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The Best Irish Pubs aren't just Booze Cans

The Irish Times is currently on the lookout for the best Irish Pub in the World (located outside of Ireland).  What exactly are they looking for? Well they’re looking for Doc’s Magilligan’s - obviously! To quote the website, here’s what they’re searching for: “...The best Irish pubs abroad are not simply boozers. They’re also unofficial community centres for our emigrant population, social outlets for Irish people far from home, and the focus of sporting and cultural activities for the diaspora.” Check, check and check - We feel that Doc’s has what it takes to put Niagara Falls on the Irish map (so to speak).

So, we put our Irish heads together and brainstormed what makes Doc’s so amazing for both locals and visitors. Here’s the love letter we sent to the Irish Times:

A Chara/Dear Irish Times

Doc Magilligan’s Restaurant & Irish Pub located in Niagara Falls, Canada is one of the best Irish Pubs in the world outside of Ireland. Here’s why:
Doc’s is named after Francis Magilligan, the son of John Magilligan, AKA “Honest John” - a hard-working builder from Dungiven. John’s family set sail across the Atlantic during the Great Famine. The Magilligan family flourished in North America, and 3 of John’s children became doctors.
As the story goes, Doc was always the life of the party - comfortable enjoying a round, just as he was making them. Doc’s great, great grand-daughter, Maureen Magilligan opened the restaurant with her husband Fred Cade, as a tribute to the spirit of the good doctor. The pub celebrates Doc’s identity with an outpouring of good cheer, great company and a commemoration of hard work and ‘sticktoitiveness.’
For decades, Niagara Falls pubs have either catered exclusively to tourists, or been a ‘locals-only’ style of watering hole (read: dive bar). Since Doc’s opened in 2014, the pub has managed to toe the line of being a welcoming and friendly place for visitors, while also acting as a hub for locals. Doc’s coverage of rugby, football and other gaelic sports bring out the sports enthusiasts, while the pub’s live entertainment brings out an entirely different sort. This mixing of character can occasionally usher trouble, but the pub’s friendly vibe puts everyone at ease - a spirit of camaraderie hangs in the air. It’s never out of the question to see a retired couple on vacation chatting with the young rugby lads at the bar. As much as Doc’s is a tourist destination, locals also thrive in the pub’s authenticity.
Doc’s serves traditional Irish food and drink, with no gimmicks. Their authentic Irish fare includes: curries, boxty, bangers & mash and a Guinness-braised steak & mushroom pie. On Sundays, they serve a prime rib supper with yorkshire pudding & the all the fixins.

They offer no less than 28 different kinds of beer, including the best Irish beer you can find on tap in the Province of Ontario - Harp, Kilkenny, Smithwicks and Guinness.
Almost every single item found in Doc Magilligan’s is from Ireland. The bars and all the woodworking were designed and created just outside Dublin and then shipped to Niagara Falls via cargo ship. All of the artifacts and ephemera in Doc’s come from pubs and restaurants in Ireland that have since closed down. There’s not a single leprechaun or shamrock in the entire pub. These relics give the perception that you’ve returned to the motherland without even having to cross the Atlantic.
In a town where millions of tourists visit every year, identity can be hard to come by. But, Doc Magilligan’s mix of authentic Irish tradition and a contemporary Canadian vibe, ushers that identity to Niagara Falls. These are just a few of the reasons I’d like the Irish Times to consider Doc Magilligan’s Restaurant and Pub, one of the best Irish Pubs in the world outside of Ireland.

Will Doc Magilligan's Reach the Top 10?

The winning pub receives a certification from the Irish Times and some Irish goodies too. The contest ends on February 28 and we will be following the contest to see if Doc’s makes the Top 10 - which should be announced sometime in March.

Below, you'll find some other notable Irish Pubs from all over the globe. 

Rí Rá - Georgetown, Washington, DC.

Rí Rá is owned by Dubliners David Kelly and Ciaran Sheehan and one of a chain of Irish pubs that started in North Carolina in 1997. As Irish Times, Washington Correspondent Simon Carswell explains: “Behind the bar is a slightly charred statue of St Patrick rescued from a burning building on Patrick Street in Cork in 1920.” Sounds swanky!

Ri Ra Georgetown Washington DC Irish Contest

Paddy O'Shea's - Bejing, China

Back in 2008, when China hosted the Olympics, Paddy’s became the unofficial social gathering of Olympians and those looking for tickets. As Clifford Coonan, the Times’ Beijing Correspondent recounts many a nights in the legendary bar: “Over the past eight years I’ve met oil engineers en route to Xinjiang province, luxury-car salesmen, Riverdancers, English teachers, Nigerian diplomats, Welsh musicians, US investment bankers (a lot of them) and a man who claimed to be on the run from international law-enforcement agencies...”

Paddy O'Sheas Bejing China Best Irish Pub

PJ O'Brien's - Sydney, Australia

Now how’s this for a claim to fame - PJ O’Brien’s is the top-seller of Guinness in the state of New South Wales. Irish Times correspondent Pádraig Collins describes the Irish pub down-under as having: “...a friendly atmosphere and a welcoming layout, which makes it look and feel like a proper Irish pub rather than a beer barn with a few signs telling you how many miles it is to Dublin.”

PJ O'brien's Sydney Australia Irish Pub

Stolly's - Paris, France

Stolly’s isn’t exactly an Irish pub, but more of an English punk dive that becomes sort-of Irish due to proximity. A favourite for Anglophones travelling in France. Irish Times correspondent, Tom Hennigan has this to say of the bar: “I’m not even sure if it is Irish, although everyone I knew in Paris over the years thought of it as such.” Kelsi from Manhattan reviews the tiny pub on Yelp: “..not much to it at first glance. It's a teeny tiny, dimly lit place in a little passage way. But the people. The bartenders are the friendliest, and easiest to get to know of any bar I've ever been to.”

Stollys Paris Irish Times Contest

There's Still Plenty of Time to Win!

Our #FromDocstoDublin contest is still going on strong. We're receiving tons of ballots everyday for the trip for 2 to Dublin that we're giving away.  Also, our social media feed is bursting at the seams with people that want to win a Toronto Pub Crawl Experience.  For more info on all our contests click on the picture below.