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Photograph: Daniel Krieger

The best Irish pubs in NYC

Embark on a multiborough journey for beer, bar-stool grub and a jolly-good time at the best Irish pubs across Gotham

Written by
Bao Ong
&
Time Out contributors
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Glugging down pints of Guinness shouldn't be reserved solely for St. Patrick's Day. The warm, Celtic atmosphere at these traditional Gaelic taverns is a year-round affair, complete with the fail-proof combo of cocktails, some of the best beer in the city and plenty of Irish coffees inspired by the Emerald Isle. Find the best Irish pubs NYC has to offer and toast to drinking like the Irish.

RECOMMENDED: See the full St. Patrick's Day in NYC guide

Best Irish pubs in NYC

McSorley’s Old Ale House
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Established in 1854, this Irish institution is the oldest tavern in the city and remains steadfastly authentic: In true pub fashion, its wooden floors are doused in sawdust to sop up spills and dinner drippings, and barkeeps pour just two suds (McSorley's Dark Ale, McSorley's Light Ale) in a pair of eight-ounce mugs. Fill up on traditional Gaelic grub like the platter of sharp cheddar slices and zippy raw onion.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Financial District
  • price 2 of 4

At this history-rich grocery and grog, the first-floor taproom slings top-notch cocktails alongside straight spirits and bar bites like Scotch eggs and short rib sliders. Whether or not you're breaking bread, ask for a Pop-Inn, a lightly hopped ale (Peekskill Simple Sour) spiked with flavored liqueurs (citrus, rhubarb, ginger). You can also throw back a dram of that old Irish standby, Jameson. 

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An Béal Bocht
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • The Bronx
  • price 1 of 4

The name is Gaelic for "the poor mouth" (also the title of a novel by Irish writer Flann O'Brien), but that's not the only artistic influence at this congenial hang, which serves as a gathering place for Riverdale's Irish-American art and theater communities. Posters and sketches depict literary heroes like James Joyce. Comfort foods abound on the lengthy menu, which stars bangers and mash and a classic shepherd’s pie and beef stew.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Noho
  • price 1 of 4

Patrons here sit at long communal wooden tables and sip beers from a vast and varied selection: You’ll find a dozen on tap and two dozen bottles, many of them imported. Swift also offers more than 30 single malts and plenty of whiskey from the Emerald Isle. On Tuesday evenings, locals gather to hear traditional Irish bands perform.

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Peter McManus Café
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Chelsea
  • price 1 of 4

Irish pubs are a dime a dozen, but very few possess a history as star-studded as this one. The family-owned saloon, among the city’s oldest, has been at its present location since 1936 and appeared on classic NYC shows like Seinfeld and Law & Order. Sidle up to the oak bar for a few shots chased with the house’s own McManus Ale; if you get lonesome, slip into one of the two old-school telephone booths and drunk-dial.

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Paddy Reilly’s
  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Kips Bay
  • price 1 of 4

There’s a reason this place feels so authentic—just about every square inch was schlepped from the Emerald Isle. A knotted floorboard comes directly from an Irish hotel; the makeshift still was constructed in County Cavan; and Gaelic bands rock out live every night. Eight taps, made specifically for the pub by Guinness, pour the black stuff almost exclusively. You can get Stella or Sam Adams here, too, but why would you want to?

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Bay Ridge
  • price 2 of 4
There's quite literally a piece of ire in this jolly pub—in fact, there are several: When owner Michael Dorgan heard that a church in Cork, Ireland, was being demolished, he shipped over a few pieces (the wooden pews, pulpit, confessional, statues and stained-glass windows) to incorporate into his bar. The trimmings may skew sacred, but the older neighborhood crowd here is plenty rowdy—look for the faces of abiding regulars immortalized in the mural above the bar. The staff here takes its Guinness very seriously—if Dorgan spots incorrectly poured suds, he'll toss them down the drain without hesitation—so request a pint of the roasty stout with confidence.
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Molly’s Pub and Shebeen
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Gramercy
  • price 1 of 4

Thickly accented bartenders tend to off-the-clock Manhattanites at this rustic East Side retreat. Pastoral touches—a whitewashed facade, a sawdust-covered floor and Celtic crosses—make this tavern feel like it's been transplanted from the Irish countryside. Regulars swear by the Irish lamb stew, a rib-sticking combination of lamb, carrots and potatoes, paired with a pint of Murphy's Stout, a creamy swig brewed in County Cork using a 150-year-old recipe.

  • Bars
  • Woodside

You're never far from a lilting laugh or brogue at this lively spot, where more than half of the staff is Ireland-born. A seat at the sleek wooden bar best positions you to hear stories from the bartenders, but it's hard to resist a table next to the stone hearth.

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