Pittsburgh is one of the most Irish cities in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many residents can trace their lineage back to Irish immigrants seeking to escape the Great Potato Famine in the nineteenth century when Pittsburgh was a booming industrial town. We’ve assembled a list of our favorite Irish pubs in Pittsburgh, so you can celebrate the culture of the Emerald Isle. Sláinte.
Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle has been a bastion of Irish culture in Pittsburgh since it was established in 1992. Their menu features traditional dishes such as Shepherd’s Pie and Fish n’ Chips. Come to the weekly ceili on Tuesday evening, hosted by the Pittsburgh Ceili Club at 8 p.m. This was my first Irish ceili and the regulars were welcoming and reassuring. A patient woman stood beside the stage and called out the dance instructions as we whirled and stepped and kicked across the checkered linoleum floor. Check Facebook for a schedule of live music and other upcoming events.
Monterey Pub advertises itself as “a little piece of Ireland in the Rust Belt of America.” When I arrived at midday on a Sunday, a few families occupied wooden booths for brunch and several patrons dotted the penny-top bar. There was a selection of draught beers including two local IPAs and old favorites like Smithicks and Guinness, as well as a cocktail menu featuring bright spring flavors. For brunch, I enjoyed a sneaky amazing breakfast sandwich and crispy curly fries. The weather was unseasonal for spring and we all complained to each other about the cycles of falling hail outside the front window. In Pittsburgh, you might never know what to expect with the weather, but in the Mexican War Streets, you can always expect Irish comforts at Monterey Pub.
Check Instagram for the pub schedule of sports games, including Pittsburgh sports as well as European soccer.
Kelly’s Korner Bar
Swing by Kelly’s Korner for no-frills and friendly service. The bar is tucked away in the residential slopes between Butler and Penn, geographically signaling the departure from the hip establishments that have cropped up along Butler Street in recent years. Step into the white halo of the Kelly’s Korner sign. There is a decent selection of bottles and cans in the fridge at the back, and the bar offers some cocktails and draught beers. Everyone seems to know each other, and the bartender greets me with a familiar “hun.” Behind the bar is a collection of Irish-themed tchotchkes, including a ceramic painted leprechaun, a doll with orange hair and a shamrock-printed apron, a bright green Bud Light bottle and a Christmas ornament decorated with Irish dancers. Along the wall are framed posters depicting collages of Ireland’s pubs. The bar is cash only and there is an ATM available on site.
McFadden’s during a Steelers game feels a lot like being in Temple Bar for the Six Nations Rugby. It is packed with bodies all dressed in the team colors. Everyone vibrates with nervous tension. Wins are celebrated (sometimes with dancing on the bar). McFadden’s is conveniently located just steps away from PNC Park, Heinz Field and Stage AE.
Look for the emerald green building, with the green awning and the billowing Irish flag. In serif block letters across the door of the front entrance reads “céad míle fáilte” – “a hundred thousand welcomes.” Riley’s Pour House is known throughout the city for its Reuben, but they also offer traditional Irish classics and pub fare, as well as Sunday brunch. They have an inviting outdoor patio and frequently host live music.