Sure, we take St. Patrick’s day seriously in the City, but if we’re going to be honest, Irish pubs are a part of daily life for New Yorkers. You can’t swing a cat without hitting an Irish pub, and although you can generally count on any one you walk into being dark, casual, and friendly with that enticing aroma of stale beer that has soaked into the dark wood bar for decades, there are a few gems that stand out. This list goes to 11.
1. McSorley’s Old Ale House This East Village establishment has been around since 1854 and looks like it hasn’t had a good dusting in those 166 years, but out of respect we need to tip our hats to this New York legend, the oldest tavern in the City. You’ll get a choice of two kinds of beer, dark or light, which is perfect for the indecisive.
2. The Dead Rabbit Irishmen Jack McGarry (who won International Bartender of the Year) and Sean Muldoon spent six years planning and constructing this three-story pub in the financial district, with a tap room, a parlour, and “the occasional,” a private party spot on the third floor.
3. An Béal Bocht, Gaelic for “the poor mouth,” is a pub in the Bronx that embraces the arts, with local music, writers nights, comedy, art exhibits, and even theater. They’re also the sponsor of the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade.
4. Swift Hibernian Lounge Offering more than 30 single malts and a dozen beers on tap, this Noho pub encourages the Irish tradition of lengthy and often heavily embellished conversation with its long communal tables and no televisions.
5. Peter McManus Cafe Winner of NYC’s battle of the burger, Chelsea’s Peter McManus is the City’s oldest family-run bar. Find out from the bartender how the bullet hole in the stained glass cabinet behind the bar got there.
6. Donovan’s Pub in Woodside features Monday and Thursday night football with specials like $4 pizzas and $2 off pints. Opened by firefighter Joe Donovan in 1966, the walls pay tribute to cops and firefighters killed on 9/11.
7. Paddy Reilly’s in Kips Bay was constructed almost entirely of reclaimed materials that came directly from Ireland. If that’s not enough authenticity for you, their taps were made specifically for Paddy Reilly’s by Guinness themselves.
8. The Wicked Monk The Irish are pros at bringing drinking and religion together, and The Wicked Monk does it with class, adorned with wooden pews, a pulpit, stained glass, and even a confessional reclaimed from a church in Cork. Most people still just confess to the bartenders, though.
9. Molly’s Shebeen Pub Well-known for its sawdust-covered floors, Molly’s serves up some of the best Irish fare in the city. May we recommend the lamb stew paired with a pint of stout?
10. Sean Ogs Half the staff at this Woodside pub is from Ireland, which means the storytelling is bar none. They’ve got outdoor seating from May through October and serve a comfort food brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
11. The Four-Faced Liar We could find almost no photos of this place that weren’t blurry, which may or may not have to do with the consumption of 20-oz drafts served up in this West Village saloon. You’ll find Irish expats fraternizing with Greenwich Village locals, plus frequent music events and poetry readings every other Tuesday.