The 30 Best Pubs Outside of Ireland (and America)

“Pubs: The Official Sunblock of Ireland” is a popular phrase displayed across touristy t-shirts. They have a distinct allure that is unmatchable by ordinary bars.

Click here for the Best Pubs Outside of Ireland (and America)

With St. Patrick’s Day here, people far and wide are clamoring to find out what to do — which usually boils down to where to drink. But just as couples shouldn’t need Valentine’s Day to shower their loved ones with affection, bar-goers shouldn’t need St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy the culture and charm of a good old fashioned Irish pub. You also don’t need to fly out to the Emerald Isle just to get a satisfying pub experience. These gems are hidden in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and other parts of Europe. While there are many excellent and authentic Irish pubs in America, we kept our focus on less familiar countries.

So what sets Irish pubs apart from their cocktail lounge competition? Drunken brawls, noisy settings, and business names starting with an “O’-something” come to mind, but those assumptions are sadly mistaken. There are factors galore that set Irish pubs on a whole other level, from a genuine respect for the technique of a properly poured (or, rather, "pulled") Guinness to endless beer and whiskey lists to meat-and-potatoes pub food that’s heavy enough to soak up as many rounds as you can handle. Above all, the heart and soul of the best Irish pubs is no secret: it’s all about good conversation — with the barmen pouring your drinks or the surrounding strangers who could end up becoming friends.

We decided upon the bars on this list in few ways. First, we consulted reviews of local magazines, such as Time Out London, and reviews on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Then, we consulted social networking group Irish Abroad, which connects Irish expats around the world, for their opinions on noteworthy Irish pubs on six continents. Age and history are highly valued on this list, but so is inventiveness.

Pubs are more than just bars: they are community centers and gathering places. The term itself is short for public house. So pull up a chair and enjoy a pint on a table that used to be a sewing machine in Prague, unwind at a joint that has a history of condemning ties and formal attire in Paris, dance the night away in an Irish pub with a discoteca twist in Brazil, and even stay the night at a mega pub when you’re too drunk to go home in Sydney. We’ve got you covered across the globe with the 30 best Irish pubs outside of Ireland.

30. GrandKhaan Irish Pub — Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

While thoroughly Irish — with its Irish whiskey list and Irish lamb stew — Grand Khaan is also irrepressibly Mongolian. That’s a good thing: alongside standard pub fare, you can order Mongolian dumplings, ginseng hot pot soup, or ox tongue with your potato salad. Fun fact: nachos in Mongolia use bolognese instead of chili.

29. Boston Arms — London

The floors may be sticky, but who goes to pubs for the cleanliness? It’s all about beer, and the brews at Boston Arms are cheap! The prices cater to the old Irishmen and working class people who occupy this public house. There’s a TV for the sports lovers, and live Irish music for the culture aficionado.

The Best Irish Bar in All 50 States

You can find an Irish pub in just about every town in America, but when St. Paddy’s Day rolls around, where should you celebrate in true Celtic fashion? We’ve gathered together 50 of the best Irish pubs in America to help you figure it out. Below are our picks for the best places to grab a perfect pour of Guinness in every state. Sláinte!


Callaghan’s is worth the visit for more than just the beer. It’s been named the best bar in America by Esquire magazine, one of the best small music venues in the south by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and one of America’s best places to get a burger by Travel+Leisure, among others. Located in a historic neighborhood, it’s been open since 1946, when, according to the current owner, it was a private lounge where you had to either ring a buzzer or have a key to get in.


Irish pubs are few and far between in Alaska, but McGinley’s Pub in Anchorage is always a steady place to grab a Smithwick’s or a Jameson. The bar has an extensive menu that places Celtic favorites like soda bread alongside creative interpretations like tacos stuffed with corned beef and cabbage. The bar hosts live music regularly, including traditional Irish music, as well as events like limerick contests.


To get a sense of Rúla Búla’s vibe, just look at its name: the phrase is taken from a Gaelic expression for "uproar and commotion." It’s got a popular patio, live music, and some of the best fish and chips in the Phoenix area. The vintage relics imported from Ireland that line the walls give it an authentic Celtic feel, even for a bar located in a 19th-century saddle shop.


Dugan’s Pub is a neighborhood joint perfect for grabbing a beer and watching the game. Besides serving "proper" pints of Guinness and Smithwick’s (20 ounces instead of 16), Dugan’s has an extensive cocktail list (both warm and cold) and serves three meals a day. It comes highly recommended as a weekend brunch spot, so there’s really no reason to ever leave.


During the 1800s, Irish immigrants flocked to California in search of Mexican land grants and gold. Tom Bergin’s, which holds one of Los Angeles’ oldest liquor licenses, has been operating since 1936 and claims to have brought Irish coffee to America (years before a San Francisco bar claims to have done the same). The ceiling of the bar is famously covered in cardboard shamrocks bearing the names of regulars from over the years. Bartenders have to vote unanimously to award a regular their shamrock, and if you make it up on the wall, you’ll join a celebrity list that includes Kiefer Sutherland and Cary Grant.


Denver’s Irish Snug harkens back to the historic Irish institution of a "snug," a small, private room in a public bar that had frosted windows so patrons couldn’t be seen inside. You paid more for drinks inside the snug, but you wouldn’t be seen carousing, either. The Irish Snug has a spacious front bar, but it also has a traditional snug—you can go inside the tiny room and order your drinks by ringing a buzzer, just like those 19th-century Irish women who didn’t want to be spotted drinking in public. Out in the main room, the bar has European soccer playing all day every day and weekly Irish music sessions where you can take part in traditional jigs and reels.


The bartenders at Anna Liffey’s pour a certifiably perfect pint of ale, according to its award from Guinness’s St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin. The bar was founded in 1997 by Patrick Mansfield, who grew up cleaning tables at his father’s pub in Ireland (which was attached to their house). The Liffey has since become a local institution. It has been voted as the best pub in New Haven, with an award-winning bar menu, and fans describe it as the city’s version of Cheers.


