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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 entrées don't hurt either.
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.
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.
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.
1. Mulleady's Irish Pub3055 21st Ave W, Seattle
2. Conor Byrne Pub5140 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle
3. Murphy's Pub1928 N 45th St, Seattle
4. Madrona Arms1138 34th Ave, Seattle
5. Owl N' Thistle808 Post Ave, Seattle
6. Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub1916 Post Alley, Seattle
7. Celtic Swell2722 Alki Ave SW, Seattle
8. T. S. McHugh's21 Mercer St, Seattle
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perched above Pike Place Market in Post Alley, Kells is everything you’d expect from an Irish pub. The atmosphere is inviting, cozy, and haunted by the ghosts of its previous tenant -- Butterworth & Sons mortuary. (Don’t worry, the bar is stocked with holy water to ward off said ghosts.) It’s also stocked with Bycastle sausage rolls, Shepherd’s pies, and Limerick ham sandwiches. Stop by for happy hour, to catch a soccer game, or to down a pint Guinness or three and witness the paranormal activity first-hand.
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.
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.