McGillin's Olde Ale House in Midtown Village is the oldest continuously operated bar in Philadelphia and appropriately one of the best Irish bars in the city. (Photo courtesy McGillin's)
It’s almost that time of the year when everyone is a little bit Irish — St. Patrick’s Day. Fortunately, there are plenty of great authentic Irish pubs in Philadelphia where you can grab a pint and offer a toast to Danny Boy.
Whether you’re looking for a place to make a few hundred new best friends or you need a cozy drinking hole to raise a glass, we’ve got you covered in our guide to some of the best Irish pubs in Philadelphia, below.
And as always, let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite neighborhood Irish bar that we didn’t include.
• McGillin’s Old Ale House: Named for William McGillin, an Irish immigrant who owned the bar and raised his 13 children upstairs, this 150-year-old pub is the oldest continuously operating bar in Philadelphia. Tucked away in a Center City alleyway, McGillin’s is literally a melting pot, beloved by locals and visitors, the young and restless and old-timers alike. Insider tip: Three house specialty beers, McGillin’s 1860 IPA, McGillin’s Real Ale and McGillin’s Genuine Lager, are brewed in Adamstown by Stoudt’s. Bartenders also place a strong emphasis on seasonal beers and never overlook the best the world’s brewers have to offer, including O’Hara’s Irish Stout, the city’s only stout brewed exclusively in Ireland.
• Fado: You’ll find plenty of Irish inspiration at Fado in Center City. With cozy nooks and crannies for a night out and a great bar to watch your sport of choice (especially soccer), Fado has everything you need for a St. Patrick’s Day to remember (or not).
• Fergie’s: With his self-described “big, Irish personality,” Fergus Carey, also known as “Fergie,” creates a party atmosphere at his eponymous pub that specializes in local beers. Tucked away on Sansom Street in Center City, Fergie’s features live music upstairs, great beer downstairs and a menu packed with pub favorites and lip-smacking BBQ.
• Irish Pub: Like bookends for Center City, Irish Pub’s two locations on Walnut Street are popular spots for locals and out-of-towners looking to grab a pint. Irish Pub’s Rittenhouse Square outpost even made a cameo in the sixth Rocky film, Rocky Balboa.
• The Bards: Feast on traditional pub favorites like bangers and mash, Shepherd’s pie and even a full Irish breakfast at The Bards in Rittenhouse Square. A neighborhood favorite, Bards also features great beers, live music and special events.
Embrace the luck of the Irish with more than a dozen more pub picks, below.
• The Irish Pol: Despite its decidedly “regular-folk” vibe, this Irish joint draws from the most avid beer connoisseurs in the city. 40 taps serve microbrews exclusively, and they change weekly to serve up some of the rarest beers available. The menu provides detailed descriptions, and bartenders provide samples.
• Tir Na Nog: A stone’s throw from City Hall, every happy hour at Tir Na Nog is like a mini St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Here you’ll find a healthy selection of beers on tap and comforting pub fare to keep you going through the night.
• Moriarty’s Irish Pub: As great as the beers on draft are at Moriarty’s, this traditional Irish pub is known far and wide for their delicious wings. Believe it or not, you can also get a killer martini at the bar.
• McGlinchey’s Bar & Grill: It doesn’t get more dark, dank and cheap that McGlinchey’s and we wouldn’t have it any other way. There are only two things you can expect from McGlinchey’s: great value and a headache the next morning.
• The Plough and The Stars: An Old City mainstay, The Plough and The Stars often features live music by the fire and packed nights by the bar. Be sure to check out the menu of traditional Irish pub fare including fish and chips, Guinness cassarole and Irish-style curry.
• Dark Horse Pub: Just going room to room at the Dark Horse Pub feels like doing a mini-bar crawl. Located on historic Headhouse Square, the Dark Horse is the perfect place for a round of darts, a glass of beer and a sip of whiskey in an authentic pub atmosphere.
• O’Neals Pub: Pull up a stool at O’Neal’s and you’ll instantly feel like a regular. A popular destination for Philly sports fans, O’Neal’s also has a back patio to enjoy your beer and whiskey in the sun.
• Irish Times: Whether you decide to head upstairs to the loft bar or descend 50-feet underground to the Down Below bar, you’ll find a little taste of Ireland at Irish Times.
• For Pete’s Sake: You may need to use this Queen Village pub’s name in a sentence after discovering it for the first time. As in, “For Pete’s Sake, why didn’t I find this place sooner?” Post up at the bar and watch the game or grab a table outside and watch the locals.
• Bonner’s Irish Pub: Seemingly frozen in time on the edge of Center City, Bonner’s Irish Pub offers a healthy dose of local flavor with affordable pints and ever-popular karaoke.
• Murphs Bar: Blink and you’ll miss Murph’s Bar, a cozy pub in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. Murph’s has everything a great pub needs: cheap beer, great service and no frills.
• St. Stephen’s Green: This polished Irish sports bar in Fairmount is the result of a partnership between the owners of well-loved stalwarts Bishop’s Collar, Black Sheep Pub and Dark Horse Pub. It’s this bar, however, that really places its beer menu front-and-center, making sure that no one leaves without sampling a beer pulled from one of 12 taps or poured from one of 50 bottles that contain exclusively microbrews and imports.
• Kelliann’s: You can’t keep a good bar down. Despite being damaged by a fire in 2010, Kelliann’s rebuilt and remains a favorite neighborhood corner pub on Spring Garden. Bonus: when the weather is nice, outdoor tables nearly double the size of the bar.
• McCrossen’s Tavern: Stumbling into McCrossen’s feels like walking into a local pub in the countryside of Ireland. The historic tavern near the Art Museum offers a great selection of beers on draft and upscale pub fare like braised pork belly and roasted bone marrow.
• McFadden’s: Big screens. Check. Cheap beer. Check. Party atmosphere. Triple check. With locations in Northern Liberties and Citizen’s Bank Park, McFadden’s is where you go when you’re looking for a wild time with a few hundred of your new best friends.
• Kildare’s: Located in the heart of Manayunk, Kildare’s is a favorite stop during St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The comforting pub setting is a great beginning or end to an adventure on Main Street.
• Paddy’s: No, you won’t find any of the “Always Sunny” gang working behind the bar at Paddy’s Pub, but you will find a wealth of local personalities and an authentic dive bar experience.
• Mac’s Tavern: Coincidentally, you may find a few of the “Always Sunny” gang at Mac’s Tavern in Old City. Co-founded by “Sunny” cast members Rob (Mac) and Kaitlin (Dee) McElhenney, Mac’s is known for a great beer list and tasty menu of pub favorites.
• Cavanaugh’s: Local regulars and students from Penn and Drexel rub elbows in the confines of Cavanaugh’s of University City. Here you’ll find copious drink specials, plenty of televisions and a lengthy menu to curb your appetite.
• Curran’s Irish Inn: Come for the beer, stay for the wings. Known for having some of the tastiest (and largest) wings around, Curran’s is also a top spot in the Northeast to watch the game, listen to live music and enjoy a cold beer.
• McNally’s Tavern: Perched in Chestnut Hill since 1921, McNally’s Tavern is nationally known for its one-of-a-kind sandwich, The Schmitter®. By moving the cheesesteak from a roll to a bun and topping it with salami, tomatoes and special sauce, McNally’s discovered a winning sandwich craved by generations of Philadelphians.