Irish bars and restaurants worth visiting in the Hudson Valley
If you're looking to indulge in some Irish food and drink, the Hudson Valley has a wealth of Irish-themed restaurants, but relatively few authentic pubs. By definition, the real deal has a pub-like look, even if it's spacious and sporting overhead televisions. It should have more than half a dozen beers on tap, and Irish beers, like Guinness, Murphy's Irish Stout and Harp Lager, as well as a barman (or woman) who is skilled in the bibulous art of the foamy pour. Add to this shepherd's pie or some corned beef and you pretty well have it.
Here are eight local spots worth trying, plus a dozen more that may fit the bill.
THE DUBLINER IRISH PUB IN POUGHKEEPSIE
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A few blocks from Vassar College, this Irish pub is owned by Dublin-born Brendan Daly, who keeps the place hopping most nights with special events, happy hours, live music (traditional Celtic, jazz, soft rock) and televised sports (796 Main St., Poughkeepsie; 845-454-7322; www.dublinerpubny.com). Predictably, the good-time crowd is on the younger side.
The wood-paneled interior is pleasant, with faux Tiffany chandeliers, banquettes and even leather armchairs facing a fireplace. More than two dozen beers are available on tap, including Guinness, Harp, Smithwick's and the locally made Kelly's Irish Cider. The regular menu is mostly American pub grub, with some ethnic offerings like Onion and Ale Soup, Irish spring rolls (corned beef and cabbage, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese) and a curious amalgam called the Irish Republican Platter (ribs, Buffalo wings, crab Rangoon, Irish spring rolls and coconut shrimp).
OLDE VILLAGE INNE IN NYACK
If you're looking for local color, this dimly lit, convivial and no-frills Irish hangout in the center of Nyack is the place to be (97 Main St., Nyack; 845-358-1160; www.ovinyack.com). This is one of the few places around where you can walk in on a Sunday afternoon and find it packed.
In the early evening a young crowd convenes in front of a vintage jukebox; later arrives a blue collar contingent, many of whom seem to own reserved seats at the elbow-worn wooden bar that holds about 25. The only decorative features of note are the tile ceiling and, wrapping the entire place, a smoke-bleached mural of the Hudson River.
As for food, it is much better than expected, particularly the shepherd's pie, chicken potpie, chicken wings, and corned beef and cabbage.
RORY DOLAN'S IN YONKERS
While Rory Dolan's is technically in Yonkers, it's located right next to the Woodlawn Heights section of the Bronx, a tiny, V-shaped residential area abutting Van Cortlandt Park East that's among the most Irish of all neighborhoods in greater New York City (890 McLean Ave., Yonkers; 914-776-2946; rorydolans.com).
"We get so many Irish people in here in March that we call it St. Patrick's month," said Rory Dolan, a co-owner.
Rory Dolan's is enormous, but at the same time it maintains a local feeling. There are 33 flat-screen TVs and a large comfortable dining room with white tablecloths and a hearth. The food is quite good, including the Irish smoked salmon plate and the fresh turkey platter with dressing and cranberry sauce. Chicken potpie is restorative as well.
Drinks and beer are discounted on various days of the week and live music is featured regularly (check website for details). One of the biggest days of the year here is the McClean Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade, which oddly is held on March 23, nearly a week after the official holiday.
SWEENEY'S IRISH PUB IN WALDEN
This semirural Irish roadhouse features traditional decor, a large U-shaped bar and an 80-seat dining room (33 Orange Ave., Walden; 845-778-3337; sweeneysirishpub.com). Aside from Irish Guinness stew and fish and chips, the main menu is largely generic American dishes and burgers. A notable exception is the boozy Bailey's Irish cream pie.
There are 10 beers on tap and as many bottles. Wednesday is Irish music night, with a top-notch roster of musicians.
DUNNE'S PUB IN WHITE PLAINS
This cozy and rustic bar and music club, located in a semi-secluded neighborhood of White Plains, has garnered numerous regional awards for the best pint of Guinness in Westchester County (15 Shapham Place, White Plains; 914-421-1451; dunnespubandrestaurant.net). As owner Sean Dunn explains it, "A lot goes into it: the steel kegs (instead of plastic), the mix of gas in the tank, freshness of the beer, the proper glass, and the proper pour."
