The Best Irish Bars Outside of Ireland

Stout Beers | © Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock
Stout Beers | © Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock
Photo of Jenny Novitzky
Travel And Culture Writer, Performer11 May 2017

Just like McDonald’s and Elvis impersonators, Irish pubs can be found all over the world. Perhaps it’s because of the Irish history of immigration or because they’re known for always bringing the craic, but a pub with a shamrock on its sign always does well. Irish pubs are known for being friendly, affordable spots, where you can always get a Guinness. Here are the best ones outside of the Emerald Isle, so you can sink a pint of the black stuff no matter where you are in the world.

The Dead Rabbit

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Diner, Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Irish, $$$
The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, New York
The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, New York

As well as one of the best Irish pubs in America, The Dead Rabbit in New York City is regularly voted one of the best pubs in the world. Alright, it may not be exactly what you remember pubs being like back in Ireland, but it’s kind of (whisper it)… better. As well as Guinness, Irish coffee and fry-ups – with black and white pudding – it has oysters, cocktails and even quail eggs on toast. If you like your Irish pubs with a hipster edge, The Dead Rabbit will see you right.

The Drunken Poet

Pub, Irish

It seems a bit wrong to have an Irish pub in the blazing sunshine, but The Drunken Poet in Melbourne is a tantalising mix of cool (poetry slams, live music and tattooed patrons) and delightfully naff (quiz nights, cheese toasties and jars of pickled onions). Sure, the interior looks a little like a working men’s club, but isn’t that all part of the charm? Go on a Friday for the traditional Irish music jam sessions – fiddles and tin whistles encouraged.

Paddy's Irish Pub

Pub, Irish, $$$
Enjoy a Guinness in Cusco at Paddy's
Enjoy a Guinness in Cusco at Paddy's | © RyedaleWeb / Pixabay

The highest Irish pub in the world, Paddy’s in Peru is more than just a record-holding gimmick with a stereotypical name. Unlike many Irish pubs in unexpected places, it’s Irish-owned and genuinely an enjoyable place to while away an afternoon. It’s in the Inca capital of Cusco, surrounded by cobbled streets, ancient architecture and llama dung. It’s comforting to know that even after trekking up Machu Picchu, you can still get a Guinness and an all-day Irish breakfast.

Dropkick Murphys

Pub, Restaurant, Irish, $$$

There is a wry irony in this place being named after an alcohol detox clinic. Dropkick Murphys is as keen for you to get smashed as its combative name would suggest. From the giant skull at the entrance to the enticing ‘Get Lucky’ sign behind the bar, Cape Town’s finest Irish bar wants you to get on it. Line your stomach with the gloriously stodgy Guinness and beef pie, before moving onto pints, whiskies and a lethal shot of Guinness, Baileys and Jameson. You’ll be so drunk you’ll think you’re actually in Ireland.

The Auld Shillelagh

Pub, Irish

While some of the pubs on this list are ‘best’ in the sense of being fancy, this London pub makes the cut for being the most like an actual Irish pub. Squashed between a wine shop and a greengrocers, it looks like a glorified cupboard. But it’s surprisingly long, with a garden in the back for rare sunny days. It’s got live music, sports events and the best Guinness outside of Ireland. Plus, it’s a meeting point for the massive numbers of Irish living in London. The best part? What it says on one of its eves: ‘Off the leash and on the lash’.

Finn McCool's

Pub, Irish

The story of Finn McCool’s reads a bit like that of a Hollywood film. Destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, owners Stephen and Pauline Patterson came back to New Orleans to rebuild their beloved pub. It reopened just six months later (on St Patrick’s Day, of course), encouraging others to come back and rebuild their lives. Perhaps even more inspiringly, Finn McCool’s is a place where Celtic and Rangers fans are equally welcome.

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