Most people think of St. Patrick’s Day as a debaucherous drinking holiday (green beer, anyone?), so it’s a no-brainer to hit up an Irish pub before or two after attending a St. Paddy’s Day parade. You’ll find celebrations in most major cities and plenty of bars on and off the parade routes. Whether you’re looking for the perfect pint of Guinness or just a little luck of the Irish, these are the best, most authentic Irish bars you’ll find in every major parade city—and they’re worth checking out year round.
Hudson Hound: New York City
NYC’s charming West Village neighborhood isn’t along the official parade route (which runs along Fifth Avenue between 44th and 79th Streets, by the way), but it’s still a festive part of Manhattan. And it’s exactly where you’ll find Hudson Hound. The Big Apple is littered with a variety of Irish bars, but this one stands out thanks to its modern takes on traditional Irish plates like cider spiked fish pie, homemade soda bread, and Irish lager steamed mussels. The drink menu features mostly local craft beers, but you’ll always find Guinness and Crean’s Irish Lager (from Dingle, Ireland) among the selections.
J.J. Foley’s Cafe: Boston
This pub first opened its doors in Boston’s South End in 1909, making it one of the city’s older Irish drinking establishments. Locals (you’ll typically find a mix of regulars ranging from bike messengers to Harvard professors) like it here because the spacious bar feels like an authentic blast from the past—no fabricated Irish props are used as decor. The menu features typical pub fare like curry fries and an Irish bacon burger.
The Grafton: Chicago
Located in Chicago’s delightful Lincoln Square neighborhood on the city’s North Side, this traditional Irish pub is off the beaten path but well worth a visit. The long room features dark oak finishes with tin ceilings, a cozy fireplace and, of course, a menu full of rustic Irish specialties like Guinness stew and a full Irish breakfast. Live music is offered in the back room several nights a week, and don’t be surprised if the whole bar occasionally breaks out into a group singalong.
The Dubliner: Kansas City
The massive parade that winds through Kansas City’s Midtown is bookended with a special Gaelic mass and concert events. Keep the party going by heading to The Dubliner. The pub prides itself on its traditional Irish ambiance, including a full menu of Irish fare (think corned beef and hash, Guinness stew and shepherd’s pie). You’ll find a festive vibe and live music in the space during the weekends, so really, every Friday and Saturday feels like St. Patrick’s Day here.
The Buena Vista Cafe: San Francisco
Trivia time: This San Francisco staple (it’s been around since 1916) is credited with introducing Irish coffee to the United States. A travel writer from the San Francisco Chronicle first had the drink at the Shannon airport in Ireland, and then convinced the cafe owners to start serving it in 1952. If you’re going to have a whiskey-spiked coffee topped with whipped cream, there’s no better place to order one.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House: Philadelphia
Like some of the other establishments on our list, this bar is notable for its longevity. In fact, it claims its beer taps have been flowing since 1860, which makes this the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philly. Today, the bar is included on many lists of the best Irish and best historic bars in the U.S., and it shows no signs of stopping.
Dublin Village Tavern: Dublin, OH
Of course a town (in Columbus, Ohio) named after Ireland’s capital knows how to celebrate all things Irish. On St. Patrick’s Day weekend, community members don their greenest outfits and march in the annual parade before heading to watering holes like Dublin Village Tavern. The pub, housed in an historic—circa 1889—brick house, hosts a festive environment year round with a steady flow of regulars and a budget-friendly menu featuring items like Irish egg rolls, Guinness BBQ burgers and tavern meatloaf.