McTeagues – Best Irish Pub in San Francisco

McTeague Family Coat of Arms

McTeague’s – Best Irish Pub in San Francisco well according to 7×7 Magazine at Castro theater on Monday night, yes it is. Facebook members voted the Polk Street haunt the winner a couple of weeks ago. The crew from McTeagues were at the event to receive the coveted NITEY award, I was sitting at the bar here on Polk street when Chris one of the owners sent me a picture of him holding the award. Being a little biased, I was expecting the bar (McTeagues) to get best Neighborhood bar, or Best Bar in the City award, if that exists, if not it should and McTeague’s should get it. Sadly they were only short listed for the Irish Section. But best Irish bar, If you had asked me say last four years ago around this time, would McTeagues have won this category, I would probably have said no! Now that being said, McTeague’s has come along way in the past few years. Right now in the bar, I’m Irish, the three customers to my left and the four to my right are Irish, the bar tender on many nights here is Irish, there is a Grave marker of the infamous Shane McGowan on the ceiling directly above me, wait he’s not dead yet? There are Irish flags, Man U flags, Go reds, the bar has that Irish feel to it. McTeague is definitely an Irish name, originating from Galway.

Frank Norris

But it’s worth noting that McTeague’s Saloon is named after the Frank Norris novel “McTeague” written in 1899. The book was the basis for the films McTeague (1916) and Erich von Stroheim‘s Greed (1924). Yes that explains the giant gold tooth hanging outside the bar. All that being said, I have drank here since it’s conception, Miles O’Reilly a well known publican here in San Francisco, is another owner here. He also owns O’Reilly’s which oddly enough was not on 7×7 Magazine short list for Best Irish Bar category?  McTeague’s beat out the Dubliner, Irelands 32, Johnny Foley’s Irish House and the Phoenix Bar all fine Irish establishments. McTeague’s is also the main bar on lower Polk street to watch prime sporting events, this is a Niners, SF Giants and Warriors stronghold, you will also see quite a few SEC fans in this bar, Longhorns etc.

I guess I never really thought of my local as a fully fledged Irish bar, but when I step back and take a second look yes I can see it now, the flags, the décor, the name, the bar tenders, the owners but most importantly the patrons who drink here on a regular basis. On up coming Amateur day, ooops I meant to say St. Patrick’s day, McTeague’s will be the most packed venue on Polk street. This is probably the biggest sales day for any Irish haunt, not taking into account that Paddies day is on the week-end this year, add to that 7×7 NITEY Award as Best Irish Bar in San Francisco I will hazard a guess this year is going to be HUGE!

McTeague's proudly display their win this week!
McTeague’s proudly display their win this week!


This is a huge coup for Polk street as a whole, how many streets can boast having the best Irish bar, only one, Polk street that who can!

My advice to anyone venturing along the Polk stretch on the week-end of St. Patrick’s Day, get there early, pace your selves, drink responsibly (if there is such a thing) and be safe. Make sure you have a wing man or women, designate a driver or better yet use MUNI or take a Taxi, if you can find one that is.