10 of the best Irish bars in New York
A New York Irish pub may have been voted best bar in the world but ‘old country’ pubs are in decline in the Big Apple. Here are some classics and others reviving the tradition
In some New York neighbourhoods every other bar seems to be either Irish-themed or Irish-owned. In a city that remains the spiritual home of the Great Irish Bar, the challenge becomes how to sort the genuine from the fake. There are plenty of shamrock-ed bars to drink in, with all kinds of Blarney-fied names, but links to Ireland are often flimsy.
It’s partly for this reason that the Irish bar in New York is in decline, a social staple being squeezed out as Guinness sales fall in favour of American craft beers and diners move away from traditional bar food to more gastropub grub, along with the usual cycle of rent increases and gentrification. Some say the traditional Irish New York pub is simply falling out of fashion; others argue that a vibrant new generation is emerging. Here, then, is a Manhattantop 10 that exemplifies both the survival and the revival of the great New York Irish Bar.
This “forward-thinking 21st-century Irish bar” in an 1828 building in the Financial District opened in 2013; just three years later it was awarded World’s Best Bar by Drinks International magazine. Created by two star bar-managers from Belfast, Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon, the Dead Rabbit takes a time-honoured tradition of hospitality, a sense of history and young, dynamic staff and turns them into a modern Irish bar that is accessible, irresistible, even fiercely romantic. The long, narrow ground-floor Taproom can, with some justification, claim to serve “the best Guinness in New York”; it has the largest collection of Irish whiskey in the US, at more than 180 bottles; and it does proper, hearty daily specials such as lamb stew ($22) prime rib ($33) and, of course, braised rabbit ($21). An elegant upstairs Parlour offers 30 pre-prohibition-inspired cocktails ($16) with names such as Switchblade, Hush Money and Hunky Dory.
30 Water Street, deadrabbitnyc.com