irish Pub in Atlanta
Fadó is a modern Irish pub focused on incredible quality. This impressive spot is named for the Gaelic phrase that means "long ago," as though you were beginning a magical story. Fadó pays homage to the classic Irish pub tradition of storytelling and connection while also updating this world and offering new takes.
Traditionally appointed, the interior is full of pictures, antiques, stained glass, and wood. The promise of a delicious Irish pub will bring you in, but the bottomless mimosas, famous corned beef and cabbage, and fried chicken sandwich will turn you into a regular. You’ll also find plenty of less traditional flavors like a slow-cooked lamb dip and mini corn dogs on a stick. If you’re looking for the perfect place to catch the game, this should be your top pick, and you’ll have plenty of fans cheering right along with you.
O’Tooles Restaurant & Pub in Richmond, Virginia
O’Tooles brings Irish tradition to Richmond with this family-run pub. O’Tooles Restaurant & Pub opened in 1966 when Jim and Marie O’Toole brought their dream to life; it was the first to receive a by-the-drink liquor license in that state. Inspired by their community, the O’Tooles sought to unite people and be a landing spot for all who needed it. Now, John and Tom O’Toole run the pub their parents proudly opened.
Lining the walls inside, you’ll find family crests of different Irish ancestral names, and the drop ceiling is dressed up to look like a tin ceiling for a classic, warm feel. On the menu, you’ll choose from the Irish classics and a few Italian favorites. The spaghetti, for example, is an absolute favorite, and some new spins like the Irish egg rolls make this menu not only traditional but also slightly experimental. We’re here for it.
Blarney Stone Pub in West Fargo, North Dakota
Learn the real history of Blarney at this great Irish American pub. Blarney Stone Pub references not just the famed Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, but it is also a term that describes elongated, eloquent, or flattering speech. This is the perfect name for an Irish pub, as they are normally places of connection and conversation between patrons.
The brick and stone walls feature a dark wood interior and unassuming brick and red exterior; this pub caters to patrons only 21 years and older. Customers love the classic fish and chips as well as the cod. Of course, you’ll also find the favorite bangers and mash option, which are all classic Irish offerings. Truly, this pub’s authenticity is what makes it stand out, and customers certainly take note.
Maggie Miley’s Irish Pub in Normal, Illinois
In the small college town of Normal, Illinois, Maggie Miley’s is a favorite among locals, students, and professors. This pub’s namesake, Maggie Miley, loved cooking and entertaining friends, and when she and her husband moved to the small town of Normal to help build the railroad, she realized this was her calling. But, unfortunately, in 1866, a local ordinance banning the sale of alcohol would make her dream impossible.
Flash forward a few generations later to Maggie’s great-grandson, who saw her dream become a reality with Maggie Miley’s. The pub is meticulously designed to represent Maggie and the family’s Irish ancestry. In fact, all of the millwork came from Irish carpenters. The pub is parted down the middle to have two sides: a cottage side for her Irish heritage and a Victorian side to represent the era she was born in.
Favorite menu items include the Reuben fritters, Irish beef stew, and shepherd’s pie. Friendly staff, authentic food, and hearty portions make Maggie Miley’s an excellent Irish pub.
Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in New Orleans
Find the perfect spot to catch Irish cuisine, drinks, and the big game at Finn McCool’s. This pub prides itself as New Orleans’ premier sports pub and brings all fans a phenomenal experience and a near guarantee that they’ll have a showing for their particular game. While all Irish pubs feature Irish whisky and beer, Finn McCool’s believes that sports are essential to the Irish pub experience.
With over 50 whiskies, they’ll have the perfect sip for your Irish coffee or specific taste. And nothing says a great Irish pub like that perfectly poured Guinness.
For bites, you’ll want to try some favorites, including the Boudin balls served with pepper jelly aioli and mini meat pies. You’ll also find the classic fish and chips, Reuben, and fried fish.
Shinnick’s Pub in Chicago
Sox fans looking for a great Irish pub need to look no further than Shinnick’s Pub. This pub has been in the family for over three generations, and the fourth is often behind the bar serving up pints. The building and mahogany bar date back as far as the 1880s, but the Shinnicks family didn’t own the bar until 1938.
