Special Report

The Best Irish Pub in Every State

Courtesy of Catherine Rooney's via Yelp

According to Forbes, there are about 7,000 Irish pubs across the globe and about 4,000 of those are in the U.S. It’s hard to think of an American town of any size that doesn’t have at least one, in fact, and cities with large Irish or Irish-American populations like Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Louisville are chockablock with them.

There’s something very attractive about such places. They tend to offer menus of undemanding comfort food, Irish and otherwise (corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie, sure, but also burgers and wings). They always have good beer and usually a wide selection of it — inevitably including the iconic Guinness Stout — and many of them specialize in the ever-expanding repertoire of Irish whiskeys.

Most of all, though, they have a reputation for being friendly and hospitable: More than a few have as their motto “Céad míle fáilte,” Irish for “a hundred thousand welcomes.” And they’re places that encourage conversation and promise good craic — an Irish term, pronounced “crack,” that encompasses fun, entertainment, hanging out, and being sociable. (Here’s a list of Irish slang and phrases Americans just don’t understand.)

To compile a list of the best Irish pub in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted sites including Irish Star, IrishCentral, Ireland Calling, and Yelp, as well as numerous local and regional sources, making our final determination using editorial discretion. We have included an interesting fact about each place.

Some of the places on our list are basically dive bars, while others are immense multi-room establishments. Most, though not all, have extensive food menus. Some are newcomers to the Irish pub scene, while a few date back more than a century (though they may not qualify as the oldest bar in every state.)

A majority of the proprietors are fairly recent Irish immigrants or members of Irish-America families whose forebears came here generations ago, and in several cases they’ve had their pub interiors built in Ireland and shipped over, lending their pubs a veneer of authenticity.

Source: Courtesy of Bob M. via Yelp

Alabama: Callaghan’s Irish Social Club
> Location: Mobile

Founded in 1946, Callaghan’s is known today for its live music program and for what Southern Living hailed as “the near-mythical L.A. (Lower Alabama) Burger, featuring a house-ground patty made with Conecuh sausage.”

 

Source: Courtesy of Lard Belly E. via Yelp

Alaska: Reilly’s Irish Pub
> Location: Anchorage

This popular dive bar used to offer free food to drinkers, but the practice didn’t survive COVID for reasons both economic and health-related.

 

Source: Courtesy of Travis T. via Yelp

Arizona: Dubliner Irish Pub & Restaurant
> Location: Phoenix

The oldest Irish pub in Phoenix, Dubliner was also the first bar to introduce Guinness to the area.

Source: Courtesy of Rich R. via Yelp

Arkansas: Cregeen’s
> Location: North Little Rock

The entire interior of this pub was constructed in Dublin and shipped to Little Rock.

 

Source: Courtesy of Daniel S. via Yelp

California: Tom Bergin’s Tavern
> Location: Los Angeles

Opened in 1936, Bergin’s claims to have introduced Los Angeles to Irish coffee.

 

Source: Courtesy of Steve D. via Yelp

Colorado: Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub & Bar
> Location: Colorado Springs

When the owners installed their pub in 1875 a quarter century ago, they imported artisans to install Irish woodwork and stained glass.

 

Source: Courtesy of Paola G. via Yelp

Connecticut: The Harp & Hound
> Location: Mystic

The pub occupies one of the town’s oldest buildings, dating from the early 18th century. All the furnishings are imported from Ireland.

 

Source: Courtesy of Catherine Rooney's via Yelp

Delaware: Catherine Rooney’s
> Location: Wilmington

The McCoy family named their pub, opened in 2002, after their mothers and grandmothers, Catherine McCoy and Gerry Rooney-Hudecheck.

Source: Courtesy of Bruce K. via Yelp

Florida: McGuire’s Irish Pub
> Location: Pensacola and Destin

The Pensacola location, in the city’s 1927-vintage firehouse, is said to have more than $1 million worth of dollar bills hanging from the walls and ceilings.

 

Source: Courtesy of Rick T. via Yelp

Georgia: The Rail Pub
> Location: Savannah

This pub dates from 1995, but it’s in a building completed in 1890 — and according to some sources, it’s haunted.

 

Source: Courtesy of Dan O. via Yelp

Hawaii: Murphy’s Bar & Grill
> Location: Honolulu

Back in the 1860s, when it was the Royal Hotel, the premises scored one of Oahu’s first retail spirits licenses. After many owners and identities, it became an Irish pub in 1987.

 

Source: Courtesy of Richard M. via Yelp

Idaho: O’Michael’s Pub & Grill
> Location: Boise

This pub, open since 1966, has had three owners — all of them named Michael.

