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Irish Pubs in San Francisco

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You can't go too many blocks in San Francisco without running into an Irish pub. The Irish pubs on this list represent a cross section of SF neighborhoods. Most bars in San Francisco pack a crowd on weekends, so keep that in mind when venturing out for a drink on Friday or Saturday.

In March, see more about the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade & Celebration.

1. The Irish Bank

Central to Union Square - Financial District

The interior of the Irish Bank is homey, with antiques, photographs, and a comfortable mix of bar stools and wooden tables. It's a favorite stop for many after work, but I enjoy dropping in later on a weekday evening, when an interesting mix populates the place. Bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly. When sitting in the outdoor patio, which runs the length of Mark Lane, you can almost convince yourself you're sipping a pint on the streets of Dublin.

The Irish Bank makes one of my favorite Irish coffees -- along with the Buena Vista and O'Reilly's. The brown sugar is the key.

See Irish Bank on a Map
10 Mark Lane (at Bush Street)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: (415) 788-7152

2. O'Reilly's Irish Pub & Restaurant

North Beach

A North Beach favorite when you're craving a neighborhood joint and a fine pint of Guinness. O’Reilly’s is a cozy escape from the rain, when warmth and whiskey are on the brain. You can sit at the mahogany bar, or settle at a table with a plate of comfort food. The menu ranges from oysters to burgers to cottage pie.

See O'Reilly's on a Map
622 Green Street (at Columbus & Stockton)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Telephone: (415) 989-6222

3. Buena Vista Cafe

Fisherman’s Wharf - Ghirardelli Square

The Buena Vista Café makes the list for its Irish Coffee, but it's not your traditional Irish Pub. It's a tourist draw for sure. For me, it's still a favorite stop to take the chill off a cold waterfront day when touring around with visitors.

The first U.S. glass of Irish Coffee was mixed at the Buena Vista in 1952, based on a recipe from Shannon Airport in Ireland. They still whip up a literal assembly line of consistent and delicious Irish Coffees. In 2006, they changed the recipe slightly by substituting Tullamore Dew whiskey for the Buena Vista blend they'd used for many years.

See Buena Vista on a Map
2765 Hyde Street (at Beach)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Telephone: (415) 989-6222

4. O'Neill's Irish Pub

SoMa/South of Market & Ghirardelli Square (Fisherman's Wharf)

The first O'Neill's location in San Francisco is a stone's throw away from AT&T Park, making it a pre and post sports haven as well as an Irish pub. The latest incarnation opened in late 2007 at Ghirardelli Square.

This is Dublin native Oein O'Neill's third Bay Area pub (the first is in San Mateo). The ambiance at the SoMa location is wooden and warm, and sports crowds aside, it's also a decent place to grab some fish and chips.

The Ghirardelli location is more glass and modern, and doesn't have quite the warm pub feel as the SoMa location.

See O'Neill's on a Map
SoMa Location:747 Third Street - near AT&T Park
Fisherman's Wharf Location: In Ghirardelli Square
(415) 777-1177

5. Durty Nelly's

Outer Sunset

The big hit of Durty Nelly’s is the fireplace . . . a warm reprieve from some of the Sunset’s cold and foggy days. Durty Nelly’s serves up Jameson and shepherd’s pie to Irish expats and San Francisco locals. It can get crazy on the weekends with live music and crowds.

See Durty Nelly's on a Map
2328 Irving Street (at 24th)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Telephone: (415) 664-2555

6. Little Shamrock

Inner Sunset

The Little Shamrock deserves mention since it's one of San Francisco's two oldest bars, the oldest being the Saloon in North Beach. Entering the pub feels like coming home to the living room, even if the room is, well, lived in. You'll find clusters of sofas with game tables and a hearth. The bar is friendly with a good selection of Irish whiskey and Guinness on tap . . . of course.

The pedestrian access is easy from the 9th Avenue entrance to Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the de Young Museum.

See Little Shamrock on a Map
807 Lincoln Way (at 9th)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Telephone: (415) 661-0060

7. The Blarney Stone

Outer Richmond

The Blarney Stone is a favorite neighborhood pub, but it's also worth a trip to the Richmond -- or a detour and a stop if you're out and about at the beaches or parks. Bartenders are Irish and they know their stouts and whiskeys. It is popular . . . it does get crowded . . . but that describes just about every good spot in San Francisco. The Blarney Stone also has an Irish Bakery -- John Campbell's Irish Bakery -- sending out Irish soda bread and scones from the Blarney kitchen.

See Blarney Stone on a Map
5625 Geary Boulevard (at 20th)
San Francisco, CA 94121
Telephone: (415) 386-9914

8. The Plough and the Stars

Richmond

The Plough and Stars gets consistently high marks for its Irish music and its Guinness. The pub has a full entertainment calendar, with performances most nights but not Mondays. It’s a laid back pub, although you might want to avoid weekends if crowds aren’t your thing.

See Plough and Stars on a Map
116 Clement (at 2nd)
San Francisco, CA 94118
Telephone: (415) 751-1122

9. Ireland's 32

Inner Richmond

Ireland's 32 refers to the 32 counties of a politically United Ireland. The paraphernalia on the walls speaks of the pub's political leanings. Ireland's 32 also serves as as showcase for live music. The venue helped launch the career of Zoo Station, a Bay Area U2 tribute band.

The regular band performances tend to skew the crowd a bit young, but it's also a neighborhood pub and more conducive to leisurely Guinness during less populated hours.

See Ireland's 32 on a Map
3920 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94118
Telephone: (415) 386-6173

10. Martin Mack's

The Haight

Martin Mack's is a restaurant and bar -- and a place to duck in and away the scene that is Haight Street. Catch a football game, mingle with expats, and have a beer. The place itself can feel a little musty, but the atmosphere is friendly and the Haight location makes it a good stop on any crawl.

See Martin Mack's on a Map
1568 Haight Street (between Ashbury & Clayton)
San Francisco, CA 94117
Telephone: (415) 864-0124

11. Phoenix Irish Bar & Gathering House

Mission

The Phoenix gets good marks for its pub food and for its Mission ambiance. The menu isn't entirely Irish but they do serve an Irish breakfast, a lamb pot pie, and fish and chips. The crowd is a diverse mix, and the place is unpretentious with a local Mission feel. The Phoenix also gives you a buck off on happy-hour pints.

See Phoenix Irish Bar on a Map
811 Valencia Street (at 19th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 695-1811

12. Johnny Foley's

Union Square

Johnny Foley’s is in the heart of tourist country, so the patrons are a mix of locals, expats and visitors. It's not the pub to visit if you're looking for a local's secret. It is Union Square, after all. That does, however, make it a good spot for people watching. Foley’s is also a short walk from Union Square shopping, which is convenient for getting out of the fray, resting the feet and enjoying a beer. Some of the live music acts in the evenings are too loud for conversation, and weekends are packed -- so not necessarily the best time to to catch up over a pint.

See Johnny Foley's on a Map
243 O'Farrell Street (between Mason and Powell)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 954-0777

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