Best Irish Pubs in San Francisco

June 20, 2013
by Zagat Staff

When you want to go where everybody knows your name, head to one of these San Francisco pubs.

The Irish Bank
Irish Pub · Downtown · $$
Food - · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

“A tried-and-true spot to quaff a few pints of Guinness after work” , this “comfy” Irish Downtowner is the “rare place to take your drink outside in SF” , thanks to tables lined up in a hidden alley; “getting a seat” can be “tough” , but fans are willing to wait to enjoy “great pub grub” and a “huge selection of whiskeys” delivered by “friendly” servers.
Johnny Foley's Irish House
Irish Pub · Tenderloin · $$
Food - · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

“A convivial mix of tourists and locals” heads to this “authentic” Tenderloin “public house” for pints of Guinness and “hearty” portions of “very good” pub grub; the staff oozes “charming hospitality” and the nightly live music “rocks” , from bands on the main floor to the “lively” “dueling pianos” below, so most maintain it “has the magic to keep people coming back.”
The Abbey Tavern
Bar · Inner Richmond
Food - · Decor 3.8 · Service 4.1

Full of “fresh-off-the-boat” Irish expats as well as “drunk college kids” “when USF is in session” , this “great dive of an Irish bar” in the Inner Richmond is a “casual place” for “conversation” as well as sports on several TVs (expect “tons of European soccer games” ); the decor is “nothing too special” , but with “cheap” drinks and “prompt” service, the experience can be “crazy fun” or sometimes “just plain crazy.”
The Plough and the Stars
Bar · Inner Richmond · $

Some call it an “old-school” “dive” , but this “honest-to-goodness Irish bar” in the Inner Richmond is “usually rocking” , thanks to live “Celtic music most nights” , including “free jam sessions” on Tuesdays and Sundays; between sets, it’s a “low-key place” for an “affordable” pint and “great craic” with the “chatty” regulars and “friendly” bartenders.
Little Shamrock
Bar · Inner Sunset · $

A “friendly” “neighborhood hangout” that “hasn’t changed much since it opened its doors” in 1894, this Inner Sunset Irish pub is “cool” in an “old-fashioned way” ; it has “lots of character – and characters” too, who head here to browse the board games and “meet new people” over “cheap” pints.
The Dubliner
Bar · Noe Valley · $

“Fun” , “friendly” places for catching a Giants game, playing pool or “just hanging” out with “cheap drinks” , these “old-time” Irish twins are populated by “great characters” , “from plumbers to judges” ; the “basic” decor is about “what you’d expect to find in a pub” and service can be “kind of slow” , but “the beer selection is on point” , making it an “easy place” for pints.
The Liberties Bar & Grill
Gastropub · Noe Valley · $

“Everybody is a little bit Irish” at this “stylin’ pub” on a mostly residential block of the Mission, a “relaxed place” with “decent service” whether you’re catching the game in the main bar or supping on upscale pub grub in one of the more sedate side rooms; either way, the “awesome atmosphere” , “terrific specials throughout the week” and sidewalk seating (weather permitting) add to its “value.”