Irish Pubs in San Francisco

Hoist a pint a grab some grub at these Celtic-inspired establishments

You can't go too many blocks in San Francisco without running into an Irish pub. The Irish pubs on this list represent a cross-section of SF neighborhoods. Most bars in San Francisco pack a crowd on weekends, so keep that in mind when venturing out for a drink on Friday or Saturday.

01 of 11

Buena Vista Cafe

The bar at Buena Vista Cafe
John P. via Yelp

Neighborhood: Fisherman’s Wharf - Ghirardelli Square
2765 Hyde Street (at Beach)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Telephone: (415) 989-6222

The Buena Vista Café makes the list for its Irish coffee, but it's not your traditional Irish Pub. It's a tourist draw for sure. For me, it's still a favorite stop to take the chill off a cold waterfront day when touring around with visitors.

The first U.S. glass of Irish coffee was mixed at the Buena Vista in 1952, based on a recipe from Shannon Airport in Ireland. They still whip up a literal assembly line of consistent and delicious Irish coffees. In 2006, they changed the recipe slightly by substituting Tullamore Dew whiskey for the Buena Vista blend they'd used for many years.

 

02 of 11

Johnny Foley's

Johnny Foley'd
Alan L. via Yelp

Neighborhood: Union Square
243 O'Farrell Street (between Mason and Powell)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 954-0777

Johnny Foley’s is in the heart of tourist country, so the patrons are a mix of locals, expats, and visitors. It's not the pub to visit if you're looking for a local's secret. It is Union Square, after all. That does, however, make it a good spot for people watching. Foley’s is also a short walk from Union Square shopping, which is convenient for getting out of the fray, resting the feet and enjoying a beer. Some of the live music acts in the evenings are too loud for conversation, and weekends are packed, so not necessarily the best time to ​catch up over a pint.


 

03 of 11

Phoenix Irish Bar & Gathering House

Shepards pie at the Gathering House
Marissa P. via Yelp

Neighborhood: Mission
811 Valencia Street (at 19th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 695-1811

The Phoenix gets good marks for its pub food and for its Mission ambiance. The menu isn't entirely Irish but they do serve an Irish breakfast, a lamb pot pie, and fish and chips. The crowd is a diverse mix, and the place is unpretentious with a local Mission feel. The Phoenix also gives you a buck off on happy-hour pints.


 

04 of 11

Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub

Neighborhood: North Beach
530 Jackson St. 
San Francsico, CA 94111
Telephone: (415) 995-1916

The downtown spot has all the appeal of a classic Irish bar combined with a killer dance floor and great comedy nights too. They play house music six ​nights a week in their downstairs dance party room while upstairs you'll find big LCD TVs for watching the game (Kells is all about Sunday Night Football). 

Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11

The Irish Bank

The Irish Bank
Simone Anne via Yelp

Neighborhood: Central to Union Square - Financial District
10 Mark Lane (at Bush Street)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: (415) 788-7152

The interior of the Irish Bank is homey, with antiques, photographs, and a comfortable mix of bar stools and wooden tables. It's a favorite stop for many after work, but the later weekday crowd is when an interesting mix populates the place. Bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly. When sitting in the outdoor patio, which runs the length of Mark Lane, you can almost convince yourself you're sipping a pint on the streets of Dublin.

The Irish Bank makes one of the city's best Irish coffees--along with the Buena Vista and O'Reilly's. The brown sugar is the key.

 

06 of 11

Parkside Tavern

Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
1940 Taraval St. 
San Francisco, CA 94116
Telephone: (415) 731-8900

Cottage pies and bangers and mash are just some of the delicious items on the menu of this warm neighborhood joint. Watch chummy locals greeting each other while sports play on the projector and multiple T.V. screens. Plus, the domestic beers are only $5. 

 

07 of 11

Durty Nelly's

Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
2328 Irving Street (at 24th)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Telephone: (415) 664-2555

The big hit of Durty Nelly’s is the fireplace, a warm reprieve from some of the Sunset’s cold and foggy days. Durty Nelly’s serves up Jameson and shepherd’s pie to Irish expats and San Francisco locals. It can get crazy on the weekends with live music and crowds.

 

08 of 11

Little Shamrock

Neighborhood: Inner Sunset
807 Lincoln Way (at 9th)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Telephone: (415) 661-0060

The Little Shamrock deserves mention since it's one of San Francisco's two oldest bars, the oldest being the Saloon in North Beach. Entering the pub feels like coming home to the living room, even if the room is, well, lived in. You'll find clusters of sofas with game tables and a hearth. The bar is friendly with a good selection of Irish whiskey and Guinness on tap, of course.

The pedestrian access is easy from the 9th Avenue entrance to Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the de Young Museum.


 

Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11

The Blarney Stone

Neighborhood: Outer Richmond
5625 Geary Boulevard (at 20th)
San Francisco, CA 94121
Telephone: (415) 386-9914

The Blarney Stone is a favorite neighborhood pub, but it's also worth a trip to the Richmond or a detour and a stop if you're out and about at the beaches or parks. Bartenders are Irish and they know their stouts and whiskeys. It is popular and it does get crowded, but that describes just about every good spot in San Francisco. The Blarney Stone also has an Irish Bakery--John Campbell's Irish Bakery--sending out Irish soda bread and scones from the Blarney kitchen.

 

10 of 11

The Plough and the Stars

Neighborhood: Inner Richmond
116 Clement (at 2nd)
San Francisco, CA 94118
Telephone: (415) 751-1122

The Plough and Stars gets consistently high marks for its Irish music and its Guinness. The pub has a full entertainment calendar, with performances most nights but not Mondays. It’s a laidback pub, although you might want to avoid weekends if crowds aren’t your thing.

 

11 of 11

Ireland's 32

Neighborhood: Inner Richmond
3920 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94118
Telephone: (415) 386-6173

Ireland's 32 refers to the 32 counties of a politically United Ireland. The paraphernalia on the walls speaks of the pub's political leanings. Ireland's 32 also serves as showcase for live music. The venue helped launch the career of Zoo Station, a Bay Area U2 tribute band.

The regular band performances tend to skew the crowd a bit young, but it's also a neighborhood pub and more conducive to leisurely Guinness during less populated hours.