If you’re looking for Irish pubs in NYC, you can find one on nearly every block. There are over 100 Irish pubs in Manhattan alone! Amongst the pizza counters and bodegas, you’ll find a dimly-lit pub where you can pull up a stool to a wooden bar, smoothed by age, and order a pint.
When the Great Famine hit Ireland in the mid-1800s, more than 1 million people fled the country for new shores. Many of them landed in New York City, bringing with them Irish customs, food, and songs. Of course, folks needed places to gather to share these bits of home. Thus, Irish pubs popped up around the city.
It is estimated that by 1850 a quarter of NYC’s population was Irish, and the effects of this are still evident today. Some Irish pubs in NYC have been in existence since the 1800s and continue to be some of the best places to grab a drink or a meal. Some bars will even have traditional live music in the evenings.
As someone of Irish heritage, visiting an Irish pub in America feels like a way to connect to the country that my ancestors left behind.
Note: This post only covers Irish bars in Manhattan, but there are plenty more in the other boroughs. See “Honorable Mentions” below.
7 Best Irish Pubs in NYC
McSorley’s Old Ale House
15 E 7th St.
You can’t talk about Irish pubs in NYC without mentioning McSorely’s! It is the oldest Irish bar in NYC and has been operating since 1854. Even Abe Lincoln visited. (Although women weren’t permitted in until 1970.)
There are only two kinds of beer at McSorley’s: light and dark. When you order a round, it’ll come in half-pint glass mugs, with the bartenders masterfully carrying several rounds in each hand.
Not much has changed at McSorley’s over the years. The walls are covered in memorabilia and the floor is covered in sawdust.
Perhaps the most moving pieces of history, though, hang over the bar. During World War I McSorley’s would serve departing soldiers a turkey and ale dinner. They would then hang the turkey wishbones on the lamp over the bar, and when the soldiers returned, they would pull them and celebrate.
Sadly, some bones are still hanging there to this day (at least the ones that haven’t disintegrated). The bones collected so much dust over the following 100 years that in 2011 the health department finally demanded they be cleaned.
The Landmark Tavern
626 11th Ave.
Another of the oldest Irish pubs in NYC has to be the Landmark Tavern. Over on 11th Ave, it’s now surrounded by high-rise buildings, but when you walk inside you’ll feel like you could be in the past.
The Landmark Tavern opened in 1868. Back then there was no 12th Ave, so it was a “waterfront saloon”. It’s survived years of changes; during Prohibition, the third floor even became a speakeasy! Today, it’s an unassuming cozy spot to have a pint.
Have a drink at the bar, or enjoy a meal in the back room, where on Monday nights you can find an Irish “trad” music session. Make sure to fill up on fish and chips or shepherd’s pie!
287 3rd Ave.
Molly’s is already one of my favorite Christmas bars in NYC, but it’s perfect no matter the time of year. From its whitewashed exterior to its cozy wooden interior, Molly’s is one of the most authentic Irish pubs in NYC. (It even has a working fireplace!)
The place is named after the Irish folk song, Molly Malone. It’s changed hands several times since 1960 but has continually been Irish-owned. It’s the type of place where you might find some older gents who come in every afternoon to drink their regular pints in peace.
If you come for lunch, fill up on excellent pub fare. Warm your soul with some French onion soup or Irish lamb stew. However, if you come for dinner, come early because once 5:00 pm hits, the place is packed with young locals!
252 W 14th St.
I think that Grace’s is one of the coziest Irish pubs in NYC. Irish owners, Mike O’Sullivan and Dan Grace, put a lot of care into successfully recreating a traditional Irish pub on 14th Street in Chelsea.
Grace’s welcomes you in with candlelight, stone walls, and even a “snug”, which is a small, private nook, with a window through which drinks can be passed from the bar. There’s a feeling of community, from the friendly bartenders to strangers striking up conversations with one another (which is usually unheard of in NYC).
They have a dispenser specifically for Guinness, that serves the beer at exactly 42 degrees F, which is apparently the perfect temperature to enjoy the famous beverage.
Grace’s also just happens to be one of my favorite Irish bars in NYC because on Wednesday nights you can find a friend of mine playing Irish tunes on his guitar with other live musicians!
The Dead Rabbit
30 Water St.
Another of the most authentic Irish pubs in NYC is the Dead Rabbit. Despite its name (named for the Irish American gang), I promise it’s a delightful place. With sawdust on the floor and Kodak photos plastered everywhere, you’ll feel right at home. Perhaps that’s why it says, “Welcome Home,” above the front door.
The Dead Rabbit was opened in 2013 by Belfast native Jack McGarry, but the building itself is much older as it was built in 1828. It’s on the same historic block as Fraunces Tavern.
The Dead Rabbit not only has multiple floors, but two bars as well: the Tap Room and the Parlor (plus the Occasional Room for private parties). They serve both beer and craft cocktails, including a mean Irish coffee!
Irish culture is kept alive and well at the Dead Rabbit, with art by contemporary Irish artists on the walls, and live music on Sunday nights.
The Four-Faced Liar
165 W 4th St.
The Four-Faced Liar is an Irish bar tucked away in Greenwich Village. You might not even notice it from the outside, but inside is one of the best Irish pubs in NYC. It’s a gathering place for Irish ex-pats, college students, and Village oldtimers.
Named for the church steeple in Cork, where the owner is from, the Four-Faced Liar really feels like it could be in Cork as well. There’s a splendid lack of shamrocks. Instead, the place is painted a cheery yellow and blue.
You and a group of friends can gather around large tables to chat or play board games with pints of Guinness in hand. In fact, it’s said that the Four-Faced Liar pours some of the best Guinness in the city!
Of course, you can find football/soccer on the TVs (“Liverpool supporters are especially welcome”). Then, on Sunday afternoons you can also find folks gathered for poetry readings.
Peter McManus Cafe
152 7th Ave.
Peter McManus Cafe claims to be the “oldest family-run bar in New York City”, serving food and drink since 1936. It’s a neighborhood bar in Chelsea, but also one of the most-filmed Irish pubs in NYC!
You might recognize Peter McManus from the 1986 film Highlander, the 2010 film The Other Guys, or shows like SNL, Seinfeld, and Broad City. It’s easy to see why; Peter McManus is the quintessential NYC Irish pub, with bright green booths, wooden accents…and a stained glass cabinet behind the bar with a bullet hole in it.
Fill up on hearty meals like burgers, corned beef, and tater tots with cheese! Wash it all down with a beer or one of the many Irish whiskies available.
- Hartley’s: Owned by the same folks who own Grace’s, Hartley’s is the Brooklyn equivalent. It’s a hidden gem of the Clinton Hill neighborhood, especially on Monday nights when it’s full of live music.
- An Béal Bocht: Its name means “the poor mouth,” and it’s all the way up in the Riverdale neighborhood in the Bronx. An Béal Bocht regularly hosts poetry, theater, and comedy performances.
- The Wicked Monk: This Irish pub in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, is decorated with pieces from a Gothic monastery, including a confessional.
I hope you get a chance to visit these Irish pubs in NYC! Whether you’re celebrating St. Paddy’s Day or just looking to nurse a pint, go in for the food and drink, but stay for the craic. Sláite!
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