15 of Our Favorite Irish Pubs in NYC
The five boroughs have no shortage of pubs and bars to visit—to the point that finding the best place for a pint (or glass of whiskey, neat) can be more than a little intimidating. We get it. That’s why we’ve done the legwork for you, rounding up the 15 best Irish pubs in NYC. Your only challenge now will be deciding which one to try first.
Don’t let the size of this Clinton Hill pub fool you. Sure, it’s teeny, but the bartenders are welcoming and turn out top-notch cocktails. Get the Mary O (Landy’s cognac, Aperol, prosecco and lemon) and an order of the Irish cheddar popcorn. On Monday nights locals flock to hear live traditional Irish music. Hartley’s is owned by three Irishmen, two of whom played rugby in Ireland together and wound up in Clinton Hill, eventually opening Hartley’s. Owner Mike O’Sullivan’s family nickname inspired the restaurant’s branding: “Where my family come from in Kerry, there’s a lot of O’Sullivan’s, so they give people nicknames to help with the post. My family became known as ‘Hartley’ as my great-grandfather worked for a lord Hartley’s.”
14 Putnam Ave., Brooklyn; hartleysnyc.com
2. The Dead Rabbit
If you’ve never tried one of the Dead Rabbit’s innovative cocktails, you need to head to this Financial District favorite, stat. Opened by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry (both originally from Belfast) back in 2013, the Dead Rabbit has been named the world’s best bar by Tales of the Cocktails, in 2015, and World’s 50 Best Bars, in 2016. The two-story space recently expanded its taproom for shorter wait times, but the place still fills up fast, so get there early to snag a table.
30 Water St.; deadrabbitnyc.com
3. Peter McManus
McManus is the oldest family-run bar in New York City. Open since 1911, McManus closed during Prohibition and then reopened as a family pub in 1936. It has won numerous awards for its burger, Pop Pop’s Top Shelf Burger,” named in honor of James McManus (known to his grandchildren as “Pop Pop”), who passed away in 2002. It’s also rumored to have the best Guinness pour in the city.
152 Seventh Ave.; petermcmanuscafe.com
4. The Wren
What do you get when you expertly combine muddled mint, Jameson Irish whiskey, lemon and simple syrup? The Jameson Smash, a special St. Patrick's Day cocktail you’ll find at the Wren. This Bowery bar was named for the annual day-after-Christmas holiday of Wren Day, an old Irish pagan tradition of parading a stuffed wren bird through the streets. In addition to beers on draft, cocktails and wine, they also serve brunch worthy of the crowds, including a full Irish breakfast (black pudding, baked beans, bacon and more, over brown soda bread) next to Irish coffee and avocado toast.
344 Bowery; thewrennyc.com
5. Wilfie & Nell
This homey farm-to-table pub pays homage to owners Mark and Simon Gibson’s youth in Dublin and their grandparents’ origins in Belfast (the actual Wilfie and Nell). Go for brunch: The Irish eggs Benedict (poached eggs over griddled country ham and Gruyère, served on house-made soda bread), Guinness lamb stew and the Irish coffee with hand-whipped cream are not to be missed. The bar had served more than 1 million pints of beer as of its tenth anniversary, in 2018, including more than 100,000 pints of Guinness!
228 W. Fourth St.; wilfieandnell.com
Part Irish pub, part East Village watering hole, this St. Marks haunt regularly draws crowds for its cozy ambience, grilled cheese sandwiches and a patio made for people-watching. The owners immigrated to New York City from Cork and Dublin and named the bar for the Gaelic word for “victory.” Don’t miss a very classic Irish item on the menu: Irish curry fries. Stop by during the excellent happy hour (3 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends) for $18 wine carafes as well as beer and cocktail specials. There’s also an industry happy hour every night of the week from midnight to 2 a.m., with select cocktails for $8 and tequila-shot-and-Tecate combos for $10.
122 St. Marks Pl.; buabar.com
Not wanting to be a typical NYC-styled Irish pub, Jackdaw (opened by a group of friends from Sligo, Ireland, in the East Village) instead has subtle hints of Irish suggestions incorporated into the menu and the place itself. The name is inspired by stories from the famous Irish poet W. B. Yeats called The Jackdaw, which also happens to be a type of bird commonly found in the British and Irish isles. (You can see hints of Yeats in the bar through paintings and photos hanging on the walls, on the menu and on thank-you cards.) Jackdaw has a great selection of Irish gin and whiskey, bites with Irish bacon, sausages, cheese and Tayto crisps, Guinness and Irish coffee of course, as well as locally sourced craft beer and hand-crafted cocktails.
