St. Patrick’s Day is just a few weeks away and with that comes green beer, beer-battered fish and chips and, in keeping with Irish tradition, lots and lots of whiskey and Guinness. Irish pubs are spread out across the city and plentiful, with many of them operated by Irish-immigrants themselves. With that said, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are the top Irish bars in Philadelphia.
2013 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Bards is a small, cozy, no-frills bar located on Walnut Street. Irish owned and operated, it’s as authentic as one can get for an Irish pub in Philly. Come in for dinner on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and enjoy the Trinity supper of three Irish courses for only $19 a person. It includes traditional Irish fare like fish and chips, Irish stew and shepherd’s pie. And for dessert, enjoy a Guinness brownie, or come in for weekend brunch and enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast.
1214 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Fergie’s Pub is as much known for its Monday night open-mic and weekly quizzo as it is for its friendly service and traditional Irish fare. Fergus Carey, an Irish man with a lot of character and personality, owns the pub along with three other beloved bars in the city (Monk’s, Grace’s Tavern, the Belgian Cafe). Bangers and mash, an all-day traditional Irish breakfast and shepherd’s pie are just of the few Irish specialties served here. For the non-meat eaters, there are many veggie options, like the seitan wings. Come in for traditional Irish music every Saturday at 4 p.m.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House
1310 Drury St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
The Irish immigrant William McGillin opened McGillin’s in 1860, making this pub the “oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia.” McGillin’s, who calls the tiny Drury Street its home, is habitually named as one of the best Irish pubs in Philadelphia and in the nation. It serves the only stout brewed in Ireland (O’hara’s Celtic Stout) and, in Philadelphia, it can only be found here. Make this place your go-to for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in February and March for Irish music, green beer and food specials.
The Plough & the Stars
123 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The Plough & the Stars is a fun Irish pub located in Old City on 2nd Street between Market and Chestnut. Come here to eat and enjoy a Guinness casserole during dinner or a traditional Irish breakfast during brunch. Other raved-about Irish meals include the fish and chips (with tilapia or the conventional haddock) and shepherd’s pie. For drinks, the Plough & the Stars has an extensive list of whiskey (including Irish whiskey) and a draft list that includes Irish staples like Guinness, Harp and and Smithwick. Traditional Irish music is performed every Sunday evening, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sláinte Irish Pub & Grill
3000 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sláinte’s name is Gaelic for cheers, and with its selection of Irish whiskeys, top shelf liquors, wine and beer (25 on draft!), you’ll be able to toast as many times as you like at this pub conveniently located next to 30th Street Station. It serves both American and traditional Irish food, so if you come in to eat, you’ll be able to enjoy chicken tenders or buffalo wings alongside shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and bangers and mash.
Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.