Kelly’s Logan House in Wilmington is the state’s oldest Irish bar, and its proprietors claim it’s the country’s oldest continuous family-owned Irish bar. The pub is housed in a three-story brick building, originally built in 1864 as a hotel called the Logan House. (Gangster Al Capone and gunfighter "Wild Bill" Hickok are rumored to have been guests.) Two Irish immigrants, John D. "Whiskers" Kelly and his wife, Hannah Golden Kelleher Kelly, purchased the building in 1889 and converted its ground floor into a tavern. Passed down through family generations, Kelly’s Logan House is today owned by John D. Kelly’s great-grandson, Michael Kelly, along with his mother, Loretta Kelly.


McGuire’s Irish Pub serves standard Irish food and drinks (and was once named Steak House of the Year). But what really sets the restaurant apart is the story of its founders, McGuire and Molly Martin. The Martins established their bar in 1977, with McGuire serving as cook and bartender and Molly, a talented singer, entertaining guests by singing classic songs in addition to working as a waitress and hostess. In 1982, the pub moved to its permanent location inside an old 1920s firehouse and became famous among locals, thanks in part to the Martins' warmth and hospitality. Early on, Molly established one of the restaurant’s most iconic traditions: After receiving her first tip, she signed her name onto the dollar bill and pinned it to the back bar. Today, the bar says it has more than one million dollar bills, signed by people of Irish descent, covering the restaurant’s ceilings and walls [PDF]. Just make sure you don't get sticky fingers after polishing off a few pints.


, the Irish Pubs Global Federation—an international professional network for Irish pub owners and managers—honored Kevin Barry’s Pub as the "Most Authentic Irish Pub" in the world. Even though Savannah is thousands of miles away from the Emerald Isle, the choice is apt: Instead of simply celebrating leprechauns, shamrocks, and all things lucky, Kevin Barry’s wall decorations pay homage to Irish revolutionaries, heritage, and history. The bar is named after Irish freedom fighter Kevin Barry and was founded November 1, 1980, on the 60 th anniversary of the 18-year-old's execution. Any given night of the week, patrons can enjoy authentic live Irish music, played by visiting entertainers.


The island of Oahu is a far cry from the rainy Old Country, but Murphy’s Bar & Grill in Honolulu keeps the motherland’s spirit alive. The saloon/eatery opened in 1987, inside a historic 19th-century hotel that’s rumored to have once counted King Kalākaua and writer Robert Louis Stevenson among its guests. While Murphy’s offers patrons an assortment of classic Irish beers (in addition to Irish and American foods), the establishment’s real draw is its annual St. Patrick’s Day block party, which reportedly draws thousands of people each year.


There’s nothing quite like a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, but if you live in Idaho and want to expand your horizons (or palate), try visiting the Irish-themed MickDuff’s Brewing Company. Located in the lakefront city of Sandpoint, MickDuff’s—named for its founders, brothers Mickey and Duffy Mahoney—offers pub food and microbrews. Swing by their separate production hall and tasting room to sample some local brews like the Idaho Arm Curl, the Tipsy Towhead Blonde, or the Irish Redhead.


Chicago is particularly proud of its Irish-American heritage, and Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant pays homage to Chief Francis O’Neill, an Irish immigrant who served as the city’s Chief of Police from 1901 to 1905. (O’Neill also founded the city’s Irish Music Club of Chicago, and collected, transcribed, and published thousands of traditional Irish tunes to help preserve the art form.) In addition to Irish food and drink, the pub frequently offers live Irish music, hosts a popular weekly pub quiz, and is decorated with memorabilia from the Old Country, courtesy of co-owner Siobhan McKinney, who still has relatives in County Cork.


Bloomington resident Larry McConnaughy opened The Irish Lion Restaurant & Pub in 1982 inside a restored 19th-century tavern, hotel, and—according to legend—brothel. Today, the bar serves up classic Irish dishes like mutton pie and corned beef and cabbage, in addition to more modern fare like burgers, salads, and club sandwiches. As for the Irish Lion’s drink menu, it lists more than 160 small-batch bourbons, Irish whiskeys, and Scotches—and patrons aren’t the only ones enjoying the goods: The Irish Lion is reportedly haunted, and come closing time, bartenders are asked to leave a shot of whiskey at the end of the bar to appease any lingering spirits.


Irish brothers Jerry and Kevin Sullivan opened Sully’s Irish Pub in 1977. Since then, the bar has changed hands through several different owners, but save a few minor renovations, it still maintains its original appearance. Each St. Patrick’s Day, Sully’s erects a giant, heated tent and hosts a party for hundreds of town residents, complete with bagpipes, drums, drink specials, and more. But if locals simply want to swing by for a pint or two, Sully’s door is quite literally always open: The establishment stays in operation 365 days each year.


Before Marfield’s was a pub, the building served as the carriage house for a local mansion in the late 19th century before being converted in 1903. Today, Marfield’s serves Irish classics like bangers and mash and corned beef and cabbage (and nearly every brunch entree comes with a side of potatoes O'Brien).


Pub owner Michael Reidy isn’t the only Irish import patrons will find at The Irish Rover (they boast that "the owner's brogue comes direct from County Clare"). The bar serves a handful of authentic Irish beers on tap, including Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Irish Ale, and Guinness Stout, as well as dozens of varieties of Irish whiskey. As for the menu, items like the Shanagarry Fish Cakes take their recipe straight from the Irish Ballymaloe Cookery School, and locals recommend ordering a scotch egg with your pint.


Named after the legendary giant of Celtic folklore, Finn McCool’s has been offering booze and grub in a genuine Irish setting since 2002. The pub is a popular neighborhood spot for watching soccer games taking place in the U.S. and overseas (they have both indoor and outdoor screens, and post full game schedules on their site). It also hosts regular trivia nights, Scrabble tournaments, and Irish dancing performances. Still not convinced that Finn McCool’s is the real deal? In 2015, The Irish Times named them one of the world’s top 10 Irish bars outside of Ireland.


