The Best Irish Pubs In NYC

Order a pint, and dive into some shepherd’s pie.
A dark pub with checkered tablecloths and cluttered walls.

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

New York's Irish pubs aren’t just places to drink Guinness on that one day in March when the city becomes a bar crawl on par with Santa Con. They’re some of the oldest drinking establishments in NYC, and many of them serve food that can hold its own against any buzzy spot with a line down the block. Every neighborhood has a good example—often with live music—but here are our favorites. You should, of course, order a Guinness.


photo credit: Alex Staniloff



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Molly’s is dark, slightly cramped, and filled with old wooden furniture that’s slowly succumbing to the passage of time. In other words, it’s a very charming place that continues to grow on you, the more Guinness you consume. Around since the 1960s, the pub has a classic feel, with a bar area up front that’s perfect for mingling with a pint, and a dining room in the back decorated with portraits of Irish luminaries. The burger is popular for a reason, but if you want to be an individual, get the sausage and mashed potatoes.

You can still find stray bags of Tayto crisps and solid pubs in Woodside, a historically Irish part of Queens. The best of them is Donovan’s, which has been around since 1966. It’s pleasantly drab and dark-wooded—you half-expect little elves and fairies to fly up from under the floorboards and peek out from the stained glass windows. Donovon’s is also known for having one of the best burgers in town. Come by to watch the Mets game, or after actually going to a game. This place is a few feet from the 7 train, and sometimes you’ll get a free beer if you show them your ticket. 

Chelsea’s Peter McManus is not the oldest bar in NYC (that distinction goes to Fraunces Tavern), but it does claim to be the oldest family-run one. And it does feel quite familial. Neighborhood regulars sit on vinyl bar stools—under what are possibly the world’s most ancient fluorescent lights—and chat with the bartender who patiently jots down orders for burgers and wings. The tater tots are crispy, the chili is meaty, and the golf simulator in the corner is both quirky and appreciated.

A lot of Irish pubs are long-time neighborhood stalwarts, but none for as long as McSorley’s. The East Village bar has been around since 1854, and there’s literally a cobblestone with the message “Please help us keep our neighborhood in order” paved into the sidewalk out front. There’s sawdust on the floor, framed news articles and photos of regulars from the past 170 years on the walls, and they only offer light or dark beer, which they make themselves. And while this place can get overrun with the thirsty Thursday crowd, the fact of the matter is that it’s a part of NYC history, and a cool place to pop in for a beer and a cheese plate with a side of raw onions.

Many Irish pubs in NYC are at least 50% sports bar. An Beal Bocht, on the other hand, feels like a cottage where you can socialize with your neighbors and hear about how their grandkids are doing at school. This Riverdale spot started out as a booze-less cafe back in the ’60s, but it currently has a full bar, in addition to an old stone fireplace and a boat hanging from the ceiling. Most nights, there’s some kind of performance—like music and storytelling—that you can enjoy with a side of fish and chips.

The owner of An Beal Bocht also runs Le Chéile in Washington Heights, another charmingly cluttered pub with an Irish-forward attitude and a menu of very decent bar food. Behind a mint green facade, the space winds around two and a half floors, with a horseshoe-shaped bar near the entrance, and an upstairs dining room with armchairs and tables. Bring a few friends, and take advantage of the $4 Happy Hour pints that will restore your faith in NYC bar prices.

You’ll see more Irish coffees than pints of stout at this FiDi pub, which was founded by a couple of Irish cocktail nerds in 2013, and looks like a set from The Gangs of New York. Everything from rambutan to sassafras is infused and stirred together here, and while meticulous drinks aren’t as much of a novelty nowadays, the cocktail-centric Parlor floor is still nice for a date involving finicky glassware and some scotch eggs. The ground floor Taproom works for a more casual night, but either way, make a reservation to be guaranteed a spot.

Despite being the smallest pub on this list, there’s usually at least one large group at this Clinton Hill spot, tossing back Guinness like they were put on this earth to do so. Still, Hartley’s is fairly low-key—at the bar, dates share Guinness stew by candlelight, and at the counter in the front window, someone might be reading a book and eating a grilled cheese. Come here to relax somewhere other than your couch, and always order the popcorn. It’s a mountain of expertly salted kernels showered in finely grated Irish cheddar, and it tastes great between sips of pilsner on a weeknight.

It’ll take you an hour at least to rummage for every last bit of beef gravy in your massive shepherd’s pie at this Astoria pub—but, with the 20 or so TVs spread throughout the room, which dates to 1902, your experience will not be uneventful. If you need a drink, there is of course Guinness on tap, but you’ll also see a few bottles of melon liqueur sitting behind the bar that look as if they haven’t been touched in the past 50 years. Don’t be afraid to mix things up. 

There are a lot of places in the East Village to drink a pint of Guinness, but 11th Street Bar’s is exceptionally creamy. If it’s not too busy, they’ll serve it to you in a vintage Guinness glass, which might have a toucan or a crocodile on it telling you “It’s a lovely time for a pint.” There’s Irish whiskey on tap, live music five nights a week, and thie place is large enough to accommodate big groups—including a significant portion of NYC’s Liverpool FC fans on match days. They have some bites, like a warm ham and cheese toastie with mustard, or a soft pretzel, for when the pints start to make their mark. 

Co-founded by the namesake musician in the 1980s, but under new management since 2023, Paddy Reilly’s is where to head if you need some live fiddle to go with your Guinness. Decked out in string lights, lanterns, and hanging bags of crisps, the Kips Bay bar has a little stage in the back where bands perform their (often Irish) music. Shows get pretty lively, although you shouldn’t come hungry. The food is limited to White Castle sliders and Auntie Anne’s pretzel dogs.

This Crown Heights spot only opened in late 2023, but it already feels like an instant classic. It's an Irish pub where you can eat a fancy mushroom with your Guinness, or order a truffle burrata cheesesteak after a few rounds of beer. The Canary has Happy Hour every day between 4-8pm and after 11pm, and other specials and events. If there’s a team Ireland rugby game on, you can count on them screening it to an audience of people wearing an appropriate amount of green, and they also do brunch on weekends—order the full Irish.

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