In search of New York City’s best pint of Guinness

March 15, 2024

Photos courtesy of New York State of Pint

One of the most beloved exports of Ireland (besides Cillian Murphy), Guinness was born in Dublin over 200 years ago and made its way to the United States soon after. The dry stout draws a cultish following for its unique black color and creamy tan head. New York City does its best to match Ireland’s perfect pour with well over 100 Irish (and Irish-inspired) pubs across the five boroughs. But not all pints are created equal, as the team behind the Instagram account New York State of Pint has learned. Run by a group of “Irish guys on a mission to find the best Guinness New York has to offer,” the account is rating pints across the city in a March Madness-inspired contest.

Ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, 6sqft chatted with the group behind the account, who wish to remain anonymous, about their search for NYC’s best Guinness, from what they look for in a pint to the pub with the most “craic” in the city.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your team.

We’re a group of Irish guys on a mission to find the best Guinness New York has to offer and compile a list of the best places.

Why did you decide to start ranking pints of Guinness across New York City?

Where to get a good Guinness and which is the best in the city has always been a hotly debated topic amongst expats and locals in New York, so we were eager to find the answer and document our journey to rank the quality of Guinness in the city and find one that would rival those in Ireland.

Explain how you rate every pint. What factors go into it?

We rate pints out of 10, things we factor into that are the taste, creaminess & viscosity, temperature, pour, glassware & the ambiance of the bar. We rate the pint we’re served on the day, and the final score is the average of our individual ratings to ensure no bias.

By your best estimate, how many pints have you had over the course of this project?

I don’t think it’s possible for us to count all of the Guinness we’ve had since we set up the page, but we’ve probably “officially” had around 70-80 during our ratings

Can you name a few of your favorite spots to drink Guinness in NYC?

So far our top 5 consists of Hartley’s, Grace’s, Iona, Westbury, and Swift!

New York City is home to over 100 Irish-inspired bars. Why do you think pub culture continues to have such a presence here?

New York has such a large Irish and Irish American community and continues to see an influx of Irish tourists and migrants each year who are looking for a little slice of home. In terms of hospitality, fun & friendliness, Irish pubs are second to none no matter where you visit in the world. You can’t beat the craic (Irish word for fun) at an Irish pub!

In your opinion, is there one NYC pub that feels the most authentic?

There are quite a few that really nail the authenticity of an Irish pub here in New York and so many to mention. Hartley’s in Brooklyn feels like you’re stepping into a local pub in rural Ireland, while Mary O’s, The Blasket, The Clonard, and 11th Street oozes the community feel of many Irish bars. A special mention to the likes of The Dead Rabbit, Jackdaw, Swift, and The Globe who perfectly mix the new and traditional aspects of modern Irish pubs.

It is easier to spot the bars that aren’t very authentic – usually serving Guinness in Bud Light glasses, over-the-top shamrock decor, and referring to St Patrick’s Day as “Patty’s Day” (Paddy’s Day & St Patrick’s Day are acceptable!)

When will a winner be announced?

Our followers have been full of tremendous recommendations so we’re always adding to our list of places to visit, so it’s hard to pick a date for the final winner! We’ll be moving onto Round 2 very soon this summer.


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