Irish native John Bohill brought a piece of his home to Naples, Maine when he opened Black Bear Cafe there in 2002, and each year he takes a group of American tourists to Ireland to see the sights and drink in the atmosphere. The pub evokes the feeling of the "public houses" of southern Ireland, with perfectly poured pints of beer, a bar stocked with whiskey, and live Irish music on the weekends. And you can't miss the establishment’s signature dessert—a chocolate orange cake made with Guinness.


The James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant is as authentically Irish as the writer it’s named after. The structure itself was designed and fabricated in Ireland before it was shipped to Baltimore in 2002, and the pub prides itself on being "Baltimore’s Home of Irish Hospitality." It’s a great spot for enjoying traditional Irish fare—like the beef and Guinness stew or the Irish lamb stew—or for enjoying discounted booze on "Wednesday Whiskey Nights."


Plough & Stars is one of the hippest literary landmarks in the Boston area. Philip Roth drank there, the founders of the journal Ploughshares used it as a meeting place, and even famous Irish poet Seamus Heaney paid regular visits. Writers and non-creative types alike will enjoy the hearty food, refreshing pints, and nightly live performances the pub has to offer.


Conor O’Neill’s is the place to go in Ann Arbor for a foamy pint of beer. Their draft menu alone includes 23 selections, six of which are imported from Ireland, like the Kilkenny Cream Ale or the Magners Cider. Also imported from Ireland? The entire front of the pub, which was designed as a traditional "pub shop," where locals would pop in to buy local eggs and milk while grabbing a beer with friends.


Retirement didn’t last long for high school sweethearts and Swanville locals Kelly and Bryan Allen. The couple used their newfound free time to open Red’s Pub five years ago, and it’s since become the most beloved Irish bar in the state. The establishment is a popular spot for playing indoor bar games and nursing beers on the patio during the summer months.


A lively atmosphere and solid drink selection have made Fenian’s a local favorite for years. What sets it apart, though, is a food menu that offers traditional Irish dishes made with locally sourced ingredients—and often, with a twist. Never had Cajun-spiced corned beef and cabbage, or Irish chicken curry with Delta Blues rice? Here’s your chance.


What began as a one-room pub in 1978 has expanded into a 20,000 square-foot celebration of Irish food, drink, and culture, right in the heart of St. Louis's downtown Soulard bar district. McGurk's slings more Guinness than any bar in the state, and patrons can usually count on live music direct from Ireland (plus, rumor has it the musicians tend to sleep above the bar, so they rarely stick to the usual set time limits). There’s also an enormous outdoor garden area that offers a more contemporary setting in which to enjoy brews and traditional Irish dishes like the potato soup and soda bread (though you'll also want to order a plate of the toasted ravioli, a regional delicacy).


Located in a former livery stable that dates back to 1890, this bar honors one of Great Falls’s pioneering citizens, Robert Vaughn, a.k.a. the "Celtic Cowboy," the first European immigrant in the region. Stay over in the adjacent Hotel Arvon (named for "R. Vaughn"), then come back the next morning for some Corned Beef O’Brien or Irish porridge.


The name Brazen Head Pub derives from Dublin’s oldest bar (which dates to 1198 CE)—a place that was frequented by soldiers and revolutionaries for centuries. In order to capture some of the spirit of its namesake, Omaha's Brazen Head was designed in Dublin and constructed in Wexford, then shipped to the U.S. where its installation was overseen by Irish joiners. After marveling at all the history, make sure to order a cold brew and a boxty, a traditional Irish potato cake.


"It’s traditional, not trendy" is Ceol's mantra, and it holds to that ideal with a robust selection of Irish whiskeys—from Two Gingers to Yellow Spot to a brand called, simply, Feckin. There’s plenty of beer on tap, too, and spirited service that’ll keep your drink filled, whatever your fancy. Naturally, a place named after the Gaelic word for "music" has plenty of live acts, including many traditional Irish performers.


North Conway, New Hampshire

Old world to its core, this small-town pub hosts weekly seisiuns, or sessions in which traditional Irish musicians come from far and wide to play together. Enjoy a cold Guinness while you watch the jam each Sunday, or head out to the back deck and marvel at the view overlooking the Saco River while eating calves liver with onions or a ploughman's dinner steak.


In 1936, County Cavan native Frank McGovern opened this Newark establishment as a place for Irish immigrants to meet up, dance, and enjoy a pint or two. Back in the day, he even enforced a strict dress code on the men, ensuring they were wearing suits and ties before heading to back rooms to converse with the ladies. Eighty years later, McGovern’s is still known as a gathering place, where construction workers, college students, and business suits converge and enjoy some beers and pub grub.


The Two Fools name jokingly refers to the two owners after their years-long quest to build an authentic Irish pub in New Mexico—and one with a fireplace, no less. After enjoying the craic (say, a stout and some fish and chips, accompanied by "the merriment of friends"), though, you’ll probably think they’re pretty smart. And naturally, they offer some Breaking Bad themed merchandise, which is also pretty smart.


Called "an oasis of creativity and music" by The Irish Times, An Beal Bocht embodies the Irish spirit of community and welcome. The bar takes its name (Gaelic for "the poor mouth") from the title of a classic novel by Flann O’Brien and has become a hub for local artists, offering an art gallery and theater space in addition to live music.


Brier Creek and Morrisville, North Carolina

Helmed by County Galway-born chef Eamonn Kelly, Tra’Li prides itself on its relaxed, friendly atmosphere, its top-rate drink menu, and, of course, its satisfying food. Kelly has perfected pub standards and Irish classics alike, from the Irish Egg Rolls, filled with corned beef and cabbage, to the Molly’s Sister—chicken cutlets stuffed with bacon and herbed cream cheese and served with a Tullamore Dew sauce.


Patrons looking for a livelier evening can’t miss the Blarney Stone Pub in Bismarck. The bar’s dark wood furniture, hearty bar food (their peasant soup—or soup of the day—is served in a sourdough bread bowl), and friendly atmosphere can get rambunctious in the evenings as the volume gets turned up on conversation and music alike.