Aside from this proficiency, Dunne's is known for its "seiusens," or gatherings of Irish musicians, on Wednesday nights starting at 7:30 p.m. Some of the top bands and singers from the old country come by to perform.
A mix of Irish and American food is served, as well as dishes like steak with Irish whiskey cream sauce, blackened sirloin, and jerk chicken. Like most Irish establishments in the valley, Dunne's remains open as late as 4 a.m.
HORSEFEATHERS IN TARRYTOWN
Less boisterous than most Irish pubs in the valley and more upscale, a local professional crowd frequents this fine-looking old haunt in the center of Tarrytown (94 N. Broadway, Tarrytown; 914-631-6606; horsefeathersny.com).
The long, narrow bar is dark and woody, with a half dozen tables affording views of two small mounted televisions, and the dining room, with wooden tables and votive candles, is dominated by a large mural of famous writers, Irish and not: James Joyce, Eugene O'Neill, Washington Irving and Mark Twain among them.
Horsefeathers nearly missed the cut for this roster of Irish pubs because it carries no beer on tap, which is unheard of, but an exception was made for its Irish vibe. The international bottle selection, however, is staggering.
Aside from a decent shepherd's pie, you'll find nary an Irish dish on the American menu. In summer there's a delightful canopied patio.
J.C. FOGARTY'S IN BRONXVILLE
Convenient to the Bronxville train station, the crowd at this neighborly watering hole seems at times as if they all came from the same Manhattan office (60 Kraft Ave., Bronxville; 914-337-1122; jcfogartys.com). The old dark mahogany walls accented by stained glass contribute to the warm and festive mood.
Sixteen brews are on tap as well as a good selection of craft beers in bottles. Like so many Irish bars, the action starts early on the big day, with a 7:30 a.m. breakfast followed by stream of Gaelic musicians.
MAHONEY'S IRISH PUB & STEAKHOUSE IN POUGHKEEPSIE
Housed in a handsome 1836 stone building that served as the former Vassar Brewery, this two-level bar and restaurant has played a significant part in the resurgence of downtown Poughkeepsie (35 Main St., Poughkeepsie; 845-471-7026; www.mahoneysirishpub.com).
The tavern room has maintained its historic charm, with thick crossbeams, brick walls and period sconces, the only intrusion being mounted TVs everywhere. There are 15 beers on draft and the same number in bottles. Live music of all stripes is featured throughout the week, and on Thursdays, the Hibernian mood is contaminated by karaoke.
The steakhouse style menu has a category of Irish specialties, including shepherd's pie, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage and two rib dishes, one cooked with Guinness and the other with Jameson whiskey.
More spots where you can enjoy Irish food or drink:
Antoine McGuire's Oyster & Ale House: 19 Main St., Haverstraw; 845-429-4121; antoinemcguire.com
Birdsall House: 970 Main St., Peekskill; 914-930-1880; birdsallhouse.net
Duck Inn Bar & Grill: 128 W. Boston Post Rd., Mamaroneck; 914-835-8791
Emma's Ale House: 68 Gedney Way, White Plains; 914-683-3662; emmasalehouse.com
Larchmont Tavern: 104 Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont; 914-834-9821; larchmonttavern.com
The Lazy Boy Saloon & Ale House: 154 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains; 914-761-0272; lazyboysaloon.com
Maggie Spillane's Ale House: 571 Gramatan Ave., Mount Vernon; 914-699-8900; www.maggiespillanes.com
Michael's Tavern: 150 Bedford Rd., Pleasantville; 914-747-0390; www.michaelstavernny.com
Mickey Spillane's: 431 White Plains Rd., Eastchester; 914-395-3838; mickeyspillanes.com
O'Connor's Public House: 1620 Rte. 22, Brewster; 845-940-1800; www.oconnorspublichouse.com (other locations in Mount Kisco and White Plains)
Pete's Saloon & Restaurant: 8 West Main St., Elmsford; 914-592-9849; www.petessaloon.com
Piper's Kilt: 433 White Plains Rd., Eastchester; 914-779-5772
Porter House: 169 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains; 914-831-5663; www.porterhousebar.com
Ron Blacks: 181 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains; 914-358-5811; www.ronblacks.com