Call it luck, but Cleveland is rich in great Irish bars. From old-school dives to rowdy nights of live Irish music, it's where you don’t have to wear green to drink the night away. While everyone claims to be a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, all you have to do at these watering holes is pour yourself another Guinness. There may be no rolling hills in Cleveland proper, but there is plenty of beer. So hoist a pint to some of Cleveland’s best with our guide to the Irish pubs that will be more than happy to top off your whiskey.
Ask anyone parading through the Downtown streets on St. Paddy’s Day which Irish bar they’ll be celebrating at, and they’re likely to say Flannery’s. This party destination wears its Irish pride year-round. At the heart of East 4th St's foodie scene, this wood-paneled pub is spacious and laid-back, with huge windows that offer a glimpse of the bustling brick road outside. There are plenty of Irish-inspired snacks on hand, with many more slated for this year.
In the sea of bars that is Lakewood (have we mentioned how much we love Lakewood?), Merry Arts Pub has stood the test of time -- it’s the oldest watering hole in the entire city. It's also known for great tacos. That may not be Irish, but is anyone really complaining?
There’s no greater Irish love story in Cleveland than the one behind PJ McIntyre's. Owner Patrick Campbell and his wife met at auditions for bare-chested Irish dancing sensation Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance and performed together in Vegas; classic bad boy meets good girl. Fast-forward, and Campbell now runs the gem of West Park. Its Stackstone fireplace is like ones used to heat homes in Ireland. And driving by the Kamm’s Corner strip, you would never know there’s a dance studio a floor above sending its students to the world championships.
Rowdy banter and stories traded back and forth are synonymous with swiveling in the barber’s chair. The same can be said for ponying up to a bar stool at your favorite neighborhood pub. Maybe that’s why this Rocky River nook combines the best of both worlds. Guinness is on tap, and corned beef sandwiches are (of course) on hand, at this tiny pub across from the barber shop.
This quaint respite is classically Irish. With a welcoming bar and authentic fare, including shepherd's pie, Greenisland is the right place for a date night, with Irish music playing in the background. This is a neighborhood bar through and through, and a West Side hidden gem, so expect to see a sea of regulars being called by name.
It could be the view, the patio, or the six different kinds of boxty that make The Harp an Irish favorite. Irish coffees, toddies, and brews are plentiful here, and the menu has classic hearty favorites like shepherd’s pie and colcannon. It may be cozy, but The Harp also boasts a spirited crowd. That’s all helped along, in part, by the regular live Irish music.
This Irish hideaway is the gem of the Cedar Lee arts district. Snugly tucked away in the strip, Parnell's is small, narrow, and low-lit. It’s the kind of intimate place where everyone knows each other’s name because they're in such tight quarters and have no other option. While it has its share of regulars, Parnell's is a perfect place to duck into before or after a show at the arthouse cinema, Cedar Lee Theatre, right next door.
Owner John Sullivan blocks out two weeks every year to travel to Ireland with friends in the Irish band The New Barleycorn. It’s uncertain whether he’s there for tipsy singalongs to “Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?” and “The Hills of Connemara,” or to soak in the culture, but we’re going to guess that both bring a healthy dose of authenticity back to the rolling hills of... Cleveland.
When you have Guinness Gold-certified status bragging rights, you have a lot to live up to. Luckily, this nook has mastered more than the perfect stout pour. It's a departure from the rowdy Dublin-style bars, instead taking its cues from homey rural pubs. But it also can keep up with the high-octane Willoughby weekend scene. Expect loud, live Irish music.
If ever you could call a bar in the very middle of Downtown off the beaten path, it would be this hidden-in-plain-sight dive. A straightforward place serving strong drinks, this no-nonsense bar eschews the flashy foodie world of its surroundings in favor of the traditional. There’s nothing bougie here, just classic pints in compact quarters.
We’re not condoning mixing pints of Guinness with dart-throwing, but we’re not not telling you this is the place to do it. Now into its third decade of slinging Guinness (one of the first bars in Cleveland to do so), this wall-to-wall-green pub is casual and easygoing. If the iconic shamrock on the sign outdoors doesn’t give you an idea of what you’re in for, the Irish music blaring from the analog jukebox surely will.
Knock one back for the city’s oldest Irish pub, where the antique exposed brick transports you to the old-fashioned pubs of Ireland. It’s hard not to feel Irish when the walls and interior are decked out in green everything. But don’t think The Flat Iron is stuck in the past: the shepherd’s pie is made with fresh, grass-fed lamb straight from the historic West Side Market. If you need something to soak up the Guinness, portions are heaping.
