Top 10 Irish Pubs in San Francisco

Events, Nightlife, What's New — By Mary Polizzotti on March 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Have a hint of green in your blood? Join the Irish, half-Irish, quarter-Irish (like me), and wannabe Irish at one of these neighborhood pubs for the best St. Patrick’s Day merrymaking in San Francisco this week.

1.       The Irish Bank (Financial District) – The bacchanalia starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday and promises all day revelry including Irish dancers, Celtic rock bands, and plenty o’ Guinness. Be prepared for the debauchery to spill onto the surrounding streets around 5 p.m. (or possibly a lot earlier). The annual block party is nestled on an alley between Bush and Sutter St, just past Kearny St.

2.       Johnny Foley’s (Union Square) – It’s always “Time for a Pint!” at Johnny Foley’s, so join the mixed crowd of tourists and locals at this boisterous pub. Thwart your hangover with their hearty Irish fare, like shepherd’s pie or lamb sliders. Live entertainment is featured nightly and St. Paddy’s Day is no exception.

3.       Martin Mack’s or Danny Coyle’s (Haight) – Is the true test of an Irish pub whether Irish folk with Irish accents frequent the place? If it is, then both of these bars win the award. These two bars attract diehard footy fans and Guinness lovers galore.

4.       Phoenix Irish Bar & Gathering House (Mission) – Self-proclaimed “hippest Irish bar” (it couldn’t be in the Mission if it wasn’t). Excellent happy hour, solid Irish pub food ‘til 1 a.m., unlimited Irish soda bread, and tons of brews on draft, even cider.

5.       O’Reilly’s Irish Pub (North Beach) –O’Reilly’s honors Ireland’s patron saint starting at 9 a.m. They’ll be serving Irish brunch specialties (not sure what that means but I’m guessing corned beef hash will be on the menu) and the block party begins at 3 p.m. with a line-up of live Irish music.

6.       Durty Nelly’s (Outer Sunset) – Irish bar full of Irish lads and lassies in the outskirts of town by the park. Cozy place with competent bartenders, good grub, and fair prices.

7.       The Blarney Stone (Outer Richmond) – Irish pub that doesn’t stink like one (though that’s apt to change on St. Paddy’s Day). Darts, air hockey, live music, sports on TV, and a sweet outdoor patio draw the young and the restless to this hot spot in the Avenues.

8.       Little Shamrock (Inner Sunset) – Allegedly the oldest Irish bar and second oldest watering hole in the city (1893, say what?!). Amenities include free fresh popcorn, board games, well-worn comfy couches, a dart room, and a variety of Irish whiskies.

9.       The Chieftain (SOMA) – low-key Irish pub and restaurant serving above average pub fare (curry pot pie, fish and chips) and hard-to-find Kilkenny Cream Ale on tap. Usually not crowded, unless there’s a convention going on nearby at the Moscone.

10.   O’Keefe’s Bar (Inner Richmond) – Smoky dive bar filled with jovial souls sipping Magner’s on ice and cans of Guinness, no taps to be found here. The jukebox blasts Irish drinking songs and the walls are adorned with peeling posters of Irish football squads and other Ireland memorabilia.

St. Patrick's Day drinkImage courtesy of archibald jude/Flickr

Feature image courtesy of mk94577/Flickr

Tags: drinking, Guinness, Irish bars, Irish pubs, san francisco, san francisco nightlife, St. Patrick's Day


  • Rachel Greenberg says:

    #4 is one of my favorite bars in SF. Seriously, they have the best happy hour I’ve ever been to!

  • Craig Given says:

    re: Irish Bank – being able to drink Irish carbombs out on the street rather than inside a dank bar is a nice treat indeed.


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