Vincent had never had tacos so tasty or so filling in his life, but he soon found out that eating them was just part of the culinary adventure. Soon he was seeing tacos swirling through the air, dropping bits of cheese and lettuce out to form stars and planets in the night sky, and as he watched the taco show his appetite returned. He chowed down on a few more of those fried shells…
You can find an Irish pub in just about every town in America, but when St. Paddy’s Day rolls around, where should you celebrate in true Celtic fashion? We’ve gathered together 50 of the best Irish pubs in America to help you figure it out. Below are our picks for the best places to grab a perfect pour of Guinness in every state. Sláinte!
1. ALABAMA // CALLAGHAN’S IRISH SOCIAL CLUB
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Callaghan’s is worth the visit for more than just the beer. It’s been named the best bar in America by Esquire magazine, one of the best small music venues in the south by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and one of America’s best places to get a burger by Travel+Leisure, among others. Located in a historic neighborhood, it’s been open since 1946, when, according to the current owner, it was a private lounge where you had to either ring a buzzer or have a key to get in.
2. ALASKA // MCGINLEY’S PUB
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Irish pubs are few and far between in Alaska, but McGinley’s Pub in Anchorage is always a steady place to grab a Smithwick’s or a Jameson. The bar has an extensive menu that places Celtic favorites like soda bread alongside creative interpretations like tacos stuffed with corned beef and cabbage. The bar hosts live music regularly, including traditional Irish music, as well as events like limerick contests.
3. ARIZONA // RÚLA BÚLA IRISH PUB
Location: Tempe, Arizona
To get a sense of Rúla Búla’s vibe, just look at its name: the phrase is taken from a Gaelic expression for “uproar and commotion.” It’s got a popular patio, live music, and some of the best fish and chips in the Phoenix area. The vintage relics imported from Ireland that line the walls give it an authentic Celtic feel, even for a bar located in a 19th-century saddle shop.
4. ARKANSAS // DUGAN’S PUB
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Dugan’s Pub is a neighborhood joint perfect for grabbing a beer and watching the game. Besides serving “proper” pints of Guinness and Smithwick’s (20 ounces instead of 16), Dugan’s has an extensive cocktail list (both warm and cold) and serves three meals a day. It comes highly recommended as a weekend brunch spot, so there’s really no reason to ever leave.
5. CALIFORNIA // TOM BERGIN’S
Location: Los Angeles, California
During the 1800s, Irish immigrants flocked to California in search of Mexican land grants and gold. Tom Bergin’s, which holds one of Los Angeles’ oldest liquor licenses, has been operating since 1936 and claims to have brought Irish coffee to America (years before a San Francisco bar claims to have done the same). The ceiling of the bar is famously covered in cardboard shamrocks bearing the names of regulars from over the years. Bartenders have to vote unanimously to award a regular their shamrock, and if you make it up on the wall, you’ll join a celebrity list that includes Kiefer Sutherland and Cary Grant.
6. COLORADO // THE IRISH SNUG
Location: Denver, Colorado
Denver’s Irish Snug harkens back to the historic Irish institution of a “snug,” a small, private room in a public bar that had frosted windows so patrons couldn’t be seen inside. You paid more for drinks inside the snug, but you wouldn’t be seen carousing, either. The Irish Snug has a spacious front bar, but it also has a traditional snug—you can go inside the tiny room and order your drinks by ringing a buzzer, just like those 19th-century Irish women who didn’t want to be spotted drinking in public. Out in the main room, the bar has European soccer playing all day every day and weekly Irish music sessions where you can take part in traditional jigs and reels.
7. CONNECTICUT // ANNA LIFFEY’S
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
The bartenders at Anna Liffey’s pour a certifiably perfect pint of ale, according to its award from Guinness’s St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin. The bar was founded in 1997 by Patrick Mansfield, who grew up cleaning tables at his father’s pub in Ireland (which was attached to their house). The Liffey has since become a local institution. It has been voted as the best pub in New Haven, with an award-winning bar menu, and fans describe it as the city’s version of Cheers.
8. DELAWARE // KELLY’S LOGAN HOUSE
Location: Wilmington, Delaware
Kelly’s Logan House in Wilmington is the state’s oldest Irish bar, and its proprietors claim it’s the country’s oldest continuous family-owned Irish bar. The pub is housed in a three-story brick building, originally built in 1864 as a hotel called the Logan House. (Gangster Al Capone and gunfighter “Wild Bill” Hickok are rumored to have been guests.) Two Irish immigrants, John D. “Whiskers” Kelly and his wife, Hannah Golden Kelleher Kelly, purchased the building in 1889 and converted its ground floor into a tavern. Passed down through family generations, Kelly’s Logan House is today owned by John D. Kelly’s great-grandson, Michael Kelly, along with his mother, Loretta Kelly.
