On St. Patrick’s Day, the only bars that truly matter are, of course, Irish bars.
But to truly celebrate the holiday you need to find a watering hole that goes beyond just serving green beer and shots of Irish whiskey.
There are a number of establishments across America that celebrate the best of the Emerald Isle—and they are worth visiting all year round.
The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog Shop, New York
One of the best bars in America is The Dead Rabbit. Seriously. The joint was named the World’s Best Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail conference last summer and its head bartender Jack McGarry was named International Bartender of the Year three years ago. So what makes it so special? Downstairs is a traditional pub stocking a dizzying array of Irish whiskies and upstairs is a craft cocktail lounge serving a menu of tasty elixirs.
Swift Hibernian Lounge, New York
The best pint of Guinness we’ve ever had outside of Ireland is at Swift. Unless you have 20 minutes to spare, don’t ask owner Danny McDonald why it tastes so good. Let’s just say he’s thought more about it than any person should. The result is, naturally, a wonderfully rich and delicious beer.
Farrell’s, Brooklyn, New York
Talk about old school, Farrell’s (at 215 Prospect Park West) serves Bud in a 32-ounce cup and didn’t let women order standing at the bar until the 1970s. As a bet, ask your friends who was the Windsor Terrace establishment’s first unaccompanied female customer. The answer, according to a well-worn story, is actress Shirley MacLaine.
The Irish Bank, San Francisco
Forget free checking or high-interest-rate savings accounts, this is hands down our favorite bank. It has an extra-long list of whiskies from around the world, plus plenty of room to celebrate the holiday with your friends and colleagues.
The Buena Vista Cafe, San Francisco
The Buena Vista Cafe is literally the home of Irish Coffee. It was, according to legend, the first place in America to serve the caffeinated concoction, since 1952. (It makes as many as 2,000 glasses of it a day!)
The Local, Minneapolis
Right on Nicollet Mall, in the middle of Minneapolis, is a piece of Ireland: The Local. For several years in a row the giant-sized pub served more Jameson than any other establishment in the world—a testament to just how easy it is to spend an afternoon there imbibing.
Chief O’Neill’s, Chicago
Chicago takes its Irish pubs very seriously and Chief O’Neill’s doesn’t disappoint. The watering hole often features traditional Irish musicians and, naturally, offers dozens and dozens of whiskies.
The Fifth Province, Chicago
Can’t make it to the Emerald Isle? Then head to The Fifth Province in Chicago’s Irish American Heritage Center. Every Thursday night there’s also free Irish music and that’s not to mention plenty of free parking.
While the Citizen Public House may not be your traditional Irish pub with photos of the old country on the wall, consider spending your St. Patrick’s Day sipping fine whiskey (both American and Irish) and eating fresh oysters.
If you insist on a more traditional holiday experience, Pickle Backs (a shot of Jameson and a chaser of pickle brine) and a PB & J (a PBR and a shot of Jameson) are both on the menu.
Crossroads Irish Pub, Boston
Despite a change in ownership and a brief closure, this Boston bar is still a popular spot. Order a Guinness and enjoy the authentic ambiance.