St. Patrick’s Day, the annual green-tinted celebration commemorating the death of eponymous Irish Patron Saint Patrick, likely catalyzes more pub crawls around the globe than any other holiday. Celebrators decked out in green garb hop from pub to pub, united by cold glasses of beer or shots of Irish whiskey.
For the history buffs among us, VinePair has rounded up some of the oldest Irish bars across the country, for a crawl steeped in tradition.
McSorley’s Old Ale House, NYC (1854)
Founded in 1854, this no-frills pub serves beer and only beer. The ale house, situated in Manhattan’s Bowery District, is a monument to a rich Irish history in New York.
Kelly’s Logan House, Wilmington, Del. (1864)
Named for Union Army Gen. John A. Logan, Kelly’s Logan House is Delaware’s oldest Irish pub. The national historic site has long been a St. Paddy’s day hub for locals.
McGillin’s Ale House, Philadelphia (1860)
Founded over 40 years before Philadelphia’s City Hall was completed, McGillin’s is a time capsule of the city’s history, bearing on its walls signs from local businesses that have long since closed. Along with beer, this pub offers a selection of food such as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie.
Molly’s Shebeen, NYC (1895)
While this bar was technically founded in 1895, it closed for Prohibition and functioned as a grocery store before returning to alcohol service in the 1930s.
The Irish Pub, Atlantic City, N.J. (1900)
This spot once housed New Jersey’s Elwood Hotel, which was refurbished as the Irish Pub at the turn of the 20th century. Full of Atlantic City memorabilia, like pictures of famous athletes who have passed through the bar, the pub was a speakeasy during Prohibition and continues to dole out Irish classics to this day.
Nancy Whiskey, Detroit (1902)
The name of this bar reflects its most famous offering: Irish whiskey. Nancy Whiskey was the first bar in the United States to import Tullamore D.E.W., and continues to carry more of it than any other in the country.
The Green Door Tavern, Chicago (1921)
The Green Door has worn many hats in its long history: first as a grocery store, then a restaurant, and lastly, a speakeasy. The pub was also a Prohibition hotspot and continues to (legally) attract customers to this day — making it one of Chicago’s oldest watering holes.
Golden Ace Inn, Indianapolis (1934)
John and Ann McGinley, two Irish immigrants, opened this pub soon after Prohibition. The bar laid down roots nearly a century ago and hasn’t changed much since, despite transformations in its surrounding neighborhood.