No matter where in the world you are, you’ll always find an Irish pub. Be it the foothills of Nepal or scuba diving off the coast of Bali, there will always be a pint of the black stuff, an old mad regaling tales of years gone by, Dirty Old Town on repeat and, if you’re lucky, some fresh fish and chips to fill you up after a long day of sightseeing.
We believe we’ve found the top 12 Irish pubs scattered around the globe, but if you feel passionately that we’ve missed one off the list then leave us a comment at the bottom. We could feature your favourite in our next round-up.
1. Scruffy Murphy’s, Sydney, Australia
The stomping ground of virtually every backpacker and Irish expat in Australia, Scruffy Murphy’s is a Sydney institution. Sure, it may be a little rough around the edges and there is so much spilled drink on the floor that your flip flops will get stuck to the dance floor, but it really does have its charm and you can’t beat their $10 lunch deals and if you’re looking to catch the big game (whatever big game that is) they show every major sporting event from around the world on numerous large screens! And if you’ve taken full advantage of the $7 pints, then why not enter their monthly sing-off to win $500 on Karaoke Wednesdays?!
2. The Wolfhound, Seoul, South Korea
The Wolfhound in Seoul, South Korea, has been a melting pot of locals, Irish expats and US soldiers serving in South Korea for many years. Their Sunday live music sessions are legendary with long-term Irish expats and English teachers belting out classic Irish tunes every Sunday afternoon. The pub hosts many Irish-themed parties, often organised by the Irish Association of Korea or the Seoul Gaels (Korea’s most well-known Gaelic football team) and is by far the best pub in Korea to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
3. Auld Shillelagh, London, UK
Ok, so it’s not miles away, but if you’re in the British capital and you get a hankering for home then this drinking den is the place to put a smile back on your face. Situated on Stokie’s Church Street, the Auld Shillelagh Irish pub is a firm favourite with both the Irish living abroad and born and bred Londoners – it recently won the coveted title of ‘Most authentic Irish pub in the world outside of Ireland’. Fans of this pub say it has some of the best poured Guinness (except in Ireland or course) and is the place to go for a night of (sensible) shenanigans. The live sessions fill this narrow pub with music and laughter, but arrive early on the weekend when bar stools and space come at a premium. If the weather’s fine then you can spill out in to the spacious beer garden around the back, perfect for those who need a breather or if you’re just looking to mingle.
4. The Irish Pub, Nepal
When you build a pub high up in the Himalayas of Nepal, where you’re guaranteed no competition, you can pretty much call it whatever you like and ‘The Irish Pub’ in Namche Bazaar pretty much does what it says on the flourescent green signage out front. While the pub no doubt wins the award for the highest, most difficult to reach watering hole in the world – with possibly the most unoriginal name – the trek is well worth the effort. It’s a welcoming oasis of whisky, beer and wine (especially so after a summit climb) serving food to warm the soul and drinks that have been carried up through the mountains, making you appreciate every last drop even more.
5. Fibber Magee’s, Dubai, UAE
Yes, we’re putting an Irish pub located in a city that forbids people to be drunk in public on our list. While Dubai’s drinking laws can be confusing to some, they are pretty simple really. All licenced premises (read: pubs) must be located inside hotels complexes. Fibber Magee’s may be the only exception to that rule in Dubai, as it’s located in Saeed Tower One on the Sheikh Zayed Road, which isn’t a hotel. What it lacks in it’s overly dark interior, it makes up for in it’s excellent food menu and atmosphere. Try their all day Irish breakfast – it’s the best you’ll find in this part of the world! They even offer traditional Christmas dinner (sit-in and takeaway options available) for expats and holidaymakers who’ll be in town on December 25th.
6. Bubbles O’Leary’s, Kampala, Uganda
We had to include this one just for the sheer hilarity of the name. While we know there are dozens of oddly named pubs in far-flung corners of the world, who on earth told the Ugandans that ‘bubbles’ was a common Irish name?! Ridiculous alias aside, Bubbles O’Leary’s, located in Kampala, the capital of the Eastern African nation of Uganda, is actually an excellent Irish pub. It’s the number one spot to go after work to unwind and an even better place to party Friday and Saturday night away at the weekends – escape the crowds and spread out in the beer garden. One downside to this quirky drinking den; the bar taps are for display purposes only – all beer is either canned or bottled. On the other hand, you won’t find a more authentic Irish pub in Africa – the entire place was built in County Louth and shipped to Uganda where it was rebuilt and still stands today.
