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D.C.’s Essential Irish Pubs

Where to down a creamy pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day — or all year long

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It’s not hard to stumble onto a bar in D.C. serving corned beef and cabbage or Guinness. But some Irish pubs take that extra step, whether it be importing rare decorations straight from the Emerald Isle or putting a particular emphasis on traditional Irish recipes.

Sadly, D.C. bid adieu to a trio of Irish standbys over the past few years: Georgetown’s Ri Ra, Alexandria’s Fiona’s Irish Pub, James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant in Dupont Circle, and most recently, Chinatown’s Fado.

Here’s a map of the D.C. area’s 13 standout Irish bars, which will likely be more crowded than usual for St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday, March 17) but are worth a visit any day of the year. And to curb a craving for a proper (or nontraditional) order of fish and chips, go here.

—Updated by Tierney Plumb

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Irish Inn At Glen Echo

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This property has been a tavern since 1931 — it was rebranded by new owners as the Irish Inn back in 2003. The charming looking, park-adjacent restaurant serves Guinness stroganoff, bangers and mash, and more.

Facade for the Irish Inn surrounded by trees
The Irish Inn is nestled up in Glen Echo, Maryland.
The Irish Inn [official site]

Across the Pond

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Dupont Circle’s no-frills destination for across-the-pond classics is all about battered sausages, car bombs, and Irish coffees on St. Patrick’s Day. Rugby, soccer, and (European) football watch parties are also huge here.

Duffy's Irish Pub (Dupont Circle NW)

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Duffy’s is known in D.C. for its popular wings. But it’s also an Irish bar with an “Irish fusion” section of the menu, which includes beer-battered fish and chips and a corn beef-topped Cobb salad. The long-running bar jumped all over the city as of late, relocating from U Street to H Street in 2018. That location folded last fall, and the bar now resides in fresh Dupont digs. Opening at 11 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day with free Irish breakfast burritos for the first 30 patrons.

Irish Channel Restaurant & Pub

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This pub, located within an unassuming hotel in Chinatown, has an Irish chef (Tom Stack) and hosts live music three nights each week.

The Irish Channel’s facade
The Irish Channel pub
The Irish Channel [official photo]

The Dubliner Restaurant

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Opened in 1974, the Dubliner is the patriarch of D.C.’s Irish bar community. Its epic St. Patrick’s Day party returns in all its glory this year, pricing morning Guinness pours by its age (they’re 48 cents this year from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.). There’s also live music on two stages all day, with an Irish menu starting at 11 a.m. The reliable hangout recently introduced a newly enclosed sidewalk cafe.

A mahogany bar decorated with bottles
The well-stocked bar at The Dubliner in D.C.
Rey Lopez/Eater

Kelly's Irish Times

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Decorations on the wall at this D.C. institution pull from more than 100 years of Irish history. There’s also a separate Irish whiskey-themed bar that opened a few years ago. Around since 1978, its mashup menu swings from Guinness Irish stew to New England clam chowder.

Kelly’s Irish Times
Kelly’s Irish Times [official photo]

Ireland's Four Provinces

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Owner Colm Dillon is a native of Ireland. He and Ciara Collins purchased the pub, which has been around since 1997, in 2004. Cottage pie and and an Irish breakfast fry are among the classic dishes at the bar nicknamed 4P’s. Sunday brunch also draws lots of post-mass crowds. A bountiful St. Patrick’s Day menu of starters, mains, and desserts is available for carryout or dine-in (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.). Offerings include homemade shepherd’s or cottage pie and grilled chicken with a Tullamore Dew whiskey cream sauce.

Kirwan’s on the Wharf

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This relatively new addition to the D.C. Irish Pub scene is one of the more laid-back, casual options in the Wharf development. The owners also run Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub In Arlington. Kirwan’s is the centerpiece of this weekend’s Ireland at The Wharf festival (Saturday, March 19), with bagpipers, Irish dance performances, and Guinness beer garden on District Pier from noon to 4 p.m.

Kirwan’s on The Wharf
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant

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Planted right on Columbia Pike’s traffic-heavy strip, the Celtic House is known for its deep whiskey selection, Wednesday night trivia, and orders of shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and Guinness stew. There’s also a 24-seat outdoor patio. St. Patrick’s Day festivities start at 9 a.m., and the party continues with Irish music and dancers all weekend.

The Auld Shebeen

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Walk into this Fairfax institution, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a cluster of Irish musicians jamming in the corner. The menu features dishes lightly fried Scotch eggs and a gravy-smothered Irish stout burger. Irish dishes get discounts on Monday nights. The atmosphere gets rowdier in the basement area, named Jackie O’Shea’s, where George Mason University students party.

Mashed potatoes and a Guinness
Mashed potatoes at The Auld Shebeen
The Auld Shebeen [official photo]

Samuel Beckett's Irish Gastro Pub

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One of the better overall options for drinking in Shirlington, Samuel Beckett’s attracts whiskey buffs, rugby fans, and dog-lovers (courtesy of their dog-friendly patio). Anyone can stop by for whiskey, lamb burgers, chicken curry, fish cakes, or bacon with cabbage.

Green-wearing patrons in a bar
Samuel Beckett’s St. Patrick’s Day crowds
Samuel Beckett’s [official site]

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub

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Live Irish music is a staple at Murphy’s Old Town, which serves dishes like shrimp Killarney, Irish smoked salmon, meat and potato pie, daily discounts on Jameson (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), and more.

