Best Irish Pubs in San Diego
If you’re thirsting for some ice cold Guiness (AKA the “Black Stuff”) or wanting to hang with some football fanatics, it’s a “public house” you’re looking for. And, we all know, the Irish kick pub arse. Being the philanthropic wanderer that I am, I decided to seek out the best Irish pubs in San Diego and pass the info along—just in time for a lively St. Paddy’s Day celebration.
What makes an Irish pub authentic? Ownership by an Irish human is a must—and, the bigger the personality, the better the pub. If a menu exists, there had best be some shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, and bangers & mash on it. And, merriment—there must be merriment. Lively conversation and live Irish music are two of the finest forms.
A very casual pub and grill, with rugby and soccer in the air and all over the walls, The Harp (4935 Newport Ave, Ocean Beach) serves up standard American bar grub and a fair smattering of Irish fare on the menu, including shepherd’s pie, fish & chips, bangers & mash, Irish stew and some curry dishes. Throw in some occasional live music and nonstop televised sports and you’ve got merriment, too. The service is hit or miss.
Happy Hour: Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Gallaghers (5046 Newport Ave, Ocean Beach) touts itself as a “wee bit of Ireland in the heart of Ocean Beach.” The walls are lined with all things Irish and the live + DJ-spun playlist includes rock, reggae and punk, and occasionally Celtic tunes. If you’re the active sort, this is your spot…there’s something fun going on here seven nights a week. There’s Open Mic, Game & Quiz Nights or you can cheer on your team.
Happy Hour: Daily from 4 to 7 p.m., 2-5 p.m. Sat, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.
A twin of 200-year old Tynan’s pub in Kilkenny, the interior of Dublin Square (554 4th Avenue, San Diego) was made in Ireland and shipped here to create one authentic pub in the Gaslamp District. Stop by late in the evening and you might be so lucky to hear some live modern Irish tunes. The menu is packed with Irish delights like an all day Irish breakfast, corned beef & cabbage, the boxty (Irish version of a potato pancake) and Irish bread pudding.
Happy Hour: Sunday and Monday from 2 p.m. to closing.
It doesn’t get more genuine than the Ould Sod (3373 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights). Housed in the city’s third oldest licensed bar (since 1940), a trio of Irish owners (Tommy, Ron and Mick) transformed it into the consummate pub that it is today. Your thirst will be quenched by a cheery barkeep and you’ll likely be surrounded by Irish brogues. Traditional Irish music on Tuesday nights. On Sundays…”football,” of course.
Happy Hour: Mon through Fri from 4 to 7 p.m. and all day Sun.
You’ll be transported back in time when you step inside The Field (544 5th Avenue, Gaslamp). With a picture of Jesus behind you and a friendly bartender in front of you, you’re in good hands as you swig down some potcheen. If you’re hungry, you’ll find a plethora of traditional Irish specialities on the menu (and several American ones), including an all-day Irish breakfast. Live Irish music and dancing, televised sports, and a variety of special events make this one lively pub.
Happy Hour: Mon through Fri until 7 p.m., Sat and Sun until 5 p.m.
Attention hockey fans and more sophisticated folks preferring a quieter and more stylish setting to swig the Guinness…you have found a home at the Irish and Canadian-owned Stout Public House (1125 6th Avenue, Downtown San Diego). Established in 2007, this neighborhood pub has an extensive variety of urbane American bar fare, as well as Irish pub cuisine and delish daily specials. Shows all NHL and NFL games.
Happy Hour: Daily from 4 and 8 p.m.
If you happen to be up in North County, you’ve got to check out the very authentic O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub on Grand Avenue in Escondido. You’ll find a menu full of authentic Irish fayre, including corned beef and cabbage, an all day Irish breakfast, bangers & mash, and more, and live music most nights of the week. Happy Hour: Mon through Fri from 4 to 7 p.m.
Is there a pub you’d like to see added to my list of the best pubs in San Diego? Do spread the Irish love in a comment below!