Post overiew: Best Irish pubs in New York City
When I first moved to New York City eight years ago I lived down the street from one of the best Irish pubs in New York City. Having never been to Ireland or visiting a pub before, I blindly visited for happy hour and was immediately hooked.
I found a home away from home along with some of the friendliest folks I’ve ever met, both barkeeps and other patrons! Few establishments capture the warm and inviting vibe to the same level as Irish pubs in New York City.
The hearty meals are complimented by cold beer and whether you’re looking for an after-work hangout or a party on a Friday night, Irish pubs always deliver.
The question becomes which are the best Irish pubs in New York City? If you’re visiting town and are short on time the last thing you want to do is visit a mediocre spot. That’s why I’m going to help!
After years of liver damage I’ve found the best of the best, and I’m going to share them with you. What do you say we get right into it?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Irish Pubs in New York City
McSorley’s Old Ale House
Opened sometime between 1854 and 1862 (the exact year is debated), McSorley’s Old Ale House is one of the most historic Irish pubs in New York City.
Indeed, it’s the oldest Irish salon in New York City and has hosted notable patrons throughout the years. Famous names include Abraham Lincoln, Ulyssess S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Houdini and of course, yours truly. 😉
The bar boasts two mottos: “We were here before you were born” and “Be Good or Be Gone.” However, before women were allowed in the bar in the 1970’s, McSorely’s motto was: “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies.”
Located in the East Village, everything about this iconic Irish pub in New York City oozes with old-world charm. In fact, not a single item has been removed from the walls since 1910. You can find Houdini’s handcuffs on a bar rail and wishbones hung by young men going off to World War I.
McSorley’s also has the simplest menu out of any Irish pub in New York City: dark and light ale. Some things never change, and (frankly) shouldn’t.
Address: 15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
The Playwright Irish Pub
The Playwright Irish Pub is one of the best Irish pubs in New York City for sports lovers. Notably, the NYC Washington State Cougars Alumni Association and the Real Madrid and Dallas Cowboys Supporters Clubs have made the pub their home base. This means whenever these teams play, the Playwright gets packed!
However even when these teams aren’t playing there is usually some sport playing on the screens. You’ll rarely find the bar empty, with casual watchers taking their time sipping their drinks.
Speaking of drinks the pub has a small cocktail menu and a simple selection of beer on draft. Plus, the Playwright is one of the best Irish pubs in New York City for happy hour because it runs from 4-8PM, Monday through Friday.
You’ll be able to enjoy $8 beer plus $9 cocktails and wine. This might seem steep depending on where you’re visiting from, but their solid prices for Irish pubs in New York City.
Address: 27 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001
You can visit Connolly’s Pub for just about any occasion, it’s one of the most versatile Irish pubs in New York City. Date night? Connolly’s. Shots with friends? Connolly’s. Live music ? Connolly’s.
The pub has two locations (only a 10 minute walk from each other) and each have their merits. The 45th St. location has a rooftop patio that’s perfect on a sunny day, and the 47th St. location has large open space perfect for groups.
Regardless of which location you visit you’ll be able to enjoy warm service and a fulfilling meal. The fish & chips, and chicken pot pie are amazing, but the can’t miss dish is the the bangers & mash.
Made with Irish sausage, mashed potatoes, mushy peas and onion gravy the dish has quickly become one of my favorite comfort meals. I’m not even Irish, but I feel at home every time I visit Connolly’s.
Address: 121 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar
If you’re looking for one of the best Irish pubs in New York City with live music, look no further than Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar. The pub has live music every day of the week so if you’re ever in a pinch you know where to go.
The traditional Irish, Irish rock and bluegrass music puts everyone in high-spirits and before you know it you’re best friends with the bartenders and random folks you’ll never see again.
In the back of the bar you’ll find a pool table and darts, perfect for hanging out with any newfound friends you’ve made. With all the entertainment it’s easy to lose track of time at Paddy Reilly’s, I’ve stumbled out of the joint well past midnight more often than I’d like to admit.
The beer selection is simple because they only have three beers on draft: Guinness, Heineken and a light beer. There’s also canned and bottled beer available if you like what’s on tap. But then again, if you don’t like Guinness why are you looking for the best Irish pubs in New York City? 😉
Address: 519 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016
11th Street Bar
Any soccer fans reading this? Specifically, any Liverpool fans? Because if so the 11th Street Bar is one of the best Irish pubs in New York City for you. As the longtime home of the Liverpool Supporters Club you’ll find that on game days the pub swells with folks in the iconic red jerseys.
And if you’re not a sports loving fellow and prefer music the beloved East Village pub has you covered too. Every Sunday 11th Street Bar organizes one of the longest running traditional Irish Seisiúns, or music sessions, starting at 9:30PM.
The high-spirited melodies bring the pub to life and before you know it you’re tapping your foot along to the beat. 11th Street Bar is one of the best Irish pubs in New York City thanks to the fun-loving, electric atmosphere.
Even if you’re a grouch and don’t like sports or music, there is one thing that can draw you into the pub – booze! You’ll have the choice of a variety of craft beer, wine or cocktails that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Address: 510 E 11th St, New York, NY 10009
Finnegan’s Wake has been a staple of the Upper East Side for more than 50 years. Surprisingly, over the decades the pub has never lost its homey, hidden-gem vibe and that makes it one of the best Irish pubs in New York City.
Catering to a more mature crowd than some of the other Irish pubs in New York City, Finnegan’s Wake is perfect for a casual drink. The service is top-notch and whenever I visit I can’t help but feel like I’m hanging at a friends house, not a restaurant.
