The 5 Best True Irish Dive Bars in NYC

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Every bar in the city these days calls itself an “Irish pub.” You can’t walk five blocks without bumping into one. But many are just phonies. They don’t have any real history behind them.

There are a few true Irish dive bars in the city that have the history and the heritage to be deemed Irish. So if you want authenticity, take your friends to one of these spots.



Let’s start with the most obvious. McSorley’s is often argued as one of the most authentic Irish bars in the city. In fact, it claims it is New York’s oldest bar, founded in the mid 19th century. It’s got a long history in the East Village, dating back to days when women weren’t even allowed in the bar. Crazy, right? Thankfully everyone can grab a pint there today.

Molly’s Shebeen 


Molly’s has changed its name many times over the years, but has always had a true Irish spirit at heart. They call themselves the “most traditional Irish bar in New York”. Ownership has changed as the name has changed but its always been owned by true Irish families.

Donovan’s Irish Pub 


Donovan’s takes you outside of Manhattan to the neighborhood of Bayside, Queens. One of the big pulls here is the live traditional Irish music. Bayside still has a pretty Irish dempographic, so it fits right in.

Paddy Maguire’s 


The owner of this pub, Patrick Maguire, used to be a jockey in Limerick, Ireland. If that’s not true Irish roots, nothing is. With open pool tables and sports always on the television, it’s a great hang out to watch a game or two and drink some Guinness.

Doc Watsons 


Yelp / Doc Watson’s
Yelp / Doc Watson’s

Doc Watson’s is a cozy yet exciting Irish pub in the Upper East Side that serves a great brunch and a beer menu that is full of awesome draughts, including Magner’s Cider, which can be hard to find in the city.

Featured image source: Darren K. / Yelp

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