7. Tir Na Nog, Gili Islands, Indonesia
It must be said that the exterior of Tir Na Nog Irish Pub on the Indonesian paradise island of Gili T (a boat ride away from larger islands Lombok and Bali) looks as much like an Irish pub as Michael D. Higgins looks like Colin Farrell. The entire pub is made from bamboo and overlooks the crystal blue waters of the Lombok straits. While their daily drink specials tend towards wine coolers and tropical cocktails, it’s the atmosphere and clientele that make this ‘Irish pub’ so special. It’s not all style and no substance though – Tir Na Nog was opened by Irish entrepreneurs over 18 years ago, giving some credibility to it’s Irish roots. You’re guaranteed to make instant friends once inside and it hosts the biggest party on Gili T every Wednesday night. Ladies, get down there on Sundays for 50% off all cocktails.
8. McSorley’s, New York City, USA
The oldest Irish pub on this list, dating back over 150 years, McSorleys’s on East 7th Street in the East Village is a landmark Irish institution in New York City. Those that have been there over the years will remember the sawdust on the floor, their smooth home-brewed ale and, most importantly, the all-Irish staff members. Crazy fact about this drinking hole; women have only been permitted to drink here since 1970. While they only serve their own brew rather than big name Irish brands, this is a pub where you really can’t go wrong if looking for a little slice of home.
9. The Irish Viking, Lanzarote
With Lanzarote, and Puerto Del Carmen to be more specific, one of the most popular destinations for Irish holidaymakers, it’s no surprise the island is full to bursting with Irish pubs. The best, however, has to be The Irish Viking which proves that good things come with age, seeing as it’s the oldest pub in Peurto Del Carmen. Mere minutes stroll from the beach, this bar is the perfect spot for sun-downers during the longer summer months, or a hot whiskey and home-cooked food to warm you up in the slightly cooler winter months. Not that it ever really gets cold here. Best to wear your country colours and sport a classic farmers tan if you want to fit in.
10. Father Ted’s, Auckland, New Zealand
With a name like Father Ted’s, you know this pub is going to be a new firm favourite for a swift half on your travels. If you’re looking for the craic in Auckland, Father Ted’s is the place to be. Their Steak Night feast on Tuesdays will see you enjoying a quarter kilo of steak for only $10 or a half kilo rump for only & $15. They also have both Guinness and Bulmers on tap…hallelujah!
11. The Wild Rover, Cusco, Peru
While climbing to the summit of Peru’s ancient Incan citadel, Machu Pichhu, is a lifelong dream for many, stopping off at an Irish bar in Cusco is probably not as high up on your bucket list – but maybe it should be? A quick drink in The Wild Rover in the nearby city of Cusco, will leave you refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the Inca Trail. The bar also doubles as a backpackers hostel which means there’s never a shortage of fun-loving travellers looking to meet new people over a few pints. It’s famous for its legendary parties, guaranteed to make you regret that last pint the next morning – we recommend you keep things tame if you’re planning a big hike the next day. Challenging Nepal (see number 4) for the title of world’s highest Irish bar, you’ll find this friendly watering hole 3,600 metres above sea level!
12. Mulligans, Amsterdam
Last on our list is a favourite among many, especially those visiting Amsterdam for a few days and needing a brief escape from the smoke of the coffee shops and the debauchery of Amsterdam’s many wicked nightclubs. Mulligans is a pretty authentic place, with none of the ‘paddywhackery’ that you might find in some of the other Irish pubs in the Dutch capital. Located just off Dam square, right in the centre of Amsterdam, Mulligans is the perfect spot to catch the match, grab an after work pint and listen to excellent live music acts at the weekends. As the owners themselves say, “There are dozens of Irish bars in Amsterdam but there’s only one Mulligans.”
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