5 Standout Bars For Irish Whiskey in the U.S.
May 17, 2023 –––––– Brian Rooney
Irish whiskey is rich in history and delicate in character, and as new distilleries continue to pop up across Ireland, the Emerald Isle is returning to its glory days of old. With more variety than ever before, it’s a good time to enjoy it at a bar that carries a diverse and extensive selection. Here are five U.S. spots with solid Irish whiskey lists.
The Cabbage Shed
At first, this bar and restaurant might look like a regular neighborhood spot, scenically situated on the water, but behind the bar, you’ll find precisely 99 bottles of Irish whiskey. A trip to Ireland by the owners in 2010 inspired an obsession with the spirit, and they began stocking the bar with enough Irish whiskey to surpass any other in Northern Michigan. Expressions from familiar names like Teeling and Redbreast and rarer bottles like Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy ($89/2 oz.) are available. You also don’t have to spend a lot to taste harder-to-find whiskeys, such as Prizefight ($10/2 oz.) or Proclamation ($9.50/2 oz.).
The Dead Rabbit
The Dead Rabbit is a once-hidden gem that has since blossomed into a Manhattan staple. An authentic Irish pub atmosphere houses over 100 bottles of Irish whiskey from 15 distilleries and 30 brands, prices ranging between $14 and $40/2 oz. pour. If the options overwhelm you, the bar offers curated tasting flights, such as one featuring Power’s Irish Rye, Method and Madness Rye and Malt, and Drumshanbo Single Pot Still ($36). The main draw to this spot, though, is its much beloved take on the Irish Coffee. Its popularity has inspired an array of Irish Coffee riffs, all of which use artisanal coffee roasts imported from Ireland. These include the Frozen Irish Coffee, made with Lost Irish whiskey, and the Irish Coffee Alexander, a take on the Brandy Alexander that uses Jameson Stout Cask to merge the two classic cocktails into one.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Much more than an Irish pub, Jack Rose Dining Saloon is a whiskey institution in the nation’s capital. In addition to whiskeys from unusual locations like Mexico, Italy, and South Korea, Jack Rose’s has an Irish whiskey selection spanning over two pages in its whiskey book, amounting to around 110 bottles in total. Some more notable ones are several different bottles from the Waterford Distillery and Walsh Distillery’s The Irishman. Rarer, luxury pours include Jameson 10 year old bottled in the 1960s at the brand’s old distillery on Bow St. in Dublin ($120/1 oz.), and a 1951 bottling of Knappogue Castle ($145/1 oz). The astounding selection of scotch, bourbon, and other world whiskies make Jack Rose’s one of the best spots for any whisky countrywide.
Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro
Mrs. Murphy and Sons in Chicago offers everything an Irish pub should. In addition to great pub fare and 20 oz. pints of beer, the bar has 70 (and counting) Irish whiskeys currently on hand. Spanning across 11 distilleries as well as some private bottlings, these include four vintage releases of Midleton Very Rare. Expanding the inventory has been ramped up lately, and there are plans to include even more rare bottles. “We’re excited about traveling to Ireland regularly again,” says co-owner and whiskey buyer, James Murphy, who adds that he’s working on an exclusive single barrel single malt offering from West Cork that should arrive later this year.
The Old Monk
The Irish whiskey selection at The Old Monk may not be as extensive as that of other Irish pubs, but what sets this place apart is its very friendly prices. These include classics like Redbreast 12 ($9/1.5 oz.), Green Spot ($9.50/1.5 oz.), and even the latest Midleton Very Rare ($22/1.5 oz). Currently, there are close to 20 Irish whiskeys on offer, an improvement from many years past, when owner Feargal McKinney recalls carrying a few bottles, all from one distillery. “Now we’re seeing new offerings regularly, many from smaller distillers,” McKinney says.