The Irish in America


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Day 19 of Irish American Favorites: McGillin’s Olde Ale House

McGillinsI have never been to Philadelphia, but that is not stopping me from selecting an Irish bar in the City of Brotherly Love as one of my favorites in Irish America. I am visiting Philly later this summer, and I can’t wait to go to McGillin’s Olde Ale House. For starters, I love “olde” anything. William McGillin, an Irish immigrant, opened the tavern in 1860. Established in a row house, “Pa” and “Ma” McGillin raised thirteen children upstairs. After nearly 100 years, the tavern was sold to another family in 1958. Click here to read the history of McGillin’s.

McGillin’s is the oldest tavern in Philadelphia in continuous operation. I’ve seen McGillin’s on several lists of the Best Irish Bars in America, and in 2010 Gourmet Magazine named it one of the 14 coolest bars in the U.S. Last December USA Today said McGillin’s was one of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

One reason I am looking forward to visiting McGillin’s is because I don’t think they overdo the “Irish thing”. Many Irish bars in the US seem to either go overboard with the cheesy menu item names and decor, or they are too sophisticated, with tons of dark wood and mood lighting. Both versions are trying too hard to recreate the feel of a pub in Ireland. In my opinion, it is impossible to have a truly “authentic” Irish pub in America. But what we can have is an olde tavern, established by an immigrant family in a city full of history, with friendly people, and great food and drink.

We’ll see you in July, McGillin’s!

Follow McGillin’s on Twitter: click here.