A bread bowl on a plate
Dip in a bread bowl at Murphy’s
Muphy’s [official site]

Daniel O'Connell's Irish Restaurant & Bar

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Ireland natives John Brennan and Billy O’Sullivan purchased this space back in 2004 and outfitted it with historic Irish antiques. The bar now hosts rugby viewing parties, St. Patrick’s Day events, and pub nights, all while serving up dishes like corned beef, fish and chips, and cabbage and Irish egg rolls.

An stone-framed dining room and bar
Inside Daniel O’Connell’s in Alexandria
Daniel O’Connell’s [official site]

Irish Inn At Glen Echo

This property has been a tavern since 1931 — it was rebranded by new owners as the Irish Inn back in 2003. The charming looking, park-adjacent restaurant serves Guinness stroganoff, bangers and mash, and more.

Facade for the Irish Inn surrounded by trees
The Irish Inn is nestled up in Glen Echo, Maryland.
The Irish Inn [official site]

Across the Pond

Dupont Circle’s no-frills destination for across-the-pond classics is all about battered sausages, car bombs, and Irish coffees on St. Patrick’s Day. Rugby, soccer, and (European) football watch parties are also huge here.

Duffy's Irish Pub (Dupont Circle NW)

Duffy’s is known in D.C. for its popular wings. But it’s also an Irish bar with an “Irish fusion” section of the menu, which includes beer-battered fish and chips and a corn beef-topped Cobb salad. The long-running bar jumped all over the city as of late, relocating from U Street to H Street in 2018. That location folded last fall, and the bar now resides in fresh Dupont digs. Opening at 11 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day with free Irish breakfast burritos for the first 30 patrons.

Irish Channel Restaurant & Pub

This pub, located within an unassuming hotel in Chinatown, has an Irish chef (Tom Stack) and hosts live music three nights each week.

The Irish Channel’s facade
The Irish Channel pub
The Irish Channel [official photo]

The Dubliner Restaurant

Opened in 1974, the Dubliner is the patriarch of D.C.’s Irish bar community. Its epic St. Patrick’s Day party returns in all its glory this year, pricing morning Guinness pours by its age (they’re 48 cents this year from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.). There’s also live music on two stages all day, with an Irish menu starting at 11 a.m. The reliable hangout recently introduced a newly enclosed sidewalk cafe.

A mahogany bar decorated with bottles
The well-stocked bar at The Dubliner in D.C.
Rey Lopez/Eater

Kelly's Irish Times

Decorations on the wall at this D.C. institution pull from more than 100 years of Irish history. There’s also a separate Irish whiskey-themed bar that opened a few years ago. Around since 1978, its mashup menu swings from Guinness Irish stew to New England clam chowder.

Kelly’s Irish Times
Kelly’s Irish Times [official photo]

Ireland's Four Provinces

Owner Colm Dillon is a native of Ireland. He and Ciara Collins purchased the pub, which has been around since 1997, in 2004. Cottage pie and and an Irish breakfast fry are among the classic dishes at the bar nicknamed 4P’s. Sunday brunch also draws lots of post-mass crowds. A bountiful St. Patrick’s Day menu of starters, mains, and desserts is available for carryout or dine-in (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.). Offerings include homemade shepherd’s or cottage pie and grilled chicken with a Tullamore Dew whiskey cream sauce.

Kirwan’s on the Wharf

This relatively new addition to the D.C. Irish Pub scene is one of the more laid-back, casual options in the Wharf development. The owners also run Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub In Arlington. Kirwan’s is the centerpiece of this weekend’s Ireland at The Wharf festival (Saturday, March 19), with bagpipers, Irish dance performances, and Guinness beer garden on District Pier from noon to 4 p.m.

Kirwan’s on The Wharf
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant

Planted right on Columbia Pike’s traffic-heavy strip, the Celtic House is known for its deep whiskey selection, Wednesday night trivia, and orders of shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and Guinness stew. There’s also a 24-seat outdoor patio. St. Patrick’s Day festivities start at 9 a.m., and the party continues with Irish music and dancers all weekend.

The Auld Shebeen

Walk into this Fairfax institution, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a cluster of Irish musicians jamming in the corner. The menu features dishes lightly fried Scotch eggs and a gravy-smothered Irish stout burger. Irish dishes get discounts on Monday nights. The atmosphere gets rowdier in the basement area, named Jackie O’Shea’s, where George Mason University students party.

Mashed potatoes and a Guinness
Mashed potatoes at The Auld Shebeen
The Auld Shebeen [official photo]

Samuel Beckett's Irish Gastro Pub

One of the better overall options for drinking in Shirlington, Samuel Beckett’s attracts whiskey buffs, rugby fans, and dog-lovers (courtesy of their dog-friendly patio). Anyone can stop by for whiskey, lamb burgers, chicken curry, fish cakes, or bacon with cabbage.

Green-wearing patrons in a bar
Samuel Beckett’s St. Patrick’s Day crowds
Samuel Beckett’s [official site]

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub

Live Irish music is a staple at Murphy’s Old Town, which serves dishes like shrimp Killarney, Irish smoked salmon, meat and potato pie, daily discounts on Jameson (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), and more.

A bread bowl on a plate
Dip in a bread bowl at Murphy’s
Muphy’s [official site]

Daniel O'Connell's Irish Restaurant & Bar

Ireland natives John Brennan and Billy O’Sullivan purchased this space back in 2004 and outfitted it with historic Irish antiques. The bar now hosts rugby viewing parties, St. Patrick’s Day events, and pub nights, all while serving up dishes like corned beef, fish and chips, and cabbage and Irish egg rolls.

An stone-framed dining room and bar
Inside Daniel O’Connell’s in Alexandria
Daniel O’Connell’s [official site]

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