The charm of Shinnick’s comes from its history, having been through several wars, prohibition, and many historical events. Though you’ll find no food at Shinnick’s, you’ll find plenty of friendly faces eager to meet you and share a drink. Every St. Patrick’s day, you’ll find quite the celebration and a packed pub full of people celebrating together. Shinnick’s has a deep commitment to its community and frequently holds and sponsors fundraisers.
House of Guinness in Waukesha, Wisconsin
As the new millennium washed over downtown Waukesha, the House of Guinness was opening its doors. Since then, the pub has been upping the ante in Waukesha. The House of Guinness brings patrons 22 different taps, homemade bitters, handcrafted syrups, and an impressive whisky collection, and, if you fall in love, you can even take a bottle home.
Beloved for the drinks, you’ll also find great music and even trivia nights flowing through the House of Guinness. Between the great drinks and Irish hospitality, the House of Guinness also enjoys highlighting and educating patrons on the different available whiskies. It even features a program they call the "Whiskey Club." The goal as a member of the Whiskey Club is to drink 40 different whiskies, earning incentives along the way. After you reach 40, you’ll become a club member and be invited to closed pub meetings and events.
McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola, Florida
Inside a 1927 firehouse, you’ll find McGuire’s Irish Pub, a bar stylized after a New York Irish saloon. You’ll find over a million dollar bills attached to the ceiling and tumbling down the walls of the pub, classic stained glass, warm lighting, memorabilia, and an abundance of Blue Angels mementos covering the walls. McGuire’s also hosts yearly events, including the St. Patrick’s Day Run and the Halloween Run. With drink specials like Monday Margarita Madness and double shot martinis on Tuesdays, there’s always something to look forward to at McGuire’s.
McGuire’s self proclaims as "One of America’s Great Steakhouses," but patrons also love the spaghetti, nachos, and hickory smoked prime rib. You’ll also find plenty of fish and seafood on this rather robust menu. However, make sure you save space for dessert because the homemade bread pudding is a can’t miss.
Muldoon’s Irish Pub in Newport Beach
This three-in-one pub has something for everyone. Muldoon’s Irish Pub includes three distinct spaces: The Dublin Pub, The Celtic Bar, and the Tavern Dining Room. The Dublin Pub feels straight out of Dublin, with oak, brass, and brick making up this beautiful space. The Celtic Bar blends industrial and rustic design that makes it an ideal place to host parties and gatherings. Finally, if you’re looking for a dining experience with a cracking fireplace, look no further than the Tavern Dining Room. Connecting all three areas is a beautiful open-air patio with seating and abundant shade from the Sycamore tree.
With a rather extensive and impressive menu, there are plenty of appetizers for snacking and drinking as well as main courses for a more substantive meal. Surefire favorites include the Irish beef stew, bangers and mash, and the shepherd’s pie.
Kelly’s Irish Times in Washington, D.C.
This pub has been widely recognized as one of the best Irish pubs in the country. Kelly’s Irish Times celebrates quaint Irish hospitality, pairs it with great drink and food, and is known locally as "The Times." The no-frills environment flies in the face of formality and instead focuses on creating a welcoming atmosphere where all feel at home sharing a pint and catching up.
The chicken tenders are excellent, and though that may sound relatively simple, these tenders go great with a cold pour. You’ll also find plenty of options for great whiskey and even favorite cocktails like the dark and stormy as well as more adventurous options like a pineapple mule, which includes lime vodka, ginger beer, pineapple juice, and lime.
The Old Shillelagh in Detroit
Situated in the heart of downtown Detroit, this gem is a favorite of sports and beer lovers. The Old Shillelagh has been around since 1975 when retired Detroit officer John Brady first opened it. Having survived a fire only two years after it opened and with many advances in the building thereafter, this pub is in its third generation of publicans who look after and help grow this Detroit institution.
The Old Shillelagh is proud to support local sports teams and their fans and even offers a complimentary shuttle to and from Lions, Red Wings, and Piston games. The pub prides itself on serving locally sourced food, which includes a whole section for vegan options, including a favorite version of Reuben rolls.