Food & Drink

The Best Irish Bars in Houston

Published On 03/16/2016 Published On 03/16/2016

St. Patrick’s Day is just a wee bit away. Even if you’re not a redhead with the last name O’Sullivan, chances are you’ll be celebrating like you are one. But you don’t have to do so at a faux-Irish pub filled with dudes wearing fake beards and Green Man suits. You can do it at an authentic Irish pub filled with dudes wearing fake beards and Green Man suits. Like one of these 10 fine Irish boozers in Houston.

McElroy's Pub/Shay McElroy's Pub

Upper Kirby/Downtown
With handsome leather furnishings from the Old Capital Club of the original Rice Hotel, this duo of Irish-owned and -operated bars is a throwback to nicer pubs in Dublin. Do they have corned beef Reubens the size of Texas in Dublin? Whatever. Hit the quaint McElroy’s for dart tourneys, pints of Guinness, and a totally chill outdoor beer garden; or head to downtown’s Shay McElroy’s to cozy up with whiskey in a private “snug” and sip draughts at the rich, intricate, 19th-century bar shipped straight from the motherland itself.

Rusty Andrews

McGonigel's Mucky Duck

Upper Kirby

50% live music venue, 50% Irish pub, 150% guaranteed good time... we’re pretty sure that math is right. Hit the Mucky Duck to quench your thirst with the best pour in Houston (it has a Guinness trophy to prove it) while you take down Welsh rarebit, Irish beef stew, and fried gulf shrimp tacos -- which, admittedly, aren’t Irish at all. But this is Houston. What did you expect?  

Kenneally's Irish Pub

River Oaks

Perfect pours and Chicago-style thin crust bar pies are the name of the game at this real-deal pub, which has been serving loyal patrons all of the above since 1983. The stellar Irish whiskey runs the gamut, from Bushmills Black Bush to Tullamore Dew 10 Years Old single malt. You may need a swig or two to keep up with the St. Paddy’s Day crowd. The all-day Irish rager will host live rock, bagpipers, step dancers, and traditional eats like corned beef and Guinness bread.

Pimlico Irish Pub

Pimlico Irish Pub


You may not think a pub across from a Whole Foods will give you any kind of legitimate Irish experience. But you’d be wrong, fella. This one’s owned by a dude from Dublin, who named the bar after his father’s '70s era Dublin public house. As such, you’ll find one of the creamiest pours of Guinness, plus proper Irish bar snacks, a roster of the finest Irish whiskey, and a steady European crowd amping up the night’s shenanigans.

Molly's Pub


Dark, dingy, and narrow, this Downtown watering hole is everything an Irish pub should be. The crowd is super-welcoming -- even more so after a few pints. But perhaps the coolest part is that it’s rumored to be haunted by a lady ghost who chills in the bathroom. The building dates back to 1890, so it’s not entirely outside the realm of reality, right? RIGHT?

The Harp

The Harp

Montrose/Museum District

If Dublin and Houston had a baby, it’d be this ramshackle neighborhood bar & patio that’s equal parts local and Irish. It may not be pretty, but with traditional Celtic music, a friendly pack of regulars, and things like crawfish boils, trivia night, and an all-out St. Paddy’s Day bash, it never fails to deliver a pretty good time.



Open since 1965, this Boston/Ireland/Houston hybrid hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parties in town. It also has its own damn army. Cleverly named GRIFF’S ARMY, the crew meets at the dive to get the party started before taking a party bus to major events, from Rockets and Astros games to the Texas Renaissance Festival and Mardi Gras. If that much dedication to the pregame isn’t Irish, we don’t know what is.

The Gooses Acre Irish Pub

The Goose's Acre

The Woodlands

What’s better than an Irish pub whose building materials are straight-up shipped over from a century-old pub in Ireland? An Irish pub whose materials are straight-up shipped over from a century-old pub in Ireland that you can bring Branduff McGrady and Addergoole to. Sick dog names, by the way. While the bistro side of things may not be the most authentically Irish (there’s mozzy sticks and “Irish nachos”), you can still get a perfect pour of the black stuff that will transport you right over to the Emerald Isle.