9. FLORIDA // MCGUIRE’S IRISH PUB
Location: Pensacola, Florida
McGuire’s Irish Pub serves standard Irish food and drinks (and was once named Steak House of the Year.) But what really sets the restaurant apart is the story of its founders, McGuire and Molly Martin. The Martins established their bar in 1977, with McGuire serving as cook and bartender and Molly, a talented singer, entertaining guests by singing classic songs in addition to working as a waitress and hostess. In 1982, the pub moved to its permanent location inside an old 1920s firehouse and became famous among locals, thanks in part to the Martins’ warmth and hospitality. Early on, Molly established one of the restaurant’s most iconic traditions: After receiving her first tip, she signed her name onto the dollar bill and pinned it to the back bar. Today, the bar says it has more than one million dollar bills, signed by people of Irish descent, covering the restaurant’s ceilings and walls [PDF]. Just make sure you don’t get sticky fingers after polishing off a few pints.
10. GEORGIA // KEVIN BARRY’S PUB
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Last year, the Irish Pubs Global Federation—an international professional network for Irish pub owners and managers—honored Kevin Barry’s Pub as the “Most Authentic Irish Pub” in the world. Even though Savannah is thousands of miles away from the Emerald Isle, the choice is apt: Instead of simply celebrating leprechauns, shamrocks, and all things lucky, Kevin Barry’s wall decorations pays homage to Irish revolutionaries, heritage, and history. The bar is named after Irish freedom fighter Kevin Barry and was founded November 1, 1980, on the 60th anniversary of the 18-year-old’s execution. Any given night of the week, patrons can enjoy authentic live Irish music, played by visiting entertainers.
11. HAWAII // MURPHY’S BAR & GRILL
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
The island of Oahu is a far cry from the rainy Old Country, but Murphy’s Bar & Grill in Honolulu keeps the motherland’s spirit alive. The saloon/eatery opened in 1987, inside a historic 19th-century hotel that’s rumored to have once counted King Kalākaua and writer Robert Louis Stevenson among its guests. While Murphy’s offers patrons an assortment of classic Irish beers (in addition to Irish and American foods), the establishment’s real draw is its annual St. Patrick’s Day block party, which reportedly draws thousands of people each year.
12. IDAHO // MICKDUFF’S BREWING COMPANY
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
There’s nothing quite like a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, but if you live in Idaho and want to expand your horizons (or palate), try visiting the Irish-themed MickDuff’s Brewing Company. Located in the lakefront city of Sandpoint, MickDuff’s—named for its founders, brothers Mickey and Duffy Mahoney—offers pub food and microbrews. Swing by their separate production hall and tasting room to sample some local brews like the Idaho Arm Curl, the Tipsy Towhead Blonde, or the Irish Redhead.
13. ILLINOIS // CHIEF O’NEILL’S PUB
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is particularly proud of its Irish-American heritage, and Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant pays homage to Chief Francis O’Neill, an Irish immigrant who served as the city’s Chief of Police from 1901 to 1905. (O’Neill also founded the city’s Irish Music Club of Chicago, and collected, transcribed, and published thousands of traditional Irish tunes to help preserve the art form.) In addition to Irish food and drink, the pub frequently offers live Irish music, hosts a popular weekly pub quiz, and is decorated with memorabilia from the Old Country, courtesy of co-owner Siobhan McKinney, who still has relatives in County Cork.
14. INDIANA // THE IRISH LION RESTAURANT & PUB
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington resident Larry McConnaughy opened The Irish Lion Restaurant & Pub in 1982 inside a restored 19th-century tavern, hotel, and—according to legend—brothel. Today, the bar serves up classic Irish dishes like mutton pie and corned beef and cabbage, in addition to more modern fare like burgers, salads, and club sandwiches. As for the Irish Lion’s drink menu, it lists more than 160 small-batch bourbons, Irish whiskeys, and Scotches—and patrons aren’t the only ones enjoying the goods: The Irish Lion is reportedly haunted, and come closing time, bartenders are asked to leave a shot of whiskey at the end of the bar to appease any lingering spirits.
15. IOWA // SULLY’S IRISH PUB
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Irish brothers Jerry and Kevin Sullivan opened Sully’s Irish Pub in 1977. Since then, the bar has changed hands through several different owners, but save a few minor renovations, it still maintains its original appearance. Each St. Patrick’s Day, Sully’s erects a giant, heated tent and hosts a party for hundreds of town residents, complete with bagpipes, drums, drink specials, and more. But if locals simply want to swing by for a pint or two, Sully’s door is quite literally always open: The establishment stays in operation 365 days each year.
16. KANSAS // MARFIELD’S IRISH PUB
Location: Leavenworth, Kansas
Before Marfield’s was a pub, the building served as the carriage house for a local mansion in the late 19th century before being converted in 1903. Today, Marfield’s serves Irish classics like bangers and mash and corned beef and cabbage (and nearly every brunch entree comes with a side of potatoes O’Brien).
17. KENTUCKY // THE IRISH ROVER
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Pub owner Michael Reidy isn’t the only Irish import patrons will find at The Irish Rover (they boast that “the owner’s brogue comes direct from County Clare”). The bar serves a handful of authentic Irish beers on tap, including Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Irish Ale, and Guinness Stout, as well as dozens of varieties of Irish whiskey. As for the menu, items…