Irish poet and playwright W.B. Yeats once said, "The problem with some men is that when they're not drunk, they're sober." Agreed — it can be an issue (although it goes for both men and women).
Thankfully, we have a public house or two (or 12) in town to help you fix your problem. While Phoenix can't offer anything in the way of The Brazen Head, the Valley can at least provide a place to just sit with a pint, a shot, and a plate of traditional Irish fare.
Find just that at these 12 Irish pubs, each with that special element of craic.
Casey Moore's Oyster House850 South Ash Avenue, Tempe
This Tempe mainstay was named for Casey Moore, a woman born to Irish immigrants in 1886. Her deal was singing and playing the piano, and friends and neighbors would frequently gather at her house. The same goes today. Casey's may have strayed a bit from its Irish roots, but this Tempe hot spot still makes the list. Their logo is a shamrock, after all, and they have do have a Blarney Stone. If you need an escape from the college crowd and neighborhood types on the patio, move inside to the classic, musty bar area for an imperial pint of Guinness and one of their extra-crispy fish sandwiches.
The Dubliner Irish Pub3841 East Thunderbird Road
Around since 1985, The Dubliner is said to be Phoenix’s first pub to serve Guinness on tap. The pub often hosts trivia nights and live music, and serves dishes like corned beef sliders, Irish beef stew, and chicken with Guinness gravy. For a quick bite, get yourself a side of Irish soda bread, or some Jameson chocolate bread pudding. Draught beers include Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick’s; whiskeys include Blackbash, Paddy’s, and even Dew Middleton.
Murphy's Law Irish Pub58 South San Marcos Place, Chandler
This Irish bar in downtown Chandler is easy to miss, as it's crammed in with the many shops, restaurants, and others bars surrounding Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. But upon entering the narrow room that is Murphy's Law, you'll know you've found your next favorite pub. A good mix of Irish and Arizona ales fill the beer menu, and food options include Irish mac and cheese, Murph's Reuben sandwich, and St. Ivan fish tacos. Their mission? To bring the vibrant Dublin pub scene to the east Valley.
O'Connor's Pub2601 West Dunlap Avenue
An excellent neighborhood bar, O'Connor's Pub lets you work on your darts game while gulping a Guinness, Harp, Smithwick's, or Magners — possibly coupled with a shot of Redbreast, Powers, or Teeling Irish whisky. The food menu doesn't go too deep, but there's beer-battered french fries to keep you going while listening to live Irish music or a game of some kind. Established in 1990 by Jimmy O’Connor, O'Connor's Pub is also known for daily specials on Tully Tuesdays, Whiskey Wednesdays, or Thank Guinness It's Fridays.
Rúla Búla Irish Pub & Restaurant401 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Rula Bula is still killing it with good Irish eats, an impressive selection of Irish whiskeys, and a lively garden patio in downtown Tempe. Translated as "uproar and commotion," Rula Bula is housed in the colorful historic Andre Building, which opened as a saddlery and harness shop in 1888 (you'll notice nods to those roots on the shelves and display areas around the pub). What's more, Rula Bula's bar was actually built in Ireland, shipped to Tempe, and then reassembled where it sits now. It waits patiently to support your order of Irish nachos, Guinness barbecue wings, Galway Bay-style mussels, or just a pint. Bonus: The desserts are extra-fun here, and include the Guinness Float and deep-fried Irish bread pudding.
Rosie McCaffrey's Irish Pub906 East Camelback Road
Once upon a time, there was an Irishman from Belfast named Seamus McCaffrey. He opened a little bar in downtown Phoenix, and it was awesome. In 2002, he decided to sell his namesake pub and open a new one on Camelback Road, which he named after his beloved wife, Rosie. Thank the heavens above he did. We don't know what we'd do without the Harp Battered Fish 'n' Chips and wall of whiskey (we're talking Bushmill's, five kinds of Jameson, Tullamore, and Paddy's) at Rosie McCaffrey's. You'll also find streaming Glasgow Celtics football, as well as Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny, Smithwick's, and Magner's Irish Cider on tap every day at the bar.
Seamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub and Restaurant18 West Monroe Street
The Temple Bar of downtown Phoenix, Seamus McCaffrey's is dark and divey, and the food can be awesome, but you'll also have to contend with tourists and weekend warriors. But maybe that's a good thing, depending on your mood? The bartenders are friendly and will never let you sit with an empty beer for long, and it's always a fun adventure to head up the hot stairs to pee. The fish and chips are good roughly 85 percent of the time, but if you're looking for total consistency, the chicken pot pie is a safe bet, and we've never seen a bad Guinness pour. While you wait, look around and take in the place's Irish bric-a-brac, which includes old healthy Guinness campaign signs and a map of Ireland broken out by county.
Skeptical Chymist Irish Restaurant & Bar15689 North Hayden Road, #125, Scottsdale
Modeled after an old Irish apothecary, the Skeptical Chymist will cure your thirst and fill your belly. Find yourself heading for this north Scottsdale pub for the food, which includes the fish and chips, the real lamb shepherd's pie, and the all-day Irish breakfast. The Guinness is plentiful, but sometimes you'll want to class it up with one of their specialty cocktails like the Irish Mimosa or Leprechaun's Charm.
Padre Murphy's4338 West Bell Road, Glendale
This wild west Valley bar is known for its cold drinks, next-level bar food, and the annual Saint Patrick’s Day party; this place trucks in bands, bagpipes, Irish dancers — the works. Scan that menu for items like traditional corned beef and cabbage sandwiches, wings, and beer steam bratwurst. Irish drinks include Guinness, Kilt Lifters, Irish Bombs, Carolans Irish Cream, or maybe just an ice-cold domestic beer.
Tim Finnegan's Irish Restaurant & Pub17045 North 59th Avenue, #103, Glendale
The food at Tim Finnegan's may sound like average pub fare, but what's coming out of the kitchen is a few steps above the norm. The traditional shepherd's pie is popular here (it's made with lamb) as is the all-day Irish breakfast — a massive plate of meat, eggs, beans, toast, tomatoes, and authentic white and black pudding. There's often pub trivia or live music, which you can enjoy with a Guinness or spoonfuls of Baileys tiramisu.
Kelly's at Southbridge7117 East Sixth Avenue, Scottsdale
Kelly's serves upscale pub fare in the form of Stetson Nachos, the Bourbon Egg burger, and a whole menu of craft cocktails — all of which is best enjoyed on its expansive patio. This can also be your go-to lunch spot on weekends, and for St. Patty's Day to boot. There's beer, corned-beef sliders, fish and chips, and Irish dogs if you're feeling extra lucky.
The Harp Irish Pub1744 South Val Vista Drive, Mesa
Billed as an Arizona pub with an Irish soul, The Harp Irish Pub claims everything in the restaurant is authentically Irish — from the interior and fixtures to the food and recipes. Their daily happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and offers $1 off drafts and bottle beers (including the Harp Irish lager), $1 off well drinks, $1 off house wine, and $2 off select appetizers. Find everything from Guinness Fondue to Irish bangers and mash, traditional corned beef, fish and chips, and the Irish Sundae — a Baileys Irish Cream brownie with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on March 9, 2012. It was updated on February 15, 2020.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.