The best way to celebrate a holiday is in the country of its origin. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with gusto in Ireland, and with all of the traditional fanfare, you’d think that it would be hard to replicate here in America. But did you know that America is home to some of the best and oldest Irish pubs — some of which have been literally moved piece by piece from Ireland?
What makes an Irish pub so special and different from a traditional bar or pub? It’s the atmosphere, the warmth of your surroundings and of course, the people. A good Irish pub is like a warm fireplace: It warms you up, brings a smile to your face, and makes you feel at home. This St. Patrick’s Day, there are several pubs holding celebrations during the day, and others in the evening. If you have a chance to get away with your partner, I highly suggest it! Get the babysitter to watch the kids for a couple of hours and celebrate Irish style!
If you can’t get away this St. Patty’s Day, you may still want to give these pubs a try at another (less chaotic) time. Some are open for breakfast and lunch, others have historical displays and some are just plain cool! May the luck of the Irish be with you!
Galvin’s Public House – Chicago 1 of 10
The utmost care was taken to recreate the feel of a traditional Irish Pub at Galvin's Public House in Chicago. Everything from the stone fireplace to the bar's black and yellow exterior is inspired by the pubs in Ireland. It's also chock-full of Irish culture with artifacts, knick-knacks and art pieces.
You're welcome to look around the pub to discover the tools of an Irish coffin maker, hurling sticks and other interesting pieces. There is an ongoing contest for children too! Whoever is able to find the American penny will win a bag of Irish potato chips.
Photo credit: Galvin's Public House
McSorley’s Old Ale House – New York 2 of 10
McSorley's Old Ale House is the oldest Irish tavern in New York City, having been founded in 1854. It could also very well be the most charming with it's sawdust floors, aged artwork and the ancient and modern newspaper articles covering the walls. Wishbones hang above the bar for good luck as they were originally hung by the men during World War I (only to be removed when they returned) and Houdini's handcuffs are connected to the bar rail.
Visiting McSorley's is like entering a living, breathing history lesson. If you look closely at the clippings and posters, you'll find the original "Wanted" poster for Abraham Lincoln's assassin and Babe Ruth's farewell photo from Yankee Stadium. The only drink other than ale permissible for drinking are the pub's very own house sodas.
Photo credit: McSorley's Old Ale House
Kevin Barry’s Pub – Savannah 3 of 10
Kevin Barrys is one of America's Best & Top 1o Irish Pubs, as well as one of the top military bars in the world with service members passing through steadily over the past 34 years. Visitors can pay tribute to serviced members of the military on the second floor of the building in the "Our Hall of Heroes" where you'll find an amazing display paying tribute to our nation's heroes. Although you will find traditional food, drink and music, there isn't a television in sight. Unlike many Irish pubs who hold viewings of sports games via television, Kevin Barry stays true to tradition by encouraging face to face conversations.
McGuire’s Irish Pub – Pensacola 4 of 10
McGuire's Irish Pub in Pensacola, Fla. serves ales, porters and stouts, all of which are brewed on-site. You can even take a tour of this attraction where the pub's brewmasters will show you around and school you on their traditional oak and copper brewery. McGuire's also has their very own root beer served pint style or as a float with delicious vanilla ice cream.
McGuire's has won several awards for its cuisine, specifically for the steaks. Since opening in 1977, this Irish saloon-themed restaurant has one million signed dollar bills hanging from the ceilings and walls. It makes for a great conversation starter if you challenge someone to count them all!
Photo credit: McGuire's
Fado Irish Pub – Atlanta 5 of 10
The first FadÃ³ pub opened in January 1996 and quickly became the number one selling pub of Guinness in all of North America within three months of opening. They had to shut down in 2007 to make way for a new development in Buckhead and reopened the following year.
I was fascinated to learn that the new three-level FadÃ³ pub was built in Dublin by the Irish Pub Company and then shipped to Atlanta in 2007. Thanks to the special lucky touch of the Irish, you'll notice personalized decor such as the mezzanine's Celtic Art and the large murals that show off Ireland's stunning landscape. It's been voted by the people as the best pub in Atlanta, and you can find exclusive coverage via satellite to live European and Irish sporting events.
FadÃ³'s happens to throw the best St. Patrick's Day party in Atlanta, where they close off Buckhead Avenue and set up food tents, stages and beer gardens for the musical and entertaining event. There are many fun events leading up to the celebration starting on March 10th, so be sure to check out their website for dates and deets.
Photo credit: FadÃ³'s
Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar – Portland 6 of 10
Kells has been serving up delicious bites, refreshing drinks and live music in their charming restaurant, seven days a week, since 1990. If it's sports your family is after, Kells has exclusive rights in Portland to show the GAA games. They also cover Premier League, MLS, World Cup Qualifiers and more.
Kells' annual St. Patrick's Festival is one you don't want to miss! You'll be submersed in Irish culture and talent with Irish dancing demonstrations, musical performances and St. Patrick's face painting. The Irish are known for their kindness and warmth, but if you really want to fit in — be sure to dress everyone in green!
Photo credit: Kells Portland
Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar – New York 7 of 10
This authentic Irish pub was named after the famous Irish balladeer Paddy Reilly. Not only can you find all sorts of musical talent here, it's also the world's first and only all Guinness draught bar. Enjoy a little musical treat at Paddy Reilly's this St. Patrick's Day. The pub showcases some of the best Irish talent throughout the week!
Photo credit: Paddy Reilly's
Patrick’s of Pratt Street – Baltimore 8 of 10
Patrick's of Pratt Street claims to be America's Oldest Irish Pub, which in itself is a reason to take your family! Founded in 1847, Patrick's is full of history. You'll find the original brass cash register, including the original tin ceiling and oak "stand up" bar, refinished and looking as good as new because in 1999, after Anne and Patrick Rowley purchased the pub and stripped away the exterior Formstone, they used old-time photographs from the establishment's past (like the one above) to restore the pub to it's previous look.
Photo credit: Patrick's of Pratt Street
McGurk’s — St. Louis 9 of 10
This gorgeous pub has the look and feel you would expect from an old-fashioned Irish bar. It's won numerous awards and serves up delicious pub grub and of course, your traditional Irish beer and spirits. The interior is finished with brick and wood, and you'll find all sorts of Irish artifacts displayed. One of my favorite features of McGurk's is that it's home to a 15,000 square foot outdoor garden with three outdoor bars, stunning landscaping, a fountain and waterfall!
Photo credit: McGurk's
The Field – San Diego 10 of 10
It's warm, cozy and filled with the sounds of conversation, traditional music and the clink of glasses. The Field has an old Irish feel — as it should, considering the building was shipped piece by piece from Ireland when they relocated to San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter.
Traditional Irish dancers, music and lively entertainment are provided daily. It's the perfect place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day — a bit of Ireland in America.
Photo credit: The Field