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Nikki Delamotte is a Cleveland-based freelancer who has marched in Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, which makes her at least honorary Irish. Follow her pub-filled adventures on Twitter at @nikkidelamotte.
1. Flannery's Pub323 Prospect Ave E, Cleveland
2. Merry Arts Pub & Grille15607 Detroit Ave, Lakewood
3. PJ McIntyre's Irish Pub17119 Lorain Ave, Cleveland
4. The Irish Barber & Corner Pub19500 Center Ridge Rd, Rocky River
5. Greenisland Irish Pub & Restaurant25517 Eaton Way, Bay Village
6. The Harp4408 Detroit Ave, Cleveland
7. Parnell's Pub2167 Lee Rd, Cleveland Hts
8. Sully's Irish Pub117 W Liberty St, Medina
9. Mullarkey's Irish Pub4110 Erie St, Willoughby
10. Moriarty's Pub1912 E 6th St, Cleveland
11. Pride Of Erin12228 Lorain Ave, Cleveland
12. Flat Iron Cafe1114 Center St, Cleveland
Flannery’s has been a Cleveland favorite for decades because of its delieicous Irish-inspired comfort food, friendly service and beer, beer and more beer. Servings are hearty and prices are reasonable. Its friendly atmosphere and attentive service makes it a great spot to catch a game or have a casual night out.
This historic spot was opened during the Great Depressive. The story goes that opener Art Carver was always happy, even in the worst of times, so his pals dubbed the joint Merry Art’s. Today, MA runs around its happy hour from noon until 7pm, offering some of the best happy hour deals in Cleveland. Drinks and cheap eats bring the fun, merry spirit that’s lasted for decades.
PJ’s is serving up pub grub like Haddock fish and chips, Irish Boxty and all-day breakfast alongside of an extensive beer list. Check in for their weekly specials and events, including adult Irish dance lessons, trivia nights, craft beer Thursdays, and half-priced whiskey Wednesdays. This cheery neighborhood joint is great for a causal afternoon or fun night out.
When The Irish Barber expanded, it added an Irish Pub for customers to enjoy a tall cold one before or after (and hopefully not during) a haircut. You’ll feel like one of the gang here, watching sports on big screen TVs and throwing back a few rounds. But if you’re growing out your locks, The Corner Pub is still a great spot to hang with friends.
The intimate spot is brick-lined space with cozy booths and small bar. The menu offers the menu offers seafood, American and Irish cuisine. Greenland isn’t a new-gem Irish spots—the food is mostly authentic recipes, done well. The entrees are filling, and you could practically make a meal of the hearty appetizers.
Located in Ohio City, this pub features a menu of traditional Irish & American fare. On almost any night you can experience live music or community events, but the real draw to this joint is the lake views. The Harp’s lively crowd and attentive service makes for a fun, inviting atmosphere.
This joint is one of the best places in town to grab a cold one and unwind with friends. Parnell’s offers traditional beer tables and pub food done right. The long, narrow and dark ambiance makes you feel like you’re in a real, old-time speakeasy. But after nearly two decades of serving Cleveland, Parnell’s has remained timeless.
Sully’s is a no-frills, good food dive known for draft brews and Irish-American pub grub. Try the Guinness cheese dip, homemade warm dip infused with Guinness draught and served with boxty potatoes. Check out their live shows, too, including Celtic music performances.
Malarkey’s is an authentic Irish-American pub located in the quaint downtown of Willoughby. The menu offers your classic favorites like corned beef and cabbage meal as well as an extensive beer selection. There’s often live Irish entertainment and weekly drink deals (the best is “Twosdays”— $2 flavored pinnacle drinks and $Miller Lite draft pints). You’ll feel right at home in this community-centered restaurant.
Come 5:00, downtown workers flock to this local pub for nothing more than cheap drinks served by a grizzled, friendly bartender. In the absence of contemporary pub mainstays such as food, games, and flat screen TV’s, Moriarty’s does one thing and does it well: quenching their customers’ thirst for very little money.
Back in 1999, Guinness Beer Company gave Irish bars large digital clocks that would count down the millennium. Afterwards, Pride of Erin’s owner tinkered with their clock so that now it counts down to St. Patrick’s Day. Pride of Erin is known for its pre-St. Patty’s day celebration where a crowd gathers on March 16th to watch the timer strike zero and a band play live. But every other night is just as fun at this neighborhood dive.
FI is known for serving delicious wings alongside traditional Irish fare, and for being Cleveland’s oldest Irish Pub (dating all the way back to 1910). Choose from hot, mild, Teriyaki, garlic parmesan wings, but trust us, you’ll want the one that’s not on the menu: ask for the Iron house sauce, only known through word-of-mouth (or in our case, word-of-screen).