Philadelphia is the second-largest home of Irish Americans in the United States. As such, it contains a plethora of local pubs claiming to be the most authentic Irish establishment in the city or the area.
To identify a true champion among Irish pubs, patrons should check for a few tell-tale signs of ethnicity including: bartenders who are actually from Ireland or have studied brew-making there, ethnic dishes and the presence of Guinness and Harp on tap.
The Irish Times
The Irish Times is an all-purpose pub. The pub is cleverly marketed and is often involved in community events, specials and fundraising opportunities. The Irish Times is divided into two levels, the upper level featuring sports games on television and bar service and the lower creating a haven for live music and dining around tables.
Drinks at the Irish Times are comparatively pricey, but each beverage is mixed to perfection and there’s nothing the bartenders can’t mix for you. The menu includes a fine mix of ethnic Irish dishes such as bangers and mash and standard American/English pub fare.
Always show up during music performances and sessions to chat about all things Irish. Most of the performers are happy to take requests.
The Irish Times is located in Queen Village on 2nd and Bainbridge (near South Street).
Tir na Nog
This is Philly’s prime spot for watching soccer, but it has plenty of room for dining and drink for those wanting some non-sports related socialization. Including private rooms for parties, Tir na Nog features homey details and décor that remind many Irish American patrons of their childhood memories.
Tir na Nog has the best crab dip in the region-it includes a large influx of cream and cheese without loosing the crab meat flavor. Located at The Phoenix, Tir na Nog features expansive, open spaces. It’s a favorite with the after-work crowd. The drinks here taste particularly fresh and you shouldn’t skip Guinness-inclusive desserts.
Tir na Nog is located at 1600 Arch Street.
The Bards is a cozy pub when its empty-and when it’s not, it’s got a warm and friendly vibe frequently found in Irish pubs located in more rural locations. At The Bards, it’s easy to forget that you’re in an urban environment.
The bartenders here are particularly attentive and it’s a great place to meet new friends. The atmosphere and country pub décor certainly encourage a crowd of professionals open to meeting others.
This pub is second only to The Irish Times in terms of Guinness pour. It’s a must for fans of stout and lager.
The Bards is located in Rittenhouse Square at 2013 Walnut Street.
Notable mentions also include Fado and The Blarney South, the latter offering a consistent pour but losing points for some rather odd décor.