A homey bar with a lovely view of Lake Erie, The Harp is the place to go for good music, good conversation, and good food. Weekly live music performances, an Irish brunch, and a wide drink menu have earned it spots on multiple lists of the best Irish bars in the country, and its large outdoor seating area makes it perfect for savoring a mixed draught (like a Snakebite—part Angry Orchard Cider and part Harp) on a fair-weather day.


If St. Patrick’s Day has got you longing for rustic, hearty Irish fare, look no further than Kilkenny's in Tulsa. In addition to an extensive drink selection, the pub offers an impressive heart- and belly-warming menu of Irish classics like cottage pie, corned beef and cabbage, and an Irish breakfast, as well as more creative options like a Tullamore Dew cheese torte and Oysters Graiguenamanagh (good luck ordering that on the first try!).


Kells Irish has four locations, but its Portland Pub is the only one with a cigar room hidden in the city's infamous Shanghai Tunnels underneath the main pub. It also boasts of Pacific Northwest twists on classic Irish food and the region's largest selection of single-malt Scotches and whiskeys, making the pub (and its rumored resident ghost) particular favorites.


There are hidden gems, and then there’s Billy Murphy’s Irish Saloon, tucked happily into a mostly residential neighborhood in East Falls, Philadelphia. The community favorite, which is now run by Billy's wife and his son, melds a friendly Irish atmosphere and drinks menu with standard local fare like cheesesteaks and hoagies.


You could try a new beer a couple of times a week at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub and it would still take months to get through their selection. With 83 different varieties on tap and another 80 bottled options, plus a hearty bar menu full of wings, steak tips, and chili made with Murphy's Irish Stout, the pub knows how to satisfy its patrons.


Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

Family owned and operated for over 20 years, Dunleavy’s continues to stand out in a sea of chain "faux" Irish pubs in the tourist-friendly beach area of Sullivan's. Stop in and you might get a chance to overhear the pub’s "Liar’s Club," a group of regulars who come in for drinks and to tell increasingly outlandish stories in an effort to top one another.


Home to some very solid pub burgers, McNally’s succeeds in bringing the small details of a conventional Irish pub to South Dakota. Fireplaces adorn the premises, and private rooms allow small parties to socialize over drunken mussels away from the noise. They’re also renowned for knowing exactly how to pull a draft of perfect Guinness—when you’re not ordering one of their original brews, that is.


Established in 2010, McNamara’s has quickly garnered national acclaim for its devotion to the classic Irish look and feel of a watering hole. Check out its historic photographs, live music (heavily curated by owner Sean McNamara, who spent years as a traveling musician and fronting local house bands), and menu full of classics like bangers and mash and bread pudding (which also includes a "Leprechaun Menu" for any wee lads and lassies).


Who says Irish pubs need to be frozen in time? A popular destination for Austinites, Fadó (which is Gaelic for "long ago") combines a classic Irish pub food menu with sustainably caught cod from Iceland and custom-cut meat fresh from Vermont. You’ll also find four distinctly designed areas inside, including an ornate Victorian pub and space inspired by the general-store element of classic Irish hangouts.


The owners originally wanted to name Piper Down "Temple Bar," after the famous Dublin neighborhood, but encountered tense resistance from Mormon locals who opposed using the word "temple" to denote anything other than a house of worship. But since 2003, Piper Down has emerged as Utah’s most respected Irish-themed destination. Plus, they offer a sizeable vegan menu, alongside their beer-battered Alaskan fish and chips and various wraps and salads.


Conceived as a "bed and brew," the Red Fox Inn has been a Vermont institution for decades, serving up pints in a nine-room inn that was once a three-story barn. Their famous apple pie has been hailed as the best in the state and can be enjoyed along with braised lamb shank. The Inn is said to move more Guinness in Vermont than any other pub.


With a surplus of actual Irish employees, owner Mark Kirwan boasts of having the most authentically Irish pub in the state. Backing him up is the fact that virtually every piece and fixture of Samuel Beckett’s was purchased in Ireland and shipped over in 42 containers. Kirwan and his family also spent time working for Guinness, ensuring a healthy knowledge of how to deliver the best beer.


In the mood for a Guinness beef pot pie? Mulleady’s has you covered. The gastro pub focuses on seasonal ingredients for their food menu to complement their drink selection. Once you’ve imbibed, you can check out their regionally famous urinal, which was rescued from an old Seattle theater circa the 1920s. (Women can ask a staff member to accompany them for a viewing. Seriously.)


With its no-frills approach to pubbing—it doesn’t even bother with a clever name—The Irish Pub has been voted the best in the region time and again in reader and media polls. Open seven days a week, it hosts a popular trivia night and features some surprising Louisiana flavors like hot sauce on its corned beef hash or red beans and rice listed right next to potato leek soup: its owners are originally pub owners from New Orleans.


With gorgeous stained glass surrounding its "Saint's Snug," a burning woodstove, and a massive wood bar, County Clare serves up the perfect Irish ambiance to go along with their standout Guinness—they pour so much of it that it’s always fresh. Or, if you prefer beer cocktails, they serve six variations, including the Lady Guinness (Guinness and Chambord) and a Black Vanilla Bean (Smirnoff Vanilla and Guinness).


Named for a 19th-century trapper who met the town's namesake, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, on at least one occasion, Pat O’Hara Brewing serves up 15 craft brews from the region. Soak it up with the local-favorite Irish sandwich, piled high with corned beef. Patrons can even watch the brew tanks churning on the main floor.

By Michele Debczak, Kirstin Fawcett, Shaunacy Ferro, Kate Horowitz, Jake Rossen, and Jeff Wells.

Broadband concern

Cork South West TD (Irish MP) Michael Collins said such a plan would need high-speed, reliable broadband - which his constituents did not always have, Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported.

As part of the new strategy, the government has proposed investing up to €2.7bn (£2.3bn) in the roll-out of the national broadband plan.

"There are huge issues. Many people have come back from the cities to work in rural communities and the broadband is shocking.

