Five Irish Pubs in North America

Whiskey, ale and atmosphere—it’s all authentic here 


 

A truly authentic Irish pub is the kind of place you frequent more than one day a year. Whether it’s for the staff that treats you like family, the centuries-old Irish history, or the selection of Irish ales, spirits and traditional comfort foods, these are a few pubs you just have to experience on this side of the Atlantic.  

Durty Nelly’s, Halifax

The namesake of this local Halifax favourite comes from a faraway place, in Bunratty, Ireland where Durty Nelly—a 15th century hostess created and fed a homemade “miracle brew” (poteen) to tired journeyman and sick neighbours. The spirit of Nelly’s hospitality, warmth and generosity has been recreated in downtown Halifax at this authentic pub. Saddle up to the bar for a pint and hearty Irish pub fare like Guinness braised lamb shank and Irish stew—you’ll also find live music most nights.

St. James’s Gate Olde Irish Pub, Banff

This authentic and charming pub was shipped over from Ireland. Everything from the custom woodwork, furniture and antiques to the bar and beer taps was made in Dublin and sent in shipping containers to Banff. It’s a favourite spot for locals, so join them after a day on the hill (kids welcome until 10 p.m.) for warm stuffed Yorkshire puddings, live Celtic and rock music and a pint.

Hurley’s Irish Pub, Montreal

If you find yourself thirsty in Montreal, this is where you should go. Hurley’s offers 19 local and international beers on tap, more than 50 single malts and 16 Irish whiskeys. Most notably, they serve some of the most Guinness on the continent—about 2,000 pints a week! It’s traditionally poured in two parts, allowing it to settle to black and then topping it off for the perfect pint. Get comfortable and take in live music seven nights a week.

P.J. Clarke’s, New York City

The weathered red brick walls of P.J. Clarke’s date back to 1884—they survived the depression, war and prohibition, and have welcomed the likes of Frank Sinatra and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Irish immigrant P.J. Clarke tended bar at the original location when it was a saloon for Irish labourers. Now, it welcomes everyone from Wall Street suits to blue-collar workers. It truly is a New York institution with quirky features that remain untouched like a pair of human leg bones that stick out of the ceiling above the bar (an Irish talisman of luck).  

Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant, Chicago

This charming spot in Chicago’s Avondale neighbourhood is named for Irish-born police chief Francis O’Neill. O’Neill was an avid musician and is celebrated for preserving Irish music history; today this love of Celtic music is carried on by the pub owners (musicians themselves). The pub features nightly live music and regularly hosts the Irish Music School of Chicago. Fill your belly with shepherd’s pie and check out some of O’Neill’s old possessions and instruments that hang on the walls—the pub also boasts one of the city’s largest beer gardens. 

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