Food & Drink

Seattle's Best Irish Pubs

Published On 03/15/2016 Published On 03/15/2016
Mulleady's Pub Irish bar in Seattle
Mulleady's

Seattle's not exactly known for its Irish population. But, like other cities, it still has dozens of Irish pubs (strangely, the first one didn't open until 1992). Meanwhile, Ballard's famous influx of immigrants from Europe's far north has led to, like, four measly Scandinavian bars. What does all this mean, say, sociologically? Probably something. Practically? It means you could use this list of the best Irish bars and pubs in Seattle to settle in with a Guinness and celebrate St. Paddy's Day.

Mulleady's Pub

Magnolia

The most food-focused of Seattle’s Irish joints, this gleaming two-level pub on a hillside overlooking Interbay boasts a delicious list of Irish whiskeys complemented by a creative collection of cocktails, including the bourbon/apple brandy/cinnamon syrup Fall Harvest, and a Scotch/fernet combination called Silence Falls. Its menu is loaded with bites way better than classic pub food, and is highlighted by confit pork belly with pickled beets & horseradish, the Plan B Burger with grass-fed beef, tomato jam, grilled onions, a fried egg, and Beecher's Flagship on a brioche bun, and mains like boneless braised lamb served with root vegetables and warm crusty bread.

Connor Byrne

Conor Byrne

Ballard

There's been a bar in this long, high-ceilinged space on the cobblestones of Ballard Ave for more than 100 years. But thanks in part to an update a handful of years ago, CB isn't the least bit dingy. Instead, the brick-laden and polished wood-heavy spot feels comfortable, like an old sweater -- albeit an old sweater in which you can pound Jameson and ginger cocktails, and a combination of Irish and local beers.

Murphy's Pub

Murphy's Pub

Wallingford

Reopened after a brief hiatus last year, Seattle's oldest Irish pub has cleaned itself up, added things like brunch and more live music, and stayed true to its hard-drinking history (it was the first bar in Seattle to put microbrews on tap). It has daily happy hour deals on the usual Irish drinks, and will pair them with solid old country eats like stout beef stew and smoked pork chops.

Madrona Arms

Madrona Arms

Madrona

The latest addition to the mini Irish empire helmed by the guy behind Finn MacCool's, McGilvra's, and The Chieftain, MA took the place of the similarly named Eatery & Alehouse late last year. And while its three sister spots might all be better St. Paddy's Day destinations, this fireplace-equipped establishment is a solid everyday hang, thanks to a laid-back atmosphere and a menu featuring Irish nachos (made w/ tater tots), a whiskey crab soup, and classics like shepherd's pie and bangers & mash.

Owl 'n Thistle

Owl N' Thistle

Pioneer Square

It shares a building with Fado's (another fairly solid Irish pub), but the quintessentially Seattle Owl gets the nod thanks to its Post Alley location, basement setting, and livelier atmosphere. Of course, a four-hour daily happy hour, an eats menu highlighted by "Irish poutine," and all the usual entrĂ©es don't hurt either.

Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub

Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub

Downtown

Seattle's most well-known (and often most obnoxious) Irish pub, Kells can't be left off our list. It serves as the city's unofficial St. Paddy's Day HQ, and boasts an admittedly spectacular location that opens onto First Ave upstairs, and to Post Alley from the always boisterous basement. It also features a unique pasty menu that includes a corned beef option with shredded cabbage & Swiss cheese topped with a stone-ground mustard sauce, and a Ballycastle sausage roll.

Flickr/Peter Woodman

Celtic Swell

Alki Point

Here’s what you’re getting with Swell: a gritty, authentic Irish pub with surprisingly good food (the St. Patrick's Day menu features bangers & mash, shepherd's pie, and hand-cut curry fries) located right on Seattle's best beach. There’s no way this wouldn’t be on our list.

Norelle Done for Marketeering Group

T.S. McHugh's

Queen Anne

Famous for its soda bread (and its location in the meat market on lower Queen Anne), this sprawling space boasts 21 local and Irish brews on tap, a dozen Irish whiskeys, and what it claims is Seattle's best Irish coffee. It’s a concoction which starts with Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, a muddled pure cane sugar, and freshly brewed, locally roasted Caffè Appassionato coffee, and is finished with cream that’s been lightly whipped.

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Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor who mostly goes to Irish pubs to watch English soccer -- and eat lots and lots of fried food.

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1. Mulleady's Irish Pub 3055 21st Ave W, Seattle, WA 98199 (Magnolia)

This two-level Seattle pub is a favorite spot for locals to grab a pint of Guinness. If Guinness isn't your style, you can also find a list of Irish whiskies and creative cocktails here. Their food menu is a complete upgrade from typical bar fare featuring delicious small plates and burgers. We think that Mulleady's Irish but is one of the best bars in Seattle.

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2. Conor Byrne Pub 5140 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Ballard)

As far as we are concerned, Conor Byrne pub is one of the best and most beautiful Irish pubs in Seattle. Here you can enjoy Irish and local beers, creative cocktails, and a cozy interior that has been serving customers for over 100 years.

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3. Murphy's Pub 1928 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 (Wallingford)

Murphy's pub is the oldest Irish pub in Seattle, and after a brief refurbishment last year, it has never looked better. Now you can not only come here for a pint of Guinness, but a delicious brunch menu, live music, and awesome happy hour deals.

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4. Madrona Arms 1138 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 (Madrona)

There are few Irish bars in Seattle that can compare to Madrona Arms. Besides the fact that you can drink by a fireplace, you can enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and a menu featuring unique items like Irish nachos and more traditional items like shepherd's pie.

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5. Owl N' Thistle 808 Post Ave, Seattle, WA 98104 (Pioneer Square)

Owl 'n Thistle is one of the best Irish pubs in Seattle thanks to their new location and lively atmosphere. We are huge fans of their happy hour specials menu consisting of unique eats like the "Irish Poutine." If you're in the area, we highly recommend stopping by Owl 'n Thistle for a pint of Guinness.

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6. Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub 1916 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101 (Downtown)

Out of all the Irish pubs in Seattle, Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub is by far one of the best. It is the unofficial St. Patrick's Day headquarters for Seattle, and you can find delicious food options on their menu like the Ballycastle sausage roll or corned beef.

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7. Celtic Swell 2722 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 (West Seattle)

If the location isn't enough to get you there -- it's right in front of the beach and in the middle of all the shopping (!) -- then maybe the crazy delicious food will. Be sure to get a couple of pints too, after all this is an Irish pub.

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8. T. S. McHugh's 21 Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98109 (Queen Anne)

Known for their soda bread, T. S. McHugh's is one of the best Irish bars in Seattle. You can also get 21 different Irish and local brews, some Irish whiskies, and some of the best Irish coffee in the city. If you are looking for an authentic Irish night out, head over to T. S. McHugh's.

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