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Irish bars in Central America

Irish Bars in Central America (Or Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this Weekend)

If you’re in Central America searching for a place to wet your whistle this St. Patrick’s Day, look no further. Here are five Irish bars in Central America to celebrate in 2024 (plus honorary Irish places for the day in Belize and Nicaragua).

Are you in Central America looking for a place to tie one on and celebrate this weekend? If you’re Irish, you might well be. This coming Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day, the celebration of all things Irish.

Once upon a time, St. Paddy’s Day – and yes, it’s “Paddy’s” NOT “Patty’s”, as many Americans miscall it – was primarily a religious and cultural festival. Now, amid some consternation, it’s associated with drinking. We’ve spoken quite a lot about stereotypes here, and the devolvement of St. Patrick’s Day into a booze-fest because the Irish typically “like a drink or two” is something many Irish have mixed feelings about. It’s understandable.

But the St. Patrick’s Day drinking tradition has historical roots, believe it or not. March 17th normally falls during Lent. Back in the day, Ireland observed Lent with fasting and no drinking. St. Patrick’s Day provided a one-day time out from that, a day when the church allowed you to let your hair down, eat something and have a pint.

And so it snowballed from there.

Nowadays, everyone treats St. Patrick’s Day as a day to drink, no matter how tenuous their Irish roots might be. If you can’t beat them you might as well join them, right?

So what do you do if you’re in Central America on St. Patrick’s Day?

Central America doesn’t have a large Irish diaspora, unlike elsewhere in the world. It’s true many Irish came over to Latin America with the Spanish in colonial times, and thrived. A man called Bernardo O’Higgins was the first ruler of an independent Chile.

If people still used phone books, they’d see plenty of listings starting with O’ in Chile, Argentina, and elsewhere in South America. But not so much in Central America, which was always a backwater under the Spanish. No big Irish diaspora here. No Irish pub on every corner selling Guinness.

We have a few Irish bars in Central America, though

Central America didn’t escape the boom in Irish bars that exploded around the world in the 90s and early 2000s. We’re the first to admit that most Irish bars in Central America are not authentic, meaning they’re not ran by Irish people, but they can still provide a good time, especially on St. Paddy’s Day.

So whether you’re as green-eyed and Irish as the River Shannon itself, whether you’re a plastic Paddy who thinks they’re Irish, or whether you have no connection with Ireland and just love the craic, here are a few Irish bars in Central America you can enjoy this weekend and the rest of the year.

Craic Irish Pub, San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica has a real dearth of Irish pubs. A few have come and gone over the years, but Craic Irish Pub in La Cali endures. Their St. Paddy’s Day party is actually on Saturday the 16th, giving you Sunday to enjoy your hangover.

Murphy’s California Kitchen, Panama City, Panama

I remember when there was a small handful of Irish pubs in Panama City, Panama. Never many, no, but a couple. Guess the pandemic nixed everything. There’s still one savior of all things Irish in Panama, though. And that’s Murphy’s California Kitchen on Via Argentina, which as always one of the best parts of Panama City to be out and about in. They have a bunch of activities deals lined up for Sunday if you feel like celebrating the big day.

Republik Bar, San Salvador, El Salvador

Situated in the Zone Rosa, Republik offers live music most nights and a great party vibe like you were in Dublin’s Temple Bar district itself and not in El Salvador. It’s always St. Paddy’s Day here, and this weekend they’re doing it in their signature style with 80s rock and live bands. The party is on Saturday the 16th, though – looks like they’re closed on Sunday!

McAllister’s Irish Pub, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

One wouldn’t usually associate Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with anything remotely Irish. But McAllister’s gets rave reviews and is one of the city’s favorite watering holes. Of all the Irish bars in all of Central America, this one is probably the most established, and they’re celebrating St. Paddy all week long. They say the fish and chips here are to die for, so that’s reason alone to drop by anytime.

The Snug, Antigua, Guatemala

Jamesons, Guinness, Irish stew, and music. There’s not much that comes more Irish than that, and The Snug has it all. If you’re in Antigua, Guatemala, you know where you should be heading on Sunday – get there early enough and you might get a free breakfast. Most people we know who live in Antigua swear by this place year-round.

Some honorary Irish fun for today….

The bars listed above in Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are really the best of what’s here when it comes to proper Irish pubs. But that doesn’t stop the Paddy’s Day fun elsewhere around the region:

Isabella’s Bar, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Like Panama, I remember Irish pubs in Nicaragua. It might seem strange now, but there used to be a true Irish pub in Granada, on the Calle Calzada, and another couple scattered around the town. I also remember a place in quite a rough part of Managua with an interesting back story involving The Troubles (I’ll say no more). Those days are gone, though.

But… if you’re in San Juan del Sur looking for the craic on Sunday, than Isabella’s Bar is arranging a party involving themselves and fellow local watering hole, Republika. These aren’t Irish bars but they will be fun places to celebrate.

The Barefoot Beach Bar, Placencia, Belize

Feel like celebrating your Paddy’s Day on the shores of the Caribbean Sea? Well, if you’re in Placencia, Belize, head over to the Barefoot Beach Bar. They’re having a special St. Patrick’s Day spread with themed drinks and a party vibe. We know this place isn’t an Irish bar, per se, but we’re in Belize so who cares?

By this stage you might have already started drinking – after all, it’s Wednesday!

Maybe you’re in one of the Irish bars in Central America or maybe you’re creating your own craic somewhere else. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this weekend, have a good one.

Sláinte! Salud! Cheers!

James Dyde is the editor of He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.

James Dyde

James Dyde

James Dyde is a British immigrant to Costa Rica and the editor of this website. He has lived in Central America since 2000 and retains a deep love for the region. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.