Woodside has been home to a large Irish community since it was founded as a Queens neighborhood in the mid-1800s. For over a century, the majority of the population remained Irish, and pubs could be found on every corner. Some of the following authentic Irish pubs are institutions that have survived for half a century, while others are new additions. These pubs, all accessible via the 7 line, are worth checking out on their own or stringing together for a DIY bar crawl.
Voted “Best Burger” in New York City by Time Out New York in 2004, Donovan’s had already been operating as a Queens institution since it opened in 1966. The burger is good, but lifelong customers keep returning for classic Irish fare like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. The pub, inside and out, is decorated like a cozy Irish cottage with white stucco walls and dark stained wooden beams. Kicking back with a Guinness during the colder months is a quintessential Queens pub experience.
Sean Og’s is a classic neighborhood pub with seasonal outdoor seating alongside its colorfully painted exterior. Inside, exposed wooden beams, cathedral ceilings, and stone fireplaces cast shadows for intimate get-togethers or raucous parties. During evenings in the spring and summer, Mets fans make a pit stop for a pint at Sean Og’s before hopping on the 7 train to catch a game at Citi Field.
Just a few doors down from Sean Og’s sits the family-friendly Cuckoo’s Nest, an Irish pub with a full kitchen serving classic bar food. (The nachos and wings are crowd favorites.) It’s a perfect spot to watch a game or enjoy live music on the weekends. With a front wall of windowed doors that open up onto the sidewalk in warm weather, Cuckoo’s Nest has a welcoming atmosphere that makes people instantly feel at home.
The square Cheers-like wooden bar of Saints & Sinners is great for striking up a conversation with friends, old and new. The full dining menu offers plenty of decent pub grub to choose from, as well as a few drinks.
The Beerkeeper is new compared to the more traditional pubs of the neighborhood. With exposed brick and metal beams, the bar feels significantly more modern. Its owners have lived and worked in the area for decades. The Beerkeeper’s long bar extends the length of the building and leads to a small, but cute, back garden strung up with lights, which is open for the summer.
Named after the kick-off line of a rugby field, The Halfway Line is a relatively new Irish pub in Woodside. The décor found on the walls alternate between autographed rugby jerseys, modern art installations, and old salvaged church finds. Signs behind the bar list the names of standard Irish fare: “ham and onion toasties,” fresh off their foil-lined toaster oven on the counter.
A true dive bar, this no-frills pub sits in the shadow of the LIRR station and offers cheap pints. No need to worry about making small talk with the bartender here; heavy pours and solemn nods of recognition are the only forms of communication necessary at The Dugout.
The Copper Kettle is a recently renovated Irish pub on a tree-lined block of Skillman Avenue near the Sunnyside border. What they lack in the rather plain design of their interior bar and dining room, they make up for with a very cool beer garden in their backyard, its main attraction during the summer months. The kitchen offers a full menu of pub fare, too, including fish and chips, all made fresh and in-house.