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Best Irish restaurants and bars in Charlotte

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Why are so many pubs and restaurants dedicated to the Irish vibe? Maybe it’s the reputation the Irish enjoy as past masters of the arts of both eating and partying. Charlotte has no shortage of Irish-dedicated spots (not to mention all the spots that “go green” every St. Patrick’s Day).

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Many are located in the Center City, but Irish venues are also scattered across the region, making the party spirit and hardy fare convenient for all. Unless otherwise noted, you'll find corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, and Reuben sandwiches on the menus at these venues 12 months a year.

Please note: this is an update to our 2010 article, with new websites, new venues, and new info added.

CENTER CITY

Ri Ra
208 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
704-333-5554
www.rira.com

Ri Ra Charlotte was the first location in what has become a national chain noted for its unswerving dedication to Irish traditions of the food, drink, music, and dancing kind. The interior is a museum of Irish antiques, the menu a book of Irish specialties, and the entertainment the finest of Irish and acoustic groups, with live Celtic music on Sundays year round. The regular menu offers Irish breakfast, a fry-up of eggs, Irish sausages, rashers (bacon), black & white puddings, grilled tomato, and sautéed mushrooms all day, along with exceptional Guinness Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef & Cabbage made with house-brined beef brisket, a classic Reuben sandwich, and good ole Fish & Chips. Even the dessert menu goes Irish, with a Guinness Sundae - vanilla ice cream over a warm Black & Tan brownie topped with Guinness chocolate sauce, toasted walnuts, and whipped cream.

Belfast Mill Irish Pub
144 Brevard Court
Charlotte, NC 28202
704-333-7160
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This tidy spot in Brevard Court (behind the Latta Arcade) is Irish to the core. The menu features Irish pub food such as fish and chips and the rather unusual Irish Breakfast Wrap with rashers, bangers, beans, b&w pudding, tomato, egg and all wrapped up in a tortilla. Lots of drink specials, with Murphy’s and Guinness on tap, make this a great spot to hang. Sports, both U.S. and international are featured on the screens in the upstairs pub.

Connolly's on 5th
115 E. 5th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
704-358-9070
www.connollysirishpub.com

Connolly's is more of Irish drinking pub than an Irish eating pub, but for its annual St. Patrick's celebration it hosts a big party with Irish food, music, dancing – and 20 oz. pints. International sporting events (featuring Irish teams) screen both inside and on the big patio.

Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub
201 East 5th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
704-900-8088
www.fitzgeraldscharlotte.com

Among the extensive menu offerings at Fitzgerald’s, you’ll find a lot of Irish classics including Shepherd’s Pie, Irish meatloaf made with a mixture of beef and lamb, and classic fish and chips, plus some not-so-classic-but tasty creations such as a Black Angus burger topped with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss. Baby Guinness shots (a combination of coffee liqueur and Bailey’s Irish Cream) are $5 all the time; ask about free parking in the Wake Forest deck.

HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS

Kennedy's Premium Bar and Grill
366 N. Caswell St.
Charlotte, NC 28204
704-375-0218
www.kennedyscharlotte.com

Located in the heart of the Elizabeth action, Kennedy’s offers many of the same Irish menu items as its sister restaurant Fitzgerald’s uptown, including Shepherd’s Pie with Guinness gravy, fish and chips, and a good Reuben. Car Bombs (made with Irish stout, a float of Irish whiskey and a shot glass of Irish cream liqueur dropped in) are always $5. The multi-level, climate-controlled patio here is a great place to get your Irish on.

Tyber Creek Pub
1933 South Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
704-343-2727
www.tybercreek.com

This South End spot rediscovered its Celtic roots recently and now has a menu with plenty of Irish options, including potato cakes, bangers, Shepherd’s Pie, fish and chips, and classic toastie sandwiches. There’s even an Irish sausage pizza. Imperial pints of Guinness now run $5, and there are daily drink specials, always dear to the Irish heart.