213 Second Ave; jackdawnyc.com
8. The Mean Fiddler
Inspired by the love of Irish music, Irish owned and bartended the Mean Fiddler, just shy of Times Square, has live music Sunday through Wednesday followed by a DJ until 4 a.m. seven nights a week. Fun fact: In Ireland, you are deemed in high esteem if you play a fiddle, the national instrument.
Sip on bar favorites like Guinness, Fashioned by Age (old fashioned), DropKick Murphy’sMule, Irish Wildflower and their signature cocktail, the Twisted Fiddler. If you’re feeling peckish, get the fish and chips, chicken potpie, Fiddler burger or shepherd’s pie. They recently added to the bar a grocery store that sells Irish favorites, a replica of the owners’ parents’ grocery in Ireland, Pat’s Corner Shop.
266 W. 47th St.; themeanfiddlernyc.com
9. The Spaniard
Yes, Irish bars can be elegant and refined, and the Spaniard proves it. It’s named after a much-loved bar by the same name in Kinsale, Ireland. Rather than a traditional pub facade, the Spaniard incorporates luxe materials to give the space a more upscale vibe: Think emerald green banquettes, mauve and maroon velour bar stools, stained-glass windows, a glossy wood bar and vintage nautical paintings.
The team worked for months to perfect its version of the classic Irish coffee, made in collaboration with Sam Ross of Attaboy using Counter Culture espresso, Teeling Small Batch“Rum Cask Finish” Irish whiskey, Appleton Estate Reserve rum, demerara syrup and a super subtle toasted coconut-infused cream. Don’t skip the Irish Dip (a play on the classic French dip sandwich, made with roasted leg of lamb) or their hot whiskey.
190 W. Fourth St.; thespaniardnyc.com
Just shy of two years old, Grace’s is a traditional Irish-owned pub in Chelsea with creature comforts like a “snug” (private area attached to a bar) and live music on Sundays and Wednesdays. The restaurant is known for welcoming everybody, often featuring a mix of construction workers looking to relax after their shift and tech startup employees hanging out at happy hour. Fill up on hearty classics for dinner, like beef and roast vegetable Guinness stew and Irish soda bread. You’ve got to try the pub’s salmon board—it’s loaded with house-cured salmon, goat cheese, pickles and capers (as well as Irish soda bread).
252 W. 14th St. Chelsea; gracesnyc.com
11. An Béal Bocht
Hop on an uptown 1 train, take it all the way up to 238th Street and you’ll find one of the city’s homiest Irish pubs. Depending on the day, you might find Irish music playing, a poetry reading or maybe even some live theater. There’s a decent selection of both Irish and local beers to drink while you tuck into the Gaelic burger (topped with Irish bacon, sautéed mushrooms and cheddar) or the shepherd’s pie.
445 W. 238th St., Bronx; anbealbochtcafe.com
12. Swift Hibernian Lounge
This poetic, Irish-owned, churchlike spot is named after Jonathan Swift, the Irish author and satirist who wrote Gulliver’s Travels and numerous other books and essays. (The “Hibernian”part comes from the Roman name for Ireland.). Unlike other Irish pubs, Swift has a strict no-television policy. The staff cherishes the dying art of good conversation and aims to sustain an environment that fosters that. The interior is decorated with reclaimed church pews and even has a pulpit from which DJs play and people give speeches and presentations. In addition to the restaurant’s flawless Guinness pours, it has a huge selection of Irish whiskey you can find on the spirits list and cocktail menu.
34 E. Fourth St.; swiftnycbar.com
13. McSorley’s Ale House
Stepping onto the sawdust-covered floors at McSorley’s is about as close as you can get to going back in time. Established in 1854 (and believed to be NYC’s oldest continually operating saloon), the dim space is wallpapered with decades-old artwork and newspaper clippings. Your drink options are simple: light or dark beer. (P.S. Take your time enjoying that pint, as a matter of principle—the space didn’t allow women inside until 1970.)
15 E. Seventh St.; mcsorleysoldalehouse.nyc
14. The Landmark Tavern
There’s nothing posh about this old-school Irish bar (it opened back in 1868), but the bangers and mash are top notch, the Guinness is served just right and Irish folk music is almost always playing.
626 11th Ave.; thelandmarktavern.com
15. Molly’s Pub and Restaurant Shebeen
One look at the rustic, wood-paneled space and you’re going to want to stay a while, so settle into a booth by the fireplace before ordering a pint of cider beer and the fish and chips.
287 Third Ave.; Gramercy; mollysshebeennyc.com