A New York Irish pub may have been voted best bar in the world – and be making an appearance in London this summer – but ‘old country’ boozers are in decline in the city. We raise a glass to both the classics and those reviving the tradition
In some New York neighbourhoods every other bar seems to be either Irish-themed or Irish-owned. In a city that remains the spiritual home of the Great Irish Bar, the challenge becomes how to sort the genuine from the fake. There are plenty of shamrock-ed bars to drink in, with all kinds of Blarney-fied names, but links to the “old country” are often flimsy.
It’s partly for this reason that the Irish bar in New York is in decline, a social staple being squeezed out as Guinness sales fall in favour of American craft beers and diners move away from traditional bar grub to more gastropub food, along with the usual cycle of rent increases and gentrification. Some say the traditional Irish New York pub is simply falling out of fashion; others argue that a vibrant new generation is emerging. Here, then, is a personal Manhattan top 10 that exemplifies both the survival and the revival of the great New York Irish Bar.