"I have hundreds and hundreds of people in west Cork pulling their hair out of their heads because they can't get broadband in their homes."

Northern Ireland's civil service is currently developing an "enduring" remote-working policy with trade unions.

In February, the Department of Finance announced 10 regional hubs for public sector workers.

What Makes a Great Irish Pub? Author Bill Barich Explains

St. Patrick might have given his name to this weekend's celebration of the Irish diaspora, but the real heart and soul of the holiday is the Irish pub. No matter where you are in the world, you can find a bar with dark wood paneling and some form of Guinness on tap, often packed with Anglosphere expatriates, and occasionally with honest-to-God sons and daughters of Eire manning the till. But why, exactly, are there "Irish Pubs" all around the world? And is the "Irish Pub" in the strip mall down the block, or jammed into the third floor of a Kyoto office building, anything like the genuine article?

Bill Barich is an American writer best-known for the horse-racing classic Laughing in the Hills , but he's spent a good part of his recent years in Dublin, and in 2009 wrote A Pint of Plain , an investigation into the past and future of the Irish pub. He was nice enough to answer some of our burning pub-related questions from his current home in Los Angeles (in case you're worried: he and his wife plan to return to Dublin soon).

How are the Irish pubs in L.A.?
Oh, there's nothing but terrible faux Irish pubs here, serving nothing but the watery Guinness. You know Guinness doesn't really travel.

It really doesn't, it's much thinner outside of Ireland, even at English pubs. That might not be true of bottled Guinness, which is much thicker and stronger and harder to get down, but the further from Dublin, the worse the Guinness gets.

What makes the L.A. pubs terrible?
Well, I mean, there's plenty to like, and they're kind of like neighborhood bars, but they're a far cry from the real Irish pub. In any true Irish pub, you won't walk in and find 15 TVs and loud music and people drinking Coors Light. In Ireland, pubs are changing and becoming more Americanized, and a lot are becoming more like a sports bar, but traditionally, the pub is a community center.

There's a real misapprehension, you know, that the Irish and drink go together. But the Irish use the pub as a gathering place, and the drink in many cases is often incidental. You rarely see in these days a lot of drunkenness, which is the irony of when you go to pubs in America on St. Patrick's Day--you see people who are drinking far more than they should and imagine that's what the Irish do, and the Irish get really insulted by that, because it's a stereotype.

So what makes a good traditional pub?
But the really good ones in Dublin, and all over, really, are still kind of quiet. People will drop in once, twice, three times a week, just to see who's around, what's going on. They might have traditional music, guitars and fiddles and all of that, but the conversation has to flow. You can't be in a place where it's too noisy to talk, because the talk and the drink go together.

A lot of the pubs in Dublin that are really good pubs, the decor hasn't changed at all, it's 150 years old. They're like museums, they curate them. And in a place like that, you find staff that's been there for 30, 40 years. A lot of pubs in Ireland are being taken over by corporations, but the good ones are still owner-operated, by a real publican.

What difference does the owner-publican make?
The old idea of the publican living over the pub is mostly gone, but in the country the pub used to be the post office, and still is the mortuary--there are a couple places around Ireland where they have the mortuary or funeral director sign up, where there were no hospitals or morgues nearby. If you had to wait three days for the family to claim the body, you would take it to the local pub and take it down to the cellar with the beer.

And the publican, he oversees people holding christenings there, or wedding receptions, funerals, wakes. In the old days, he was kind of like the banker, too, if you needed a couple hundred bucks till payday, you'll get an advance.

There's a place called the Gravedigger's near Glasnevin Cemetery, and when the publican there was a boy, and they still had real gravediggers, not machinery, his job was to listen for a knock on the wall. If he heard a knock, one of the gravediggers wanted a pint of beer, so heɽ go up to the bar and pull a pint, and heɽ have a little notebook that heɽ bring out with him to the gravedigger, and at the end of the week theyɽ settle up, if they had the money, or would carry them over till they did.

Why are those places disappearing?
Dublin now is a modern city, and the people are way more sophisticated than their grandparents, or even their parents. Friends of mine, when they were in their 20s or 30s, if they were going out for an evening, theyɽ go right to the neighborhood pub. Now the young people are staying home for wine, or going to cafes. Guinness is perceived as an old person's drink, the young people stay away from it.

The real old-fashioned workingman's drinker, those people are vanishing. Dockworkers were among the most famous pintmen, and I met one man who would put away 15 to 20 pints of Guinness in the day. Starting in the morning, heɽ have one or two for breakfast, and then they had a break around 10 oɼlock called "the bureau hour," where heɽ have a couple more pints. Then on lunch break, you were supposed to go home, but most of them just went to the pub, then another break in the afternoon, and then go to the pub after work. "You just sweat it out," he said, but those kinds of drinkers, 50, 60, 70 years ago, they were in the pub all day every day, spending their family's money, and the kids didn't have shoes.

Are those old pubs going out of business?
The owners all moan and complain and do have much more difficulty than they used to have, but they just have to adapt--it's very hard to get a license for a pub in Dublin, because it's a gold mine. No matter how much they complain, it's like the oil companies complaining about taxes. Every publican I know has done extremely well.

If the traditional pub is on the wane in Ireland, how come you can find an "Irish pub" in any city in the world?
They're tremendous money-makers. There's this whole concept of the Irish pub, anywhere you go in the world, you find one. They're made from kits, really, you hire a company, like the Irish Pub Company , for example, and if you're in Geneva or Barcelona, you pick the "cottage style" or the "Victorian style," and they send you all the woodwork and set you up with a Guinness account.

But why Irish, rather than English, or Scottish?
Well I think "Irish" spells good times. I think it's this misperception that, because you go to an Irish bar, you can drink more, and you know that's going to lead you to have more fun. Which may be true in the short run, but in the long run I'm not so sure.

Also, the Irish Tourist Board and the Guinness Diageo brand is promoting this idea worldwide. They do it in Asia, they do it in Africa, all over the world. I was amazed to see a Guinness ad in Africa once, where it was being sold as a sort of sexual enhancer, with a broad-chested African guy holding a bottle of Guinness, saying, "Guinness gives you power." It's much more of an export product than an in-country product, now.

