10 Not-Awful Irish Bars for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day (With Map)

By Billy Lyons  |  March 13, 2014

On March 17, a disproportionate amount of city residents will turn Irish for 24 hours in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. And with a parade route that stretches 35 blocks, plenty of businesses will be offering up made in Ireland favorites like Guinness and Jameson to thirsty revelers in need of a pit stop. But with so many bars decked in green, orange, and white - and so many filled with, ahem, youthful binge drinkers - choosing an authentic location to cheers with a pint can be harder to find than a four leaf clover. However, there's no need to get buried in a sea of streamers only to find our bartender is more representative of Long Island than the Emerald one. Here's a map of 10 of the city's most enjoyable Irish bars to hang your green plastic hat.

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Ceol: With a name that means music in Gaelic, this Cobble Hill Irish bar has been moving and grooving patrons since 1997. With green paint in front, Irish artifacts in the middle, and an Irish owner in the back, the humble oasis provides a source of weekly Irish entertainment to the neighborhood. And if it's food we're craving? Spending a day here means we'll be treated to bangers and mash among others, which is wonderful considering drink deals like $4 select drafts are here to make us sing along to the next ballad or seven. (191 Smith St., Brooklyn; 347-643-9911)

Donovan's Pub:  One of the last reminders of Woodside's Irish eyes, spending St. Patrick's Day here in Queens rewards us with a juicy burger and traditional corned beef while the sounds of bag pipes play throughout the evening. The pub, which dates back to 1966, hasn't changed much by way of decor or service, as its cozy digs and authentic Irish bartenders have kept the place a historical artifact in a changing neighborhood. How authentic is it? A former patron bought the place to stave off the wrecking ball, which we think is the ultimate sign of authenticity. (57-24 Roosevelt Ave., Queens; 718-429-9339;)

Molly's Shebeen: A fixture on Third Avenue since 1895, Molly's fireplace, photographic tribute to Irish writers, and sawdust sprinkled floors harken back to a time when calling a bartender a mixologist was considered fighting words. Well-worn wooden benches and candles define the dark yet cozy surroundings, where bartenders from Ireland are ready to pour out a beer of our choice or listen to our sob story all the same. We might need to bring a flashlight inside to read the menu, but the gimmick free atmosphere makes any sacrifice on our part well worth the cost of admission. (287 Third Ave.;212-889-3361)

Paddy Maguire's Ale House: Though pool tables and Golden Tee might signal we've arrived at a dive bar, the heart of this bar resides in good old fashioned Irish tradition. The bar regularly offers 20 ounce pints from its 15 taps and a happy hour that lasts from opening until 7 PM, so it knows the value of a good deal to create good times. Owner Patrick Maguire, a former jockey from Limerick, has decorated the bar with equestrian images to create a sense of home, which is what the bartenders here will make you feel. Unpretentious, hospitable, and quirky, Paddy's is a perfect option for spending St. Patrick's Day in a sporting atmosphere - just as long as you consider horse racing a sport. (237 Third Ave.; 212-253-0031)

Paddy Reilly's Music Bar: When the floor of the bar comes directly imported from an Irish hotel, we know we're in the hands of an owner with a serious taste for the home land. Add in a full line up of live Irish music, and we have ourselves one of the best excuses to stay out late in town. The bar professes itself as the world's first and only all draft Guinness bar, which means we're getting the freshest mocha mustache around. How serious are they for St. Patrick's Day? They've gone so far as to make a video about the expected revelry that is sure to occur, which makes us feel that we're in good hands come Monday. (519 Second Ave.;212-686-1210)

Rocky Sullivan's: Red Hook denizens are familiar with the liveliness of this Irish bar, which made the move from Manhattan over the bridge back in 2007. Off the beaten path, the bar separates itself from its brethren with a showcase of readings from Irish activists as well as plays host to Irish news radio show Radio Free Eirann. We're hard pressed to find a more empowering pint than Rocky's, which makes the long journey to the waterfront enclave worth any "bar crawl" we're missing out on. (34 Van Dyke St., Brooklyn; 718-246-8050)

Ryan's Daughter: After the parade ends, we agree it's a wise move to shuffle over to this no frills classic bar for a round of darts or to shoot hoops. Though serving up free potato chips may entice us to order more beers than anticipated, the warm service and freebies are welcomed in an area saturated with cheap drink specials and faux Irish decor. Grabbing a pint and game here might be a dangerous step to an all nighter, but the inviting surroundings and over the top service make it hard to go anywhere else.(350 E. 85 St.; 212-628-2613)

The Carriage House: Instead of standing way too close to a stranger on Second Avenue in midtown, escaping to this low key Irish retreat might be the right call come Monday. Plenty of games like NBA Jam pin ball and pool await the most avid bar gamer, and a fresh pint of Guinness is likely to be served with an accent. Though there might be more lively spots in the vicinity, the relaxed atmosphere here makes enjoying a brew and conversation all the more lucrative. We might not get the thunderous sound of bagpipes, but the quiet conversation and convivial atmosphere might be all we need on a boisterous holiday.  (219 E. 59 St.; 212-838-9464)

The Landmark Tavern: Another historical den of inactivity, which dates back to 1868, grabbing a pint here means we're in for a night of straight forward drinking and honest conversation. Single-malt whiskeys are the drink of choice here, while tin ceilings and a tile floor echo the ghosts of drinkers that have past. The bar's also known for live Irish music, and though it's way out there on 11th avenue, it's a given the place's penchant for attracting a crowd throughout time will make it a top destination to shout "Erin go Bragh." (626 Eleventh Ave.; 212-247-2562)

Ulysses A Folk House: A favorite within the Financial District, this Stone Street address has all the makings of the place to be on St. Paddy's Day. To get the crowd ignited, the bar is already featuring oyster specials on top of having our own Guinness glass engraved on the spot. With a live band and even livelier crowd ready to shake off the Monday blues, we're confidant Ulysses will be the hottest ticket in town so long as the kegs don't run out. (95 Pearl St.;212-482-0400)