Brogues and Beers: Brooklyn’s top 10 Irish bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
When the Great Famine hit Ireland in 1845, droves of Irish immigrants journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City in search of a better life, bringing with them strange accents and an innate love for drinking.
They initially settled in Bay Ridge, Windsor Terrace and Park Slope, and their ubiquitous influence is still felt to this day in the many Irish bars that dot the streets of Brooklyn.
With so many watering holes to choose from, we’ve selected the 10 best Brooklyn bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, which is this Sunday.
Here’s what to expect: Guinness on draft, sports on the TV and a no-frills environment.
- The Wicked Monk, Bay Ridge
Bay Ridge was once known as “Little Ireland” for its sizable Irish population, so it’s no surprise that The Wicked Monk leads off our list. With stained glass windows, stonewalls and a mural of drunk monks above the bar, you’ll feel like you’re drinking in church.
“It’s a laid-back neighborhood bar that has a great selection of beers, whiskeys and a delicious menu that features Irish classics like bangers and mash,” said Bay Ridge resident (and Eagle reporter) Rob Abruzzese. “That and live bands playing traditional Irish music make it a great place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Bay Ridge.”
Celtic group Shilelagh Law, dubbed “New York’s thirstiest Irish pub band,” will be playing at 3 p.m. followed by The Canny Brothers Band at 5 p.m.
The Wicked Monk, 9510 Third Ave.
- Kings County Distillery, Brooklyn Navy Yard
What better way to celebrate the holiday than in the city’s oldest whiskey distillery?
Throughout the 19th century, the surrounding neighborhood of Vinegar Hill was known as “Irish Town” for its numerous illegal distilleries, which were regularly raided by Marines stationed at the Navy Yard.
At 4:30 p.m., BLDG 92 and the distillery will be hosting a “Whiskey Wars Tour and Tasting,” which explores the whiskey scandals of the past and the resurgence of the industry today.
The two-hour tour features a tasting of the distillery’s whiskeys, bourbons and moonshines, and the event page courteously notes that the tour includes stairs — so bear that in mind before you slug back your third moonshine.
Kings County Distillery, 299 Sands St.
- Rocky Sullivan’s, Red Hook
This no-frills bar was opened in 1996 by the musician Chris Byrne and journalist Patrick Farrelly. It offers Irish language classes on Tuesdays and routinely hosts Irish author talks featuring Roddy Doyle, Frank McCourt, Edna O’Brien, Pete Hamill and Brendan O’Carroll.
With Sunday’s forecast expected to be a cool 45 degrees, you’ll want to curl up in front of the fireplace in the backroom and enjoy live traditional Irish music from Byrne himself.
Rocky Sullivan’s, 46 Beard St.
- The Bell House, Gowanus
The Bell House, known for its live bands, will be serving up Celtic soul music on Sunday. Too-Rye-Ay, an 11-person band, will perform a St. Patrick’s Day tribute to the Dexys Midnight Runners, a group best known for “Come on Eileen,” which was No. 18 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the 1980s.”
The Bell House, 149 Seventh St.
- Brooklyn Cider House, Bushwick
Green cider. Need we say more?
This Basque Country-inspired cider bar serves alcohol directly from the barrels, and it will be serving an all-day brunch bash featuring Irish food and drink specials.
Just ask for the “Luck of the Irish,” which includes a shot of Jameson, a glass of Brooklyn Cider House cider, green eggs and ham, corned beef and cabbage, and “LOTS of green cider.”
Brooklyn Cider House, 1100 Flushing Ave.
- Paddy’s of Park Slope, Park Slope
This hidden gem, owned by Teresa Morgan-Langton and Mark Langton, a married couple from Ireland, routinely hosts live Irish music nights. They serve multiple Irish whiskeys, and numerous visitors have praised them for their smooth Guinness pours.
“Best Guinness this side of the [River] Liffey,” said Tom B. of Brooklyn on Yelp. “Great little neighborhood boozer: friendly bar staff, sport on the TV, cracking jukebox and a dartboard. Not much else more you can want for in the pub.”
Paddy’s of Park Slope, 273 13th St.
- McMahon’s Public House, Park Slope
Come to McMahon’s with an appetite. This old-time watering hole has Irish flags hanging from the rafters, a wooden interior with exposed brick and a very long bar.
Fill up on Irish classics like corned beef, bangers and mash and Shepherd’s pie.
Wash it all down with a cold Guinness.
McMahon’s Public House, 39 Fifth Ave.
- Soccer Tavern, Sunset Park
A favorite gathering place for footy fans, Soccer Tavern, which opened in 1932, showcases English premier league games in the morning on their many TVs.
Cozy up to the bar and be sure to order a Guinness sprinkled with green confectionary sugar or a Magners cider. Filled with trophies, dartboards and a jukebox, this no-nonsense watering hole will transport you back to the old days of Brooklyn.
Soccer Tavern, 6004 Eighth Ave.
- Hartley’s, Clinton Hill
You might miss Hartley’s walking by its unassuming storefront, but once you go in for the first time, you’ll remember it forever. This homey bar offers “the warmth of Irish hospitality” and some damn good comfort food.
Our favorites include the house-spiced beef with Irish cheddar, potato and leek soup, and their daily baked soda bread served with Irish butter.
Hartley’s, 14 Putnam Ave.
- Irish Haven, Sunset Park
Outside Irish Haven, you’ll find a green sign with clovers and an Irish flag blowing in the wind off Fourth Avenue.
Inside you’ll find friendly bartenders and $5 pints of Guinness, Smithwicks and Magners.
Oh, and a scene from “The Departed” was filmed here.
Irish Haven, 5721 Fourth Ave.
Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.
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