Do they actually export Guinness from Ireland, or is it made in whatever country it's sold in?
It's generally made on-site. It's interesting, for a time there was a huge Nigerian population in Dublin, and in Nigeria they make Guinness that's much stronger, bottled. Regular Irish draft Guinness is about 4.3 percent alcohol, so it's really quite low, but Nigerian Guinness is 7-point-something, so when they migrated to Ireland, and had their first pint, they said, "What is this, water. " and started importing Guinness back from Nigeria.

How about pub food: authentic, or a new addition?
Unlike England, where now pub food is getting very good, with gastropubs and Heston Blumenthal , Ireland's just starting to go that way. They used to do things like lasagna and chips [laughs], I was kind of stunned the first time I saw that on a menu.

As a foreigner, did you ever get the sense that you weren't welcome at some of the more traditional pubs?
No, not really. The Irish are very genuinely interested in people from elsewhere. I would say that if you're going into a pub, any good pub, people will be inquisitive, and before you know it, everyone's buying each other rounds.

30 Best Bucket List Trips For Your Lifetime: World’s Best Golf Vacation

The most famous view in golf, the 18th hole of the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland and the . [+] Swilcan bridge.

This is part of an ongoing series. In the original feature I explain why you should sit down and map out a multi-year travel plan to make sure you get to see and do all the things that are most important to you. Read this guide, “Why Right Now is the Best Time to Plan Your Travel Bucket List” here.

In this follow-up series, I present 30 different curated Once in a Lifetime experiences and destinations for you to consider. Obviously everyone’s dream list will be different, and whatever it is that you feel you really want or need to do should be at the top of your list, but with the help of experts and my 25-years experience as an award-winning travel journalist I’ve put together some great highlights to consider. Each day I’ll present a different option (see them all here):

Just outside St. Andrews, Kingsbarns is one of the word's most desirable golf courses.

Golf in St. Andrews, Scotland

Why? There are lots of great golf courses around the world, and lots of great golf destinations including Scotland, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and of course many great spots across the U.S. worthy of a week or more.

But the single most desirable course to play anywhere, the answer to the question, “If you could play any one course in the world before you die, what would it be?,” has to be the Old Course at St. Andrews. As the first course, the original, it is literally and spiritually the birthplace and home of the game we love and it is also an exceptional course and a transformative experience that has stood the test of time - centuries. That also gives it the most history, it has hosted the world’s oldest Major many, many times, and you feel the ghosts playing in the footsteps of essentially every star ever, as you cross the Swilcan Bridge where Arnold Palmer famously waved goodbye, as you try to play bunker free rounds like Tiger Woods did en route to the tournament record in the British Open, and so on and so on.

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More than just a golf hot spot, St. Andrews is a historic University town with ancient castle and . [+] cathedral.

But there is a lot more to St. Andrews then the Old Course, and this is the big change in recent years.

The first time I went on a golf pilgrimage to Scotland was around 20 years ago, and I did what was long the “typical” dream trip. I popped into St. Andrews to play the Old, then headed around the country cherry-picking some highlight courses while packing, unpacking and spending a lot of hours in a car. That has long been the way people do their first golf trip to the Old Country.

Edinburgh is a great touristic city and perfect combination with nearby St. Andrews.

Not anymore. The critical mass of golf courses in and around St. Andrews has grown so dramatically - and with such high quality - that it makes a lot more sense to just go here for a week, play a great round every day, enjoy the charming town that is home to Scotland’s most famous University as well as steeped in golf history, and stay in one place. You can stay in luxury hotels and play some pricy but fantastic golf or stay in much cheaper accommodations and play affordable and fanastic golf, there’s something for everyone. There is also great food, from fish and chips to gourmet, great pubs and bars, and some nice non-golf attractions. St. Andrews is close to Edinburgh, a wonderful city where everyone arrives, so you can go straight from the international gateway airport to the tee, and spend a couple of days reveling in all things Scottish for a couple of nights at either end in the country’s top touristic city (the city’s best luxury hotels are the Balmoral, Glasshouse and Caledonian). It’s a best of both worlds trip with no planes, trains or long drives between arrival and departure.

St. Andrews is the birthplace of the game and the original form of golf was fast and firm links . [+] golf.

How? The Old Course is the highlight and the other thing that sets it apart from dream must-plays like Pebble Beach, Royal County Down or Augusta is that it is truly public and requires no membership, no secret handshakes and no very expensive hotel rooms to get a tee time. It does however require luck, patience, or money. The easiest but priciest route is to simply pay top dollar to a premier golf travel outfitter like Haversham & Baker, Perry Golf, SGH Golf, Garmany Golf, or Premier Golf to get one of their coveted pre-booked guaranteed tee times.

You can also apply for a reservation the year before your trip, try to make one of the limited number of regular advance tee times, or take advantage of off-season winter multi-round packages combining the Old with other courses (in winter you “play off the mats,” meaning you carry a square of a synthetic turf with you and place your ball on it for every shot to not damage the grass). All the various methods are explained here.

The new Dumbarnie Links is the latest, greatest course in Scotland, with ocean views from every . [+] hole.

© Mark Alexander for OB Sports

Or you can do the time-honored method of entering the daily lottery, the “ballot,” which you do the day before and find out that evening. The tradition for all the courses around the region is to waive your fees if you win the lottery and cancel another round, so basically you go to St. Andrews for week of scheduled golf and keep entering the lottery until you get on the Old Course - and you probably will. Nearly half of all tee times are reserved for the ballot, which is now online. The exact odds are not disclosed but historically it been something like one in three attempts, and this proved the case on my previous two visits when I succeeded on my second and third tries. It is not a lock, but if you go for week and enter the lottery every day chances are very good you will get a time. But remember, the Old is closed on Sundays.