Honorable Mention:
Big Ben British Restaurant and Pub
2000 South Blvd. #150
Charlotte, NC 28203
704-817-9697
www.bigbenpub.com

Although definitely (defiantly?) a British pub, with a menu to match, this spot in South End’s Atherton Mill serves a traditional English breakfast of eggs, an English Banger, real English bacon, baked beans, grilled tomato, and grilled mushroom on toast daily until 2 p.m. year-round. Other classics on the regular menu include Bubble and Squeak, Cornish pasties, steak and kidney or steak and mushroom pie, Shepherd’s Pie, and Roast Lamb or Beef accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, plus a selection of British desserts (don’t miss the Spotted Dick). Live soccer plays on the tellie whenever there’s a UK match.

NORTH MECKLENBURG

Galway Hooker Irish Pub
17044 Kenton Drive
Cornelius, NC 28031-5642
704-895-1782
www.galwayhookerpub.com

Located at near Lake Norman, off I-77 at exit 25, Galway goes the extra mile to be Irish. The building itself was constructed, inside and out, by the Irish Pub company in Dublin, Ireland, then shipped piece by piece to America. The menu is a fusion of Irish and American favorites, with a special emphasis on seafood. All the Irish standards appear - corned beef and cabbage, Shepherd's Pie, Bangers & Mash, along with Belfast breakfast served all day. This is also the location of the Lake Norman Comedy Zone with top comedians every Tuesday. The Galway Hooker hosts an awesome free St. Patrick’s Day block party every year that usually lasts for several days.

SOUTH CHARLOTTE AND MATTHEWS

P.J. O'Reilly's
16640 Hawfield Way Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277
704-341-2247
www.pjoreillysirishpubandgrill.com

Located at the corner of US 521 and Ardrey Kell Road 1 mile south of Ballantyne, O'Reilly's spreads the authentic Irish spirit with lots of Guinness beer batter, used on onion rings, shrimp, fresh cod, chicken fingers, you name it, plus Black Angus steaks, Irish stew, grilled bangers, Irish cheesesteak sandwiches made with corned beef topped with provolone, and Irish Creme Cake.

Sir Edmond Halley’s Restaurant & Freehouse
4151-A Park Rd., behind Park Road Shopping Center
Charlotte, NC 28209
704-525-2555
www.halleyspub.com

Located in the angle of Park Road Shopping Center, Sir Ed’s serves creative takes on Irish and English classics year-round and pours traditional 20 oz. English pints of eleven different drafts, mostly imports. Every St. Patrick's Day, Halley's pulls out the stops, with bagpipes, Irish dancers, and a special Irish menu, including an awesome Guinness chocolate pudding.

The Tilted Kilt
Two locations:
13230 Carowinds Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28273
704-910-5353
and
1625 Windsor Square Dr.
Matthews, NC 28105
704-845-2211
www.tiltedkilt.com

At the Tilted Kilt, the emphasis is mostly on the Scottish side of our British heritage (check out the mini-kilts on the waitresses). The regular menu features offerings such as Irish nachos (potato chips topped with cheese, ground beef and tomatoes), beer cheese soup, Shepherd Pie, Olde Dublin Irish Stew, and the old reliable Fish and Chips. Every St. Patrick's Day, however, the kitchen brings on the corned beef and a full slate of Irish standards, along with green beer and live bagpipers.

ROCK HILL/FORT MILL, SC

McHale's Irish Pub
122 East Main Street
Rock Hill, SC 29730
803-329-8580
www.mchalesirishpub.com

(Note: The Fort Mill location is now closed.)
Regular menu items include many Irish dishes and some strange hybrids, including an Irish Eggroll stuffed with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese; Guinness chili; potato soup; Shepherd’s Pie and other Irish specialties. With its prime location on Main Street, McHale’s is a major sponsor of the annual St. Patrick’s Day on Main Festival.

Six Pence Pub
993 Market St. in Baxter Town Center
Fort Mill, SC 29708
803-802-588
www.sixpencepub.com

The local location of a regional chain that began in Savannah, GA (where St. Pat's is a very big party indeed), serve a traditional English pub menu year round, with Scotch eggs, a Ploughman's Lunch complete with pickled onion, Bangers & Mash, and a bread bowl filled with Beef Guinness stew. No corned beef and cabbage on the regular menu, but they roll it out for St. Pat's.

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