The Gorgeous Gael

Rice Village

Transport yourself back to the 1930s, when Irish-born heavyweight boxer Jack Doyle crossed the Atlantic to make a name for himself as a Hollywood actor. This classy spot brings a charming old-world vibe to the traditional Irish pub through sophisticated decor, an all-Irish management team, and a solid lineup of tinctures, from Irish whiskey and Scotch to craft beers by the bottle and tap. Because if there’s one thing all good Irishmen know, it’s good booze.

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston writer who will most definitely be wearing a fake beard and Green Man suit this St. Paddy’s Day. Hit her up for a blather @BrookeViggiano.

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1. McGonigel's Mucky Duck 2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098

If you are a lover of Irish pubs and live music, McGonigel's Mucky Duck is the place for you. Enjoy a pint of Guinness with one of their delicious and authentically Irish menu items, like Irish beef stew, or one of their less Irish options, like shrimp tacos. We think that this place is one of the best Irish bars in Houston.

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2. Pimlico Irish Pub 810 Waugh Dr Ste 100, Houston, TX 77019

Even though you'll find this bar directly across from a Whole Foods, there is not a single bar in Houston that offer a more authentic Irish experience than Pimlico Irish Pub. Owned by a Dublin native, you can enjoy proper Guinness pours, Irish bar snacks, and the finest Irish whiskies here. We are convinced that Pimlico is one of the best Irish bars in Houston.

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3. Molly's Pub 509 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Molly's Pub may be an Irish dive bar, but it is one of the best dive bars in the city. The crowds are usually friendly, and there is even a rumor that the bathroom is haunted by a ghost. Not something you'd expect from an Irish dive bar, but it is part of what gives Molly's it's charm.

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4. McElroy's Pub 3607 S Sandman St, Houston, TX 77098

This small Irish pub is a favorite hang out spot for Houston locals. Here you can participate in dart tournaments, order pints of Guinness, and relax in their outdoor beer garden. Walking into McElroy's feels like walking into a Dublin pub, without having to step near an airport.

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5. Shay McElroy's Irish Pub 909 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002

Shay McElroy's is the perfect place to go if you are looking for an authentic Irish experience. Here you will find only the best Irish whiskies and beers, as well as a 19th century bar that came straight from Ireland. We highly recommend Shay's to anyone that is looking enjoy a pint of Guinness without the typical Irish bar rowdiness.

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6. Kenneally's Irish Pub 2111 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77019

A Houston establishment for over 30 years, Irish Pub Kenneally's is actually known for their thin-crust pizza. But don't worry if you come here for a drink; they have plenty of beer, wine and liquor options as well. No bar in Houston celebrate St. Patrick's day quite like Keanneally's.

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7. The Harp 1625 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77006

With such a huge patio, it's a good thing Houston is warm all year round. With a local, neighborhood feel, this Irish pub is no-nonsense and even offers bi-weekly grill nights. We think that The Harp is one of the best Irish bars in Houston, and we highly recommend that you stop by.

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8. Griff's 3416 Roseland St, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

Griff's is Houston's oldest sports bar, opened in 1965, but its party scene is hot as ever. There is always something to celebrate or a game to watch at Griff's, so if you are looking for a quiet night out, this is not the place for you. Regardless, this is still one of the best bars in Houston.

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9. The Goose's Acre 21 Waterway Ave #140, The Woodlands, TX 77380

There are plenty of cool things about The Goose's Acre. The entire bar was built from materials shipped straight from Ireland, and you can bring your dog into the bar with you. Their menu may not be the most authentically Irish, but the food is good and the atmosphere is fun and inviting.

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10. The Gorgeous Gael 5555 Morningside Dr Ste 100, Houston, TX 77005

The Gorgeous Gael combines the old-world vibe of an authentic Irish bar with sophisticated decor to create one of Houston's best Irish bars. Here you can enjoy Irish scotches and whiskies, as well as craft beers by the bottle and on tap. If you are look for a more upscale Irish drinking experience, be sure to stop by The Gorgeous Gael.