If you’re hungry don’t hesitate to order dinner at the treasured pub, the meals are all generous, satisfying and hearty. As one of the best Irish pubs in New York City you’ll find classic dishes like fish & chips, shepherds pie and bangers and mash to quell your growling stomach.
Address: 1361 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
Jimmy Neary immigrated to NYC from Ireland in the 1950’s and opened his namesake restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day in 1967. Back in those days Irish pubs in New York City were a dime a dozen, but when New York State Governor Hugh Carey became a regular (he loved the smoked salmon) Neary’s became a household name.
Boasting a high quality meat-centric menu it’s no surprise Neary’s attracts a high-end crowd. The corned beef, prime rib and 1/2 roasted chicken make up the star-studded menu, but the real star of the show are the lamb chops.
With a perfect outer crisp and tender texture, the lamb chops are worth the trip alone. Plus, fresh fish is delivered daily so you’ll never leave on an empty stomach.
Neary’s is also one of the best Irish pubs in New York City for a date-night. There is a dress code (proper attire, no t-shirts, no shorts) so you won’t be out of place if you choose to dress up. Furthermore, the leather booths, wood-tones and red table cloths give the place an elegant vibe your significant other is sure to appreciate.
Address: 358 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
Peter McManus Cafe
One of the best and most historic Irish pubs in New York City, Peter McManus Cafe, is the longest running family-owned bar in NYC.
A classic Irish establishment that’s been around since 1936, you can expect to find fantastic food and drinks. My suggestion is to try the McManus Ale, which is the house brew and amazingly refreshing and crisp.
Although the pub has been around for more than 80 years it still has a laid back, dive bar atmosphere. The bartenders will gladly chat you up as they pour your brews which only adds to the friendly neighborhood pub vibe.
And let me share a little fun fact for you guys – every summer Peter McManus hosts an annual Stickball Sunday. For those unfamiliar, stickball is essentially street baseball using a broom handle as a bat and a rubber bat.
The street outside the pub is shut down and there is free beer and snacks. The best Irish pubs in New York City give back to their community, and Peter McManus Cafe does so with Stickball Sunday! The event date varies per year, but you can check their Facebook for updates.
Address: 152 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10011
Stepping foot into Molly’s you might notice some unique decor – sawdust on the floor. The sawdust was common back in the day because it soaks up any spilled drinks or blood (use your imagination). It also made it easy to slide a keg (or passed out drunk) across the floor.
But tradition alone doesn’t make Molly’s one of the best Irish pubs in New York City. You’ll find a simple but sensational menu with hearty classics (try the shepherd’s pie) and cold beer on tap.
I’d also describe Molly’s as one of the coziest Irish pubs in New York City, and I’m not talking about the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get from the whiskey or beer. The pub has a wood-burning fireplace which makes it hard to leave, so I guess I’ll have another round. 😉
Address: 287 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010
The Dead Poet
The Dead Poet was founded by Drew Dvorkin, a former high school English teacher with an affinity for Irish pubs who decided to make his dream of opening one a reality.
Sociable and inviting, The Dead Poet is one of the most laid-back bars Irish pubs in New York City. The theme of literature is visible throughout the bar thanks to framed portraits of famous authors and emotive quotes.
If you get hungry you’ll have the options of popcorn or a hot dog, but if neither of those sound appetizing you’re allowed to bring food from neighboring restaurants. It should go without saying the reason The Dead Poet is one of the best Irish pubs in New York City is thanks to the booze.
There’s an ample selection of beer available on draft, as well as canned options. Plus, The Dead Poet has an ingenious knack for naming cocktails after classic books. I never know whether to order a drink based off its name or what’s in it!
“What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today.”Edgar Allan Poe
Address: 450 Amsterdam Ave #2, New York, NY 10024
If you watched the show How I Met Your Mother then you’re familiar with McLaren’s, the bar the main cast of characters frequent. What you may not know is that McGee’s, one of the best Irish pubs in New York City, is the inspiration for the fictional TV bar.
The creators of the show modeled McLaren’s after McGee’s because it was one of their favorite Irish pubs in New York City. In the pub you’ll find pictures from the show adorning the walls and excited tourists taking photos.
Even though McGee’s is a popular tourist attraction, the pub still manages to have an easygoing vibe. The three floors give ample space to spread out guests and you never really feel overwhelmed or like it’s crowded.
The menu is straightforward and diverse, so if you’re hungry you’re sure to find something to munch on. Plus, there are How I Met Your Mother inspired cocktails which are a fun touch for any fans of the show.
Address: 240 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
The Dead Rabbit
Located in the Financial District and named after an Irish gang that ran rampant in lower Manhattan, the Dead Rabbit opened in 2013.
The founders, Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry hail from Belfast, Ireland and had a simple goal. They wanted to create one of the best upscale cocktail bars in New York City with the atmosphere of Irish pubs, and they delivered.
Whether I’m visiting for dinner or an after-work drink the Dead Rabbit is one of the best Irish pubs in New York City. With four bars inside the pub, each room is cozier than the last and the staff makes you feel like old friends.
The Financial District hot-spot has also earned several awards, most notably #1 bar in the world in 2016. It’s hard to go wrong with any drink, but the hot-toddy on a cold day is hard to beat.
Address: 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004
New York City Irish Pubs (Post Summary)
- McSorley’s Old Ale House
- The Playwright Irish Pub
- Connolly’s Pub
- Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar
- 11th Street Bar
- Finnegan’s Wake
- Peter McManus Cafe
- The Dead Poet
- McGee’s Pub
- The Dead Rabbit
Best Irish Pubs in New York City (Map)
And there you have it folks! My list of the best Irish pubs in New York City, I hope you found the post useful.
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