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To take advantage of Chase Sapphire Preferred’s lucrative offer of 3x points on dining on the first Friday of every month, we regularly round up the best in food and drink. With St. Patrick’s Day getting closer, many pubs will be packed with patrons with pints in hand. Though everyone feels Irish on this holiday, TPG Contributor Michele Herrmann actually reflected on her heritage in choosing the 12 best Irish pubs across the U.S.
The Black Rose (Boston)
Walking distance from Faneuil Hall, this pub/restaurant’s sense of Irish hospitality has been vibrant since opening its doors almost 40 years ago. Alongside Emerald Isle favorites like corned beef sandwiches, bangers and mash, and fish and chips, the menu features New England delights like lobster rolls and clam chowder. As a bonus, this hopping venue hosts live music programs every weeknight.
McSorley’s Old Ale House (Manhattan)
Amongst the plethora of Irish pubs in New York City, McSorley’s is arguably the most recognized, and certainly the oldest. This cash-only East Village tavern has sawdust on the floor (to sop up spilled beer and meal drippings), a full menu of Gaelic grub, and just two choices on tap—light or dark.
The Galway Arms (Chicago)
A short walk from Lincoln Park, this venue carries a fine selection of whiskeys and scotches along with menu choices that go beyond run-of-the-mill, like a gouda-cheese quesadilla and a Celtic Cobb Salad with Irish bacon and soda-bread croutons. Two fireplaces and vintage woodwork give warmth to the interior while an outdoor patio lets you dine al fresco, and a Sunday night music series features the best in traditional Irish music.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House (Philadelphia)
Opened in 1860, McGillin’s Olde Ale House has been keeping its taps flowing so long that it’s earned the right to be called Philly’s oldest continuously operating tavern. The beer list at this no-frills haunt is a mix of traditional and modern suds: stouts, lagers, pilsners, lites and imports. Rounding out the list are Eastern Pennsylvania-sourced microbrews, and McGillin’s own house specialties, like its commemorative 1860 IPA.
The Dubliner (Washington, D.C.)
Right across from the Union Station and owned by a son of an Irish immigrant and a saloon keeper, this Capitol Hill pub has been replicated to look as authentic as any you’d stroll into in Dublin. Live music happens nightly, and the pub’s two house beers—an ale and a lager—are crafted with hops imported from County Kilkenny. Along with lunch and dinner pub fare, there’s also a brunch menu that includes a proper Irish breakfast.
The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant (San Francisco)
This bustling SoMa spot has gotten high marks for its pub grub, particularly with Shepherd’s Pie, Lamb Burger, Potato Bites, and of course fish and chips. In a dark-and pale-wood interior designed to evoke the 1920s (despite the fact that this place opened in 2001), you can order food all day/night long—including daily specials and brunch on weekends—and along with fine Irish and Scottish whiskeys, you’ll also find a list of Californian and Irish ales, lagers, stouts and ciders.
Conor Byrne Pub (Seattle)
At this casual place on Ballard Avenue, find on-tap or bottled brews like Smithwicks, Harp Lager, various porters, IPAs and lites, as well as several whiskey options. The cocktail menu carries its own weight by featuring Jameson in novel and traditional concoctions, such as an Irish Coffee. Its happening schedule of live music shows includes regular bluegrass jam sessions.
Finn McCool’s Irish Pub (New Orleans)
Named for a legendary giant of Irish folklore, this Mid City pub has become a major community asset since its owners from Belfast re-opened the place in 2006—six months after Hurricane Katrina hit. Its menu is a tasty rundown: fish and chips, stews and Irish sausages, twists like Irish nachos, and even international snacks like empanadas. Doubling as a sports bar, patrons often come to watch a soccer match or Saints games.
Irish Snug (Denver)
Snug, a word originating in Ireland, translates to “speakeasy,” meaning a place where bar patrons would pay extra to drink without being seen. Today, you can order items like corned beef egg rolls or toasted fennel potato cakes—and that’s just for starters. Classic Irish dishes still reign here and Happy Hour occurs every day with discounted draft beers and 2-for-1 on all well drinks and house wine.
Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant (Atlanta)
This Atlanta institution provides a wide selection of local and regional craft beers, an ever-evolving cocktail selection and a food menu that blends Irish and pub standards with new tavern favorites. The decor here evokes a true Irish pub feeling: a hand-milled bar, a “Grand House” area with an over-sized fireplace, the mezzanine’s Celtic art and the rooftop patio with large murals depicting Ireland’s rugged landscape. Sports fans happily congregate here to watch Irish and European sporting events.
Nine Fine Irishmen (Las Vegas)
Set inside the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, this on-Strip establishment is authentic in a Vegas kind of way—with an elaborate structure and a healthy dose of music. Built in Ireland, the pub’s facade and interior were then shipped to the U.S. and assembled here, with the addition of mosaics with Gaelic designs, gleaming dark wood, and vintage-style pub lights. Named for nine Irishmen convicted of trying to kill the Queen during the 1848 Irish Rebellion, the hearty menu features some spins on traditional Irish dishes, including a Sausage Pail paired with Guinness mustard.
The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant (Los Angeles)
A favorite of the Irish acting community in L.A., this fun, friendly watering hole focuses with trivia and karaoke nights, billiards, and live music performances. The bar often gets kudos for its service, and has a selection of over 20 draft beers on tap as well as an array of whiskeys. Irish specialties and pub staples round out the menu.
Please share your favorite Irish pubs in America with us—and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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