Food & Drink

The Best Irish Bars in Washington, DC, According to Expats

Avoid the green beers and college kids.

On March 17, everyone’s Irish . . . and your best mate. Aside from drinking green beer and wearing “Kiss Me I’m Irish” paraphernalia, there are more authentic ways to celebrate the Emerald Isle’s food, drink, and culture any time of year. In DC and its surrounding areas, plenty of bars offer the complete Irish pub experience -- friendly atmosphere, classic food, and lots of live music. These are DC’s best authentic Irish pubs. Sláinte!

Duffy's Irish Pub

H St. NE
Most people know Duffy’s for its popular and incredible wings. But, just as the name suggests, it also happens to be a fantastic Irish bar. Find fusion dishes such as Irish nachos -- made with potato chips, bacon, corned beef, and melted cheese -- and more classic dishes like shepherd’s pie.

Irish Channel

Chinatown
Don’t expect too much in the way of atmosphere here, but there is a decent selection of Irish food options, live music, beer, and a patio. It’s a family-owned tavern set in a hotel, and is a good spot to pregame before concerts and sports events since it’s conveniently located near the Capital One Arena.

Kelly’s Irish Times

Union Station
There’s over 100 years of Irish history on the walls of this lively Irish pub -- unopened beer bottles from the 1800s, 1930s police patches from Dublin, and other random knick-knacks. Cold pints, lots of Irish whiskey, and a boisterous crowd are big draws.

The Dubliner

Capitol Hill
If it’s tradition and longevity you’re after, pay a visit to The Dubliner for the baked cod and haddock. It’s been open since 1974 and is so popular that President Barack Obama visited on St. Patricks’ Day in 2012! The menu of Irish and American grub is a perfect soak for the vast selection of Irish whiskeys. You can expect live music most nights, too.

Kirwans on the Wharf

The Wharf
Kirwan’s is a casual Irish pub that has waterside seating and a cozy indoor pub. Multiple bars with a range of whiskeys, beers, and plenty of Irish-inspired cocktails add to the fun.  The menu is a mix of Irish and American pub food, like bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie, which will keep you going through the night.

Irish Inn Glen Echo

Glen Echo, Maryland
At this neighborhood tavern, you can find all the old Irish standbys like fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash and a popular Guinness beef stew. Traditional Irish music and a patio in warmer weather make this a popular spot.

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant DC
Fado Irish Pub

Fado

Chinatown
For fans of Irish sports and music, Fado is a legendary destination. It serves the kind of food you’d find in any well-stocked Dublin pub: corned beef, rashers (that’s back bacon for newbies), bangers, and breakfast puddings made by farmers in Vermont. Stained glass, dark wood interiors, long bars, and shelves filled with spirits add to the traditional atmosphere. Stop by in the morning (weekends) for the Irish breakfast. A plate of two eggs, Irish sausages, rashers, black-and-white pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, and Guinness Cheddar bread will leave you full well into the afternoon, especially with a glass of Magners cider.

The Celtic House

Arlington, Virginia
The Celtic House is a classic Irish pub -- old-school setting with a wooden bar that serves Irish fare. Order the beef and Guinness stew, a belly-filling dish of Angus beef, carrots, celery, and onions, all served over mashed potatoes. It tastes best when paired with, you guessed it, a pint of Guinness.

Ireland’s Four Provinces

Falls Church, Virginia
A true gem for all things Irish, this spot serves up authentic Emerald Isle fare including a popular Irish breakfast fry. The bar is popular for its expansive Sunday brunch of Irish classics and more, and is known for its incredibly friendly service. Live music is also featured on the weekends.

Daniel O'Connells
Daniel O'Connells

Daniel O’Connell’s

Alexandria, Virginia
Located in a 19th-century building, Daniel O’Connell’s is filled with antiques and bric-a-brac that make the place look straight out of Ireland. The live music is always superb, as is the food -- order the lamb stew or chicken pot pie with a Smithwick’s and you’ll be set.

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Aparna Krishnamoorthy is a freelance food and travel writer based in Washington DC. Always willing to eat biryani, pizza, fried chicken, and chocolate cake. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more dining and wanderlust adventures.
Summer Whitford is a food, drink, and travel writer who’s never met a potato, Irish whiskey, or person she didn't like (OK, maybe that last one's an exaggeration). Find her on Instagram @thefoodandwinediva and catch all her work here.