Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like a true Irishman — at an Irish pub with pint of Guinness or a plate of shepherd’s pie. Whether you’re searching for a genuine Gaelic experience or just want a perfectly poured pint any night of the week, we’ve tracked down 10 of the best Irish pubs in some of America’s most Irish communities. These authentic Irish pubs are the real deal, where you can tóg go bog é (take it easy) and have craic (good fun) in proper Irish style. Cheers!
The Snug Irish Pub
Hingham Square, Boston, Massachusetts
Dozens of Irish pubs dot neighborhoods and street corners in Boston, home to over 20 percent of the U.S. Irish-American population, the country’s most-concentrated metropolitan area. But as the popular saying goes, “it’s easy to find an Irish bar, but hard to find a good one.” The Snug, a well-liked Boston bar that boasts true Irish influences, is best known for its traditional Irish “seisuns,” or music sessions, held four nights a week; banjo players, fiddlers, guitarists, and flutists play some authentic Irish sounds that evoke an Emerald Isle feel.
The Old Court
If you’re searching for an atmosphere reminiscent of The Old Country, look no further than the aptly named Old Court. The Guinness flows, the décor is dark, and the accents are authentic. In fact, most of the staff are Irish-Americans, which is no surprise considering that Middlesex County has the second highest percentage of Americans with primary Irish ancestry. For a no-fuss experience and a perfectly poured pint, the Old Court promises to deliver.
In Peabody, Mass., a dive-y bar known as Paddy Kelly’s Pub has gained quite the cult following, likely thanks to its three simple tenants: good food, good drinks, and good atmosphere. Paddy Kelly’s has won several awards for best pub and bar, and fans insist that after one visit you’ll want to return again and again.
Albany, New York
Serving up traditional pub fare with a side of stellar live entertainment, this fun and friendly pub has it all. This authentic Gaelic establishment pulls in a wide variety of Irish-inspired bands, ranging from the Ramblin’ Jug Stompers to the Irish rock group The Lost Valentines. Albany, the capital of New York and an Irish Mecca, is home to more than 15 percent of the country’s Irish-American population, along with several awesome Irish pubs like McGeary’s.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse delivers authentic Irish flavor with innovative, modern twists. Kitty Hoynes guarantees the traditional tastes of Ireland, offering typical grub like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips; however, the real stars of the menu are their inventive adaptations to well-loved classics like their famous Guinness crab dip and popular Irish Reuben fritters. Don’t trust us? This pub was featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” celebrated for its one-of-a-kind Irish fare.
The Grey Hound
Worcester is known for its traditional ethnic neighborhoods, including the Irish-dominated area of Kelley Square. Right in the heart of beautiful Kelley Square lies the Grey Hound Pub, a hidden gem that reminds us of the Emerald Isle. Traditional Celtic bands, a wide selection of whiskey, and a welcoming atmosphere characterize this cozy, authentic pub. However, its claim to fame is that this pub caters to Rugby lovers, airing live matches on its six televisions.
Connie Mac’s Irish Pub
Pennsauken, New Jersey
Nestled along the Cooper River a few minutes outside Camden, this charming dive offers a standard selection of Irish beers on tap and a great outdoor deck prime for enjoying nice weather or taking in the sights. The pub’s green awning emblazoned with the words céad míle fáilte, which translate to “a hundred thousand welcomes,” highlight the non-pretentious pub’s laid back and friendly atmosphere.
McGillin’s Old(e) Ale House
Philadelphia may be famous for its cheesesteaks, but it might as well be known for its Irish pubs. Teeming with authentic bars and restaurants that pay homage to Ireland, its hard to pick just one. However, McGillin’s Olde Ale House is a clear winner, claiming over 150 years in business. Not only is this Philly’s oldest operating bar, McGillin’s was also voted one of the best Irish pubs in the country by Complex Magazine and one of Gourmet’s coolest bars in America. If that weren’t enough to draw you, the bar also boasts three house specialty, home-brewed beers, as well as the city’s only stout actually brewed in Ireland!
T.J. Finley’s Public House
Long Island, New York
Promoting phrases like “drink real beer” and “no crap on tap,” this Long Island establishment is the real deal when it comes to drinking in proper Irish fashion. Unlike many Irish pubs in America that offer only a handful of beers on tap, T.J. Finley’s takes a more genuine approach. The 26 beers on tap and the 46 bottles on the menu are a popular attraction. But the pub is probably best known for its “beer school” sign, teaching guests what Irish beers will suit their tastes and reforming their Americanized palates to prefer Irish stouts.
Delaware has its fair share of Gaelic drinking spots. In fact, Wilmington is home to the 10th most concentrated population of Irish-Americans. At Catherine Rooney’s, a local favorite, visitors can immerse themselves in authenticity at this traditional Irish hangout. The pub—named after the owners’ Irish mothers Catherine McCoy and Gerry Rooney- Hudecheck—prides itself on its welcoming, Old Country atmosphere. With dark wood paneling, bagpipes players and classic, comforting pub fare, this establishment has a genuinely Irish feel that visitors often call warm, cozy and traditional.