What makes a top Irish pub? A good atmosphere, friendly locals and a great selection of drinks, I suppose. But can this be bottled and shipped out of the Emerald Isle? Well, seeing that there are over 7,000 Irish-style pubs located outside of the country, there has to be a few that are doing something well, right?
As it happens, the Irish Times are looking for the best one and are accepting applicants from across the world. All they have to do is write a 500-word piece on why their pub is best. So who are the contenders? We’ve had a look ourselves and here are our favourite picks.
McSorley’s Old Ale House – Manhattan, U.S.A
Claimed to be the oldest Irish drinking hole in the whole of the city, the pub assures its customers that it opened in the late 1800s. It kept its tradition of being a men’s only bar up until 1970 where it had to remove its motto of ‘Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies’.
It’s a simple venue with a minimalist interior, which gives off an authentic feel. Their beer selection is kept simple too, offering an option of light or dark ales. Many of those who frequent the establishment do so for its attractive old feel and it is rated highly on bars to visit in New York in general.
Durty Nelly’s Bar – Sydney, Australia
Whilst sharing its name with an established bar in Limerick, Durty Nelly’s in Aus has made a name for itself by attempting to embody the spirit and feel of a traditional Irish bar. One thing they pride themselves on is alleging to offer a “perfect pint of Guinness”. With a licence to broadcast a multitude of sporting events and a happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm, Durty Nelly’s is the real deal.
Fiddler’s Elbow – Rome, Italy
Some may associate Italy’s nightlife with fancy wine bars, but in a quiet part of Rome there is a lively Irish-themed inn. On the Via dell’Olmata, you will find a bar with excellent service, great beers and fun activities throughout the week, including sports nights, live music and an evening of open mic.
Paddy O’Shea’s – Beijing, China
It may only have a short history as it only opened in 2007, but Paddy O’Shea’s is as Irish as it gets and is owned by ex-pats. If you’re ever in the Chaoyang District it would be wise to have a drink during the afternoon when it is happy hour until the evening.
It has also been awarded Best Sports Bar’ for six years in a row, as well as other accolades like ‘Best Crowd’, ‘Best Guinness’, ‘Best Quiz Night’, ‘Best Party’ of the year and even ‘Best Toilet’. It’s clearly a bar that you can’t miss.
If you’re looking to watch sports, Paddy O’Shea’s is your best bet.
Bubbles O’Leary’s – Kampala, Uganda
The wild card choice in this selection is Bubbles O’Leary’s—an entry that the Irish Times added as a bit of a wild card. However, it’s considered a fun little bar that shouldn’t be scoffed at as it has a great grill at the back, a great selection of beers on tap and a lively (albeit tiny) dance floor.
Brendan Behan Pub – Boston. U.S.A
As well as NYC, Boston is also known for its strong Irish-American community. The pub’s website is a testament to the Irish sense of humour with a jovial quote of the poet and writer, Brendan Behan, in its ‘About’ section: “I only drink on two occasions—when I’m thirsty and when I’m not.”
Despite only being only 27 years old, the bar has amassed a loyal fanbase and has won Boston’s ‘Best Irish Bar’ award four times. This is because of its commitment to creating a genuine experience, hosting many literary and music events throughout the year and offering a bountiful array of beers, wines and spirits.