The luck of the Irish can only get you so far. Don't leave your perfectly poured pint of Guinness to chance this St. Patrick's Day. Instead, don your green and head straight to one of these five tried-and-true Irish pubs, set within easy walking—scratch that, jigging—distance of the tail end of New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade (which starts at 11am on March 17th, running up 5th Avenue from 44th Street, before disbanding at 79th Street). It's here, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, that parade-goers pour out in search of a little post-parade, end-of-the-rainbow pot of gold—or at least a solid mug filled with green beer. So channel your inner redhead and set out for some Celtic-inspired revelry—Erin go bragh!
Looking for more ways to make the most of St. Patrick's Day? Check out these 5 Fun Things to Do for St. Patrick's Day in NYC.
01 of 05
350 E. 85th St., btwn 1st & 2nd aves.; 212-628-2613; www.ryansdaughternyc.com
Attracting a slightly older, more demure crowd than some of the Upper East Side's rowdier neighborhood pubs, cozy, no-frills Ryan's Daughter touts a dedicated locals following. Walls are plastered with old movie memorabilia (much of which nods to the bar's namesake 1970s film, about an Irish woman's affair with a British officer), along with nostalgic photos of Ireland, while the quirky, eclectic decor gives way to a smattering of seemingly random items, from cowboy boots to prosthetic legs (bartenders—some of them Irish—can fill you in on the stories behind them, racked up over the course of the bar's 35-year-long history). Order up a Guinness or an Irish coffee, grab some free chips, and perhaps have a go at shooting hoops courtesy of their in-pub basketball game. A second floor with a full bar is open for spillover on weekends and during special events like the parade.
02 of 05
1490 2nd Ave., btwn 77th & 78th sts.; 212-988-5300; www.docwatsons.com
This Irish pub and American restaurant pairs a generous selection of draft and craft beers with pub grub favorites (like burgers and fish-and-chips), sprinkled in with Irish specialties like Irish beef stew, shepherd's pie, and traditional Irish breakfast (Irish sausage, bacon, fried egg, black and white pudding, baked beans, and Irish soda bread). Doc Watson's reels in crowds with occasional live music and always keeps things interesting with its digital jukebox and regular food and drink specials. It'll be elbow-to-elbow on St. Paddy's Day, but well worth it for the bagpipe players who regularly frequent the joint post-parade; plus, you can sneak out to the outdoor garden or sidewalk seating for a breather.
03 of 05
1840 2nd Ave., btwn 95th & 96th sts.; 212-831-7696; www.merrionnyc.com
This contemporary take on the Irish pub wins neighborhood crowds with its wood-paneled bar, exposed brick walls, and oak barrel table decor, all rounded out by a pool table and skee ball machine. Expect a friendly waitstaff to dole out more than two dozen beers on tap, including plenty of craft and seasonal brews. It's all offered up at a great value, to boot—the bar offers a free hamburger with the purchase of a drink, and free wings with the purchase of a pitcher during weekday happy hour; a light bar menu is available otherwise.
04 of 05
229 E. 84th St., btwn 2nd & 3rd aves.; 212-327-4450; www.trinitypubnyc.com
This authentic Irish pub is a locals' favorite, thanks in large part to the friendly barkeeps. Expect a fail-safe merrymaking vibe in this intimate, brick-walled pub, nurtured by bartenders who regularly address patrons by name (though forgive them if they don't remember it during the steady stream of revelers come St. Patrick's Day!), and a generous selection of specialty cocktails and beers on tap. Fall in love with the bar on St. Paddy's, and you can even come back and have a go at tending bar yourself, courtesy of their regular guest-bartending gigs, held on Thursdays.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
301 E. 91st St., btwn 1st & 2nd aves.; 212-534-4785; www.biddysnyc.com
Small it may be in size, but not in character. Patrons frequent this one-room Upper East Side pub for its laid-back vibe and charming Irish barkeeps. Plus, pints are affordable and the atmosphere is refreshingly grown-up for what can be an otherwise raucous neighborhood bar scene. Happy hour deals, darts, trivia nights, and a jukebox only add to the intimate pub's appeal.