 

Source: Courtesy of Bobblehead B. via Yelp

Illinois: Shinnick’s
> Location: Chicago

In the Shinnick family since 1938, this location opened as a pub decades before that. It is believed that the ornate wooden back bar was once exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Source: Courtesy of Golden Ace Inn via Yelp

Indiana: McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn
> Location: Indianapolis

John and Ann McGinley opened the Golden Ace in 1934, making it one of the oldest pubs in America that remains family-owned.

 

Source: Courtesy of Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill via Yelp

Iowa: Dublin Bay Irish Pub & Grill
> Location: Ames

Dublin Bay claims to sell more Guinness than any other outlet in the state.

 

Source: Courtesy of Linda O. via Yelp

Kansas: Bailey’s Irish Pub
> Location: Leavenworth

The building occupied by Baileys has housed a tavern since 1903. It originally had two doors, one for drinkers, the other for teetotalers.

 

Source: Courtesy of Robin S. via Yelp

Kentucky: The Irish Rover
> Location: Louisville

The pub occupies a 170-year-old building that was originally opened as a saloon with a grocery store and dry goods shop attached.

 

Source: Courtesy of Brian O. via Yelp

Louisiana: Finn McCool’s Irish Pub
> Location: New Orleans

McCool’s is a serious sports pub, showing all U.S. major league games, plus international soccer, rugby, and more.

Source: Courtesy of Leary's Landing Irish Pub via Yelp

Maine: Leary’s Landing Irish Pub
> Location: Bar Harbor

Leary’s claims to be geographically closer to Ireland than any other pub in America.

 

Source: Courtesy of Mac O. via Yelp

Maryland: Galway Bay
> Location: Annapolis

There are no TVs here, which, say the owners, “has helped create an atmosphere for lively conversation; a place to gather and enjoy each others’ company.”

 

Source: Courtesy of Mariah K. via Yelp

Massachusetts: The Burren
> Location: Somerville

Husband-and-wife owners Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello are traditional musicians, and have made The Burren famous for its Celtic music.

 

Source: Courtesy of Joe B. via Yelp

Michigan: The Old Shillelagh
> Location: Detroit

Uncharacteristically for an Irish Pub, this one has a menu based on regional products, including a large selection of plant-based choices.

 

Source: Courtesy of Abigail C. via Yelp

Minnesota: O’Malley’s Irish Pub
> Location: Woodbury

The owners of this pub just outside St. Paul declare that they are “proud to be a family-owned, non-chain Irish pub with a 95% handcrafted interior.”

Source: Courtesy of Fenian's Pub via Yelp

Mississippi: Fenian’s Pub
> Location: Jackson

Fenian’s boasts an unusually long list of Irish whiskeys — blended, single male, single grain, and single pot still.

 

Source: Courtesy of McGurk's via Yelp

Missouri: John D. McGurk’s
> Location: St. Louis

McGurk’s opened in 1978 as a one-room pub but has blossomed into a 20,000-square-foot institution, complete with garden.

 

Source: Courtesy of Lauren D. via Yelp

Montana: The Thomas Meagher Bar
> Location: Missoula

This pub’s namesake was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the Civil War and later the Acting Governor of Montana Territory — before falling out of a boat and drowning in the Missouri River at the age of 44.

 

Source: Courtesy of C.M. C. via Yelp

Nebraska: Barrett’s Barleycorn
> Location: Omaha

Barrett’s offers something you aren’t likely to find in Ireland: sand volleyball games (outdoors) four days a week.

 

Source: Courtesy of Ric P. via Yelp

Nevada: McMullan’s Irish Pub
> Location: Las Vegas

Because this is Vegas, McMullan’s has a gaming bar with 15 video gambling machines you don’t have to leave your stool for.

Source: Courtesy of Patrick D. via Yelp

New Hampshire: J.L. Sullivan’s Irish Pub
> Location: Thornton

This pub offers a menu of Irish and American dishes as many pubs do — but on Tuesdays, breaks with tradition by serving a selection of Thai dishes as well.

 

Source: Courtesy of Brad K. via Yelp

New Jersey: St. Stephen’s Green Publick House
> Location: Spring Lake

The founders of this pub note that they took inspiration from Sir Arthur Guinness’s preservation of the famed St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin.

 

Source: Courtesy of O'Niell's via Yelp

New Mexico: O’Niell’s
> Location: Albuquerque

With two locations in town, O’Niell’s is known not only for its richly accoutered Irish-themed interior but also for its attractive patios, covered over in winter.

 

Source: Chris Hondros / Getty Images News via Getty Images

New York: McSorley’s Old Ale House
> Location: New York City

McSorley’s, founded in 1854, serves only two kinds of beer: McSorley’s house ale, dark or light.