The third strategy is to show up very early (before dawn) as a single and wait for a no show to fill out a foursome. This also usually works - as long as you are one of the first to arrive. The line of singles can get very long and this method is for the hardiest of souls - and works better when it rains and people (especially local residents who can book tee times cheaply) tend to not show up.

Where Else? While you essentially have to play the Old Course for the once in a lifetime history factor, many locals believe it is not the best course in the region or even the best of the Links Trust courses. The Links Trust is the non-profit that runs the seven town courses sort of like a city park, and six of these comprise the large golf complex in the heart of St. Andrews proper. Of these, most consider the New Course, so named because it followed the Old (built in 1895), the best and you should absolutely play it. The Jubilee is considered the most challenging and along with Eden, Old and New these four are all very much worthy of your precious time. Immediately outside town, the Trust also operates the seaside Castle Course, which some love and some hate, but it is both difficult and dramatic, very different from the others with towering dunes, and you should give it a try and decide for yourself. All six Links Trust courses besides the Old can be played with “normal” tee time reservation policies.

The Old Course Hotel is St. Andrews' finest luxury lodging, alongside the world's oldest golf . [+] course.

But the number two must-play in the area after the Old has been Kingsbarns since the day it opened in 2000. An instant classic, this has some of the most magnificent waterfront in Scotland, and is a pure daily fee - no members, no hotel, just a great course and very nice clubhouse. On two different trips my companions, both Scotland first timers, called this their favorite round of the journey. It is also probably the most expensive greens fees in the country at £312 (about $385) plus another hundred or so if you take a caddie.

New this year and very close by is Dumbarnie Links, a direct Kingsbarns competitor with ocean views from all 18 holes, on a wonderful piece of land - and likely the last true links to be built in the area. I got to play it in advance last fall, it is great, and like Kingsbarns, it is a pure daily fee with impressive clubhouse.

There are two very nice and underrated coastal links courses, the Torrance and the Kittocks, at the 520-acre Fairmont St. Andrews, the top golf resort in the region in terms of combining a deluxe hotel with standout golf, and this sits a short drive outside of town (with some shuttle service) near the Castle Course. The Fairmont is a full-service resort with a very impressive spa.

While its own parkland course, the Dukes, is probably the last interesting in the region, the Old Course Hotel is definitely the premier luxury lodging in St. Andrews, and has an unbeatable location right along the final hole of the Old Course. This is where the stars stay, and it is owned by Kohler, the sister resort to Whistling Straits and the fantastic 5-Star American Club in Wisconsin. As such, it has a phenomenal Kohler Waters spa, a great pub (Jigger Inn), one of the world’s best whisky bars (Road Hole Bar) and is situated within walking distance of everything in town, a big advantage.

Finally, there are couple of noteworthy lesser-known but wonderful old links clubs that allow outside play here, most notably the 36-hole Crail, the world’s seventh oldest club, and Lundin Links.

So if you play the Old, New, Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie, Jubilee, Castle, Torrance, Kittocks, Crail, Lundin and Eden, in roughly that order, you have more than week of fantastic golf, and all are worth playing twice (or ten times). Every round will be stellar and there’s no need to move beyond St. Andrews to have a dream trip.

Travel Advisors: When planning these kind of Bucket List trips I always recommend using a good travel agent or travel advisor. In addition to making sure you get it right, they can often save you money or get you upgrades and more bang for the buck. For more on why you want to use a travel agent/advisor and how to go about it, read my recent article on this topic here.







Like most places around the world, Ireland is undergoing a surge in artisanal coffee roasting, and cafes dedicated to the best brews, grinds, and pours are springing up around the country. Traditionally a country of tea-drinkers, Ireland now has cafes in some of the most far-flung regions. If you regularly take sugar in your coffee, just try a few sips without it. You might be pleasantly surprised: Irish milk adds its own natural sweetness.

Many visitors to the Emerald Isle seek out that quintessential Irish breakfast, which includes bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried eggs, tomatoes, and maybe a few shriveled mushrooms. And while this "full Irish" might be a perfect hangover remedy, it’s not the world’s healthiest option. So breakfast is your chance to try out what most good Irish cafes bill as the “lighter option”—thick, creamy Irish yogurt with fruit compote or homemade granola.

The view from the Irish pub, Washington DC: &lsquoIreland is more progressive than the US&rsquo

Located in downtown Washington DC, the entrance to Exiles can be easy to miss. The bar is one of the many pubs and eateries along the so-called U street corridor, a trendy district in the US capital.

Exiles is not a typical Irish pub. Inside there are few signs of the Irish-themed paraphernalia beloved of Irish bars across the globe.

Subtle reminders of Ireland are there if you look hard enough – the Jameson whiskey behind the bar and the inevitable Guinness on tap.

But the dominant atmosphere is one of laidback warmth, as customers watch the baseball match on the TV in the corner, and order barbequed food from the extensive bar menu.

In a country that invented the shillelagh-and-shamrock brand of Irish identity, this is a pub that does not flaunt its Irishness.

“What we wanted to do was to keep the best of what Irish pubs have to offer,” explains Donagh Gilhooly, who renovated the property in 2016 with two other Irish colleagues. “The warmth and welcome of an Irish bar, but without being too heavily themed.”

The bar’s name reflects the kind of wide customer base the establishment attracts, in a city that has one of the most international communities in the country.

While Exiles has echoes of James Joyce’s eponymous play, Donagh says that it also stems from the Rolling Stones album, Exile on Main Street. And it captures not only one of the recurring themes of Irish literature, but the particular experience of life in Washington DC. “In this city, everyone is from somewhere,” he says.

On this Thursday evening, there is a mix of clientele. Outside in the hot summer son, American firefighter Jason Woods is chatting with a group of local nurses – both are involved in a charity for burns victims.

One nurse, Katie Hallowed, proudly talks about her Irish roots in Dublin and Waterford. But in the main they are all Americans, getting together for an afterwork drink and meal. “I like this place a lot,” says Woods, who says he got to know the owners when they worked in another bar in Arlington, just outside Washington. “I live in Virginia and can tell you their barbeque is very good,” he smiles.

