Food & Drink

The Best Irish Bars in Charlotte

Published On 03/15/2016 Published On 03/15/2016
the belfast mill charlotte north carolina best irish bars
Courtesy of Olive Design Company

The time has come to decide where you’ll be spending your day of what-the-hell-did-I-do-last-night this coming St. Patrick’s Day. And we know, despite your heritage, that you’ll more than likely be out there with the rest of the self-proclaimed Irish people in Charlotte (because everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, right?!), looking to get your hands on Éire's best offerings. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to choose from. Whether it be old Irish charm, or traditional fare, that you’re looking to have served alongside that delicious glass of Guinness, we’ve got you covered with some of the best Irish bars in the Queen City.

Tyber Creek Pub

Tyber Creek Pub


If you're looking for a perfectly poured Guinness, you’ve come to the right place. (That alone earns points from us.) Sitting amidst the action on South Blvd, Tyber Creek offers up all the right vibes for your day-long shamrock celebration. Whether you’re gathering for a game of cornhole, or saddling up to the bar upstairs, it’s a good possibility you’ll wander in here early for a beer and find yourself staying all night. 

Rí Rá Charlotte

Rí Rá

First Ward

Rí Rá is a crowd favorite for good reason: frequent live music, plenty of pints, and a menu consisting of creative takes on traditional Irish specialties. Both the antique statue of St. Patrick standing watch over the bar (he'll sure as hell see some shit on St. Paddy's Day), and the vintage interior, built from pieces dating back to the 1800s in Ireland, pack on the appeal of this pub. Then again, the extensive drink list doesn't hurt, either.

Sir Edmond Halley's Restaurant & Freehouse

Myers Park

Tucked back behind Park Road Shopping Center sits the epitome of an Irish escape: an intimate, old, cottage-like pub offering a laid-back atmosphere, the perfect local neighborhood hangout filled with plenty of familiar faces. Whether you’re starting or ending your day here (if it’s the former, no judgment), you can enjoy an authentic meal any day of the week, starting with the Irish potato cakes and ending with a Guinness chocolate pudding. Drop by to kick back with a cold one on the way home from work. Or, if you’re coming on St. Patrick’s Day, come early, because with the slew of Irish entertainment, the party is going to go all day.

Connolly's on Fifth


First Ward

OK, so we admit you’ll be doing more drinking at this Uptown establishment than eating, and that’s totally acceptable. From the day-drinking haven outside, to the late-night party scene inside (and sometimes vice versa), Connolly’s is a huge hit at all hours, and a perfect fit for the St. Paddy’s bash that lasts all week long. We give you full permission to do it up right in true Irish fashion.

The Workman's Friend

The Workman's Friend


A neighborhood pub can’t get much cozier than what you’ll discover inside The Workman’s Friend. It’s almost as if the whole place was plucked off the streets of Ireland's countryside and placed in Charlotte. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, complete with Irish coffees and shepherd's pie (and 15 different whiskey brands!) Outside is a garden patio awaiting warm-weather drinking all season long. And best of all, the pub is kicking off its first St. Patrick’s Day with a bang, featuring a special Irish food menu, bagpipers, and dancers from 10am on.

The Belfast Mill

Third Ward

Nestled within the Brevard Ct alleyway, this beloved hole in the wall is about as genuine and relaxed as you can get within the city surroundings. The team here at The Belfast Mill has got you covered, with darts, whiskey, and Guinness for the ultimate Irish experience every single day of the year -- especially Thursday. (Really, the bar is warning all partiers to train their livers before coming on St. Patrick's Day.)

Galway Hooker Irish Pub

Galway Hooker


Galway Hooker (named after Ireland’s Galway Bay) was originally built in Ireland, then transported piece by piece to its current location near Lake Norman. (If that doesn’t get you longing for an Irish anything, we don’t know what will.) Come hungry for traditional dishes like fish & chips, and make sure to check out the epic St. Paddy’s block party the bar puts on every year during its Week of Green.

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Courtney Matinata is a freelance writer for Thrillist, who is only about one-fifth Irish but is sure to always claim more. 

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1. Tyber Creek Pub 1933 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

This dimly-lit, brick walled pub in historic Southend delivers the perfect pour of Guinness and a patio if you want an escape into the sunshine. Games of corn hole are available as well as TV screens to catch whatever game happens to be on. Communal tables make the place suitable for groups, and live music is always playing on the weekends.

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2. Rí Rá Irish Pub 208 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (Uptown)

This inviting pub may be part of a chain, but it’s been a local go-to since opening in Charlotte in 1997. Built from salvaged parts of an 1800s Irish pub, the warmly lit two-story bar fills fast with the after-work crowd most evenings. Its upstairs outdoor patio and frequent live music make it a draw for Uptown revelers on weekend nights. And the recent addition of the sophisticated second-story Whiskey Room, featuring classic whiskey punches served in silver punch bowls, is only making it a hotter spot for imbibing.

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3. Sir Edmond Halley's Restaurant & Freehouse 4151 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209

This intimate English cottage-pub makes for the perfect neighborhood watering hole at any time of day. Whether you're stopping by for a pint after work or starting your Saturday with a round of shots, this bar is always open and packed with locals. There are nightly specials and events, from Trivia on Monday to half off wine bottles on Wednesday. Come to enjoy authentic Irish food as well, like potato cakes and bangers and mash.

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4. Connolly's On Fifth 115 E 5th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

This Uptown Irish bar is suitable both for outdoor day drinking and late night partying. With the largest patio in downtown Charlotte, you've got access to plenty of drinking space as well as a couple games of corn hole. There are outdoor TVs as well so you won't miss a play between tosses. Live bands keep the party going at night, and a crowd of locals makes you feel right at home the moment you walk in.

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5. The Workman's Friend 1531 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Plaza Midwood)

Named for a Flann O’Brien poem, this pub is an authentic Irish pocket in Charlotte, South Carolina. The warmly-lit local gathering place has 16 beers on tap (primarily Irish, of course), a solid selection of whiskey (also Irish), and a lengthy menu of traditional Irish fare -- think pork & beans or shepard's pie. But perhaps most importantly, the joint is staffed with chatty bartenders, all of whom have mastered the art of the Guinness pour (an Irish necessity). The place feels something like a public living room, with two fully-functional brick fire places -- one stationed beside the bar, and another tucked into the covered backyard patio area -- and there is more than enough Irish coffee to go around.

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6. The Belfast Mill 144 Brevard Ct, Charlotte, NC 28202

This hole-in-the-wall bar is the perfect comfortable, divey retreat when you just want a good pint of Guinness or a healthy whiskey pour. There's always a game of darts going on and the bartenders are friendly and welcoming. Don't expect any frills or tasting flights. This is just your average bar, and sometimes that is more than enough.

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7. Galway Hooker Irish Pub 17044 Kenton Dr, Huntersville, NC 28031

Getting its name from Ireland's Galway Bay, this place is about as authentic to the homeland as you can get. That's because it was literally built there, then taken piece by piece to its current home near Lake Norman. Stop in for authentic eats like a corned beef Reuben and shepherd's pie. There are also comedy nights and daily specials, from drink discounts to half priced appetizers.