 

Source: Courtesy of Rí Rá via Yelp

North Carolina: Rí Rá Irish Pub
> Location: Charlotte

After this pub suffered a major fire in 2009, the owners had the interior rebuilt in Ireland and shipped over. There are other branches in Vermont, Nevada, and Maine.

Source: Courtesy of Michael L. via Yelp

North Dakota: EbeneeZer’s Eatery & Irish Pub
> Location: Minot

Proprietor Wayne Whitty named his pub after a character in an Irish folk tale, one Ebeneezer Frog, who hid his gold from larcenous Leprechauns.

 

Source: Courtesy of Stephanie S. via Yelp

Ohio: The Harp
> Location: Cleveland

The outdoor patio offers eaters and drinkers views of downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie.

 

Source: Courtesy of Flo V. via Yelp

Oklahoma: Kilkenny’s Irish Pub
> Location: Tulsa

Kilkenny’s owners describe it as not just a restaurant, but a museum, jam-packed with Irish antiques, bric-a-brac, historic photographs, and more.

 

Source: Courtesy of Kyle P. via Yelp

Oregon: T.C. O’Leary’s A Little Irish Pub
> Location: Portland

Owner Thomas Christopher O’Leary had a featured role for six years in the long-running Irish TV soap opera “Fair City” and now hosts a weekly literary society meeting to discuss Irish novels.

 

Source: Courtesy of Brian M. via Yelp

Pennsylvania: McGillin’s Olde Ale House
> Location: Philadelphia

How “olde” is this place? It opened in 1860, the year Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, and the taps haven’t stopped flowing since.

Source: Courtesy of Jen W. via Yelp

Rhode Island: McBride’s Pub
> Location: Providence

McBride’s occupies what used to be the nine-car garage for the Monahan, Drabble & Sherman Funeral Home.

 

Source: Courtesy of Tommy Condon's via Yelp

South Carolina: Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub & Seafood Restaurant
> Location: Charleston

After Hurricane Hugo swept through Charleston in 1989, owner Tommy Condon traveled to Ireland to collect antique mirrors and Irish memorabilia to upgrade the interior.

 

Source: Courtesy of Se'an V. via Yelp

South Dakota: Dempsey’s Restaurant Brew + Pub
> Location: Watertown

Proprietor Sean Dempsey’s father, Bill, is the official bagpiper for the state of South Dakota — and Sean himself is a member of the U.S. Pizza Team.

 

Source: Courtesy of McNamara's Irish Pub & Restaurant via Yelp

Tennessee: McNamara’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
> Location: Nashville

Co-owner Sean McNamara (with his wife, Paula) is an Irish tenor who performs at the pub regularly with Nosey Flynn, Music City’s leading Irish musical group.

 

Source: Courtesy of Aimee M. via Yelp

Texas: Shay McElroy’s
> Location: Houston

The pub’s opulent furnishings are repurposed from the private Old Capitol Club in Houston’s Rice Hotel (which closed in 1977), once the preserve of the city’s power brokers.

Source: Courtesy of John P. via Yelp

Utah: Flanagan’s on Main
> Location: Park City

Flanagan’s is named in honor of Father Edward J. Flanagan, founder of the Boys Town orphanage near Omaha, who took in pub owner John Kenworthy’s grandfather when he was a wayward young man.

 

Source: Courtesy of McGrath's Irish Pub via Yelp

Vermont: McGrath’s Irish Pub
> Location: Killington

This pub, installed inside the Inn at Long Trail in Rutland County ski country, was the first place in Vermont to serve Guinness on draft.

 

Source: Courtesy of O'Toole's Restaurant & Pub via Yelp

Virginia: O’Toole’s Restaurant & Pub
> Location: Richmond

When O’Toole’s opened in 1966, it got Virginia’s first by-the-drink liquor license in modern times.

 

Source: Courtesy of Ashley E. via Yelp

Washington: The Owl N’ Thistle
> Location: Seattle

Many Irish pubs feature live music, but this one hosts performances — from jazz to funk to traditional Irish — every night but Wednesday and Sunday.

 

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

West Virginia: Hagy’s Irish Pie Pub
> Location: Charleston

The food specialty here, as the pub’s name suggests, is a selection of Irish pasties — empanada-like Celtic hand pies — with a variety of fillings.

Source: Courtesy of House of Guinness via Yelp

Wisconsin: House of Guinness
> Location: Waukesha

Guinness gave its Perfect Pint award to its namesake pub, known as “a talking bar,” according to a bartender.

 

Source: Courtesy of Robbie D. via Yelp

Wyoming: O’Dwyer’s Public House
> Location: Laramie

The pub sponsors a limerick contest every St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s winner could choose between a golf bag or a dart board, both Bushmill’s-branded.

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