Upstairs, the local chapter of the Irish Network – a US-wide association for Irish and Irish-American people in the US – is holding its monthly get-together.

Shannon Sutherland is one of the first arrivals. The 29-year-old from Waterford moved to Washington last year. She had been working for Apple in Cork for three years, but wanted to travel. The US capital seemed an obvious choice, because of its high number of Apple stores in the greater Washington area.


Famine jokes

She has since left the company and works in IT while studying for a masters at the University of Maryland. She has no regrets about moving the the US. “For the first six months I was really lonely. I didn’t even have the money to go home for Christmas,” says Shannon who arrived on a H1B visa which allows those with a job to live and work in America.

But now she has a wide social circle, which includes work colleagues and Irish people she has met through Irish networks and other channels. While she really likes the United States, she is dismayed by some of the stereotypes she encounters.

“People often think we’re part of the UK, and I’ve even heard people order an Irish carbomb as a drink. It’s unbelievable.” She also says she has been approached by men on the dating website Tinder who have made jokes about the Famine. “Some people in this country have no idea,” she says.

Like many of her generation gathered in Exiles, she does think about going home eventually, though she points out that all the work opportunities are in Dublin. “That’s a problem. There are so few opportunities from where I come from in the southeast.”

Ciaran Lynch is a PhD student in chemistry at Georgetown University. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania after winning a scholarship while a student at Belvedere College in Dublin.

He says he is likely to stay in the US in the medium term and is on the lookout for industry jobs. “I’m more geared towards American work life after being here for six years,” he says, adding that in Ireland there is often a lot of politics involved in getting a faculty position.

“There is a lot of opportunity here. It’s a cliche, but if you work hard enough you can get what you want,” he says, adding that he will probably apply for a green card eventually.

Colin O’Callaghan from Dublin moved to Washington recently with his girlfriend Laura Hayes, who works at Nasa just outside the US capital. A physics graduate with a PhD from Trinity College, he works as a data scientist for 3advance, a Washington-based technology company founded by Irishman Paul Murphy.

O’Callaghan was keen to get out of Dublin and live somewhere new, and so far is enjoying America. There are some aspects of Irish life he misses. “It’s the obvious things – family and friends. The pub culture is different. I also miss a good chipper!”

He keeps a close eye on political and social developments at home. He said he is relatively happy with the current government, but thinks more needs to be done on the housing crisis. He also believes that some exchequer money put aside for capital projects should be diverted towards social programmes.

While he has no plans to move home in the near future, he says there are plenty of jobs in his area of work, in the fields of technology and R & D.

Diaspora vote

He is also taking an interest in the debate about extending the right to vote in presidential elections to the diaspora. “It’s a complex issue,” he says, “particularly because of the huge size of the diaspora.”

One idea he suggests is some form of devolved or overseas constituencies. This would allow ex-pats to “have a say in the Ireland they eventually will move back to”. France is one country which operates a system of overseas constituencies that allows emigrants to vote for representatives who then take their place in the national assembly.

Others are divided about the idea of extending the vote to the diaspora.

Dublin-born Isobel Murray, a lawyer who runs her own business, moved to America 25 years ago and stayed after she met her future husband, Tom. She says she is nervous about extending the right to vote to the diaspora.

“I worry about it because I’ve seen how a well-funded – usually conservative group – can become a very influential voting bloc. What could happen is that you could have a voting block with an old-fashioned impression of Ireland influencing social policy, which does not reflect how Irish people vote themselves.”

She also points out that, while she visits Ireland several times a year, she hasn’t paid tax in Ireland in 25 years. “I pay my taxes here, this is where I should vote . . . It’s a nice idea but ultimately I would be willing to sacrifice a vote for myself because of my concerns about the idea.”

Nonetheless, Murray says she is astonished about the pace of social change that has unfolded in Ireland.

“I couldn’t have imagined that the country would change so much during my working life – all of it very much for the better,” she says. “I graduated just after the first abortion referendum. This was a time when you really felt that women’s rights were inferior to men’s – even that you didn’t matter. To see the evolution – the recent referendums, the large immigrant influx into Ireland – all that was unimaginable 25 years ago in the Ireland I grew up in.”

She adds: “In many ways Ireland is a much more progressive country than the United States is at the moment.”

As for the current US administration, she is philosophical about today’s political climate. “During my time here, I have seen how the political temperature changes with a new administration. Different people come to town, they think they are going to change things fundamentally, but all the time the system continues in the background, the same government department staff continue to work.”

Asked what she thinks of President Donald Trump she replies with a smile: “It’s unprintable.” But she cautions against losing hope. “I was here when the Gulf War began. That was built on wrong information which no one here in DC believed, and people were appalled.”

“It will be alright eventually,” she continues, her optimism a glimmer of that all-American characteristic of positivity. As the customers come and go, and Donagh Gilhooly pulls another pint at the bar, it’s a reminder that American life transcends any one presidency.

11. Best place to eat: SteakEl Carpicho, Jimenez de Jamuz, Spain

Time magazine called it "the perfect steak". American Vogue's exacting food writer Jeffrey Steingarten said it was "probably the greatest steak I've ever eaten". They were referring to an enormous chuletón taken from the central rib section of a 16-year-old Rubia Gallega ox, dry-aged for 90 days, and served in the cellar dining room of a rural bodega named El Capricho, near León in north-west Spain.

Paraje de las Bodegas, s/n, Jimenez de Jamuz, near León, Spain, 0034 987 664224

The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands (Photo: Mapics)

Consistently hailed as the most gay-friendly country on the planet, The Netherlands takes its reputation with stride. Back in 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize gay marriage, as well as adoption rights. The country also has some of the strongest protections for trans people anywhere.

The nation’s capital, Amsterdam, hosts an annual pride celebration and is home to many queer establishments. On top of that, there are also important historical landmarks like the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum, as well as tree-lined bike paths, picturesque cathedrals, and sprawling parklands (like Keukenhof, famous for their tulips.)

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