McCarthy's Irish Bar


11 Ratings

Type: Bar

117 S Upper St
Lexington, Kentucky, 40507-1645
United States

(859) 258-2181 | map

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Added by clvand0

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Ratings: 11 |  Reviews: 5
Photo of DotCummins
1.83/5  rDev -34.2%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 3.25 | selection: 1.75

Great place to get raped.

25 characters

Photo of Buschyfor3
2.79/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2.75 | selection: 2.5

Photo of Ts1991
3/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
2.5/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of JustinSparks
3/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of CraftMe14
3/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of keeganfrank
3/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 2

McCarthy's is operated by Irish immigrants and has the authentic Irish ambiance you would expect from such an establishment. The bar is always clean, despite what the rustic decor may lead you to believe. This isn't a place for people who need frills, chatty bartenders or a million televisions to be impressed. It's cozy and quiet during the day; a good place to get together with a few friends and have a pint. Late night when the students pile in it gets pretty loud and crowded, though. The beer selection is not for connoisseurs-Harp, Smithwick's, Guinness, Budweiser and Kentucky Ale (as well as Magner's cider) on tap and about a dozen brews in the cooler-if I recall correctly, they have the usual BMC selection, Heineken, Amstel Light, Samuel Adams lager and seasonal, Kentucky Ale and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. The bar does not serve food but it does have menus for places in the area that deliver and there's a fish & chip shop next door.

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Photo of ltjska04
2.44/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.5

This place is packed on weekends when class is in session. It's usually overflowing later at night, but it's not too bad if you get there early. It is dark and dirty looking, but can be fun with a group of people. There's sometimes live music out back, but it gets so smokey out there that it gets hard to breathe. The bathrooms get so nasty that I would hold it if possible. I usually went for the $7 pitcher of Amber Bock which is a pretty good deal. Other than that the beer selection is slim. There are better places in Lexington, but this is one of the ones I would frequent most downtown.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.63/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2

McCarthy's Irish Bar is not among my top choices as a beer destination in Lexinton.

Last visit: October 31, 2008.

It is however the most traditional Irish Bar in town. It is heavily frequented by local Irishmen after a day's work in the horse industry. On Thursday-Saturday night however, the bar gets infested with yuppies, jocks, and pretty college people.

But enough of that, you're interested in the beers. Guiness, Bass, Harp. That's it unless you are interested in a cider or the BudMillerCoors brands. The English-Irish beers will run you about $5 each.

Don't let this completely deter you. The Irish whiskys are nice and the ambiance is pure. True to form, the rustic decor is clad with dark woods, green paint, horse memorabilia, and a non-pretentious comfort. Dimly lit and a bit too rustic, the place could use a make-over and a mop.

No food, no games, no frills. They have a juke box and a few televisions that hang above the bars and that's it for entertaining. The bar is connected to the adjacent Spyder's Web bar- they are basically on in the same. The padio's out back make for a good time relaxing with a beer and catching up on conversation.

Both bars are along a side street, off of Main Street in the more historical area of Downtown. Access is directly off of the Upper Street sidewalk. It's kinda 'hole-in-the-wall-ish'. As you can imagine, parking is on-street or in a nearby garage/lot. Parking can be a hastle at peak times.

I visit the bar a couple times a year when catching up with friends. If you are in the downtown are and if this sounds good to you then a stop-over for a quality Guiness is in order. I do not recommend the McCarthy's for the serious beer enthusiast.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
2.93/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5

Well, the outside dark green paint made it seem Irish and the beer is Irish, but the building and bar seem like a bit of a seedy old stable or such. Very dank and musty smelling, this spot has an odd appeal due to its old wood and the trap door floor that has a ladder leading down to a cellar for the beer storage.

Outdoor seating areas are nicely built and fenced, but have no view at all. The patronage looked a bit crusty and tapped out, and the servers seemed more bored than pleased to be there. The beer is basically Guinness, Harp, et al, and the macros limted as well. Not a beer drinkers haven methinks.

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Photo of clvand0
3.15/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3

McCarthy's is a regular Irish pub located in downtown Lexington. They don't ever have cover nor do they have live bands, but they play (usually) traditional Irish music loudly over the speakers. The bar area is really neat because they have plaques all over it with (I think) horse names who have won big races, but I could be wrong about that - it's been a while since I've paid attention to them. The prices are very run of the mill and the selection is pretty average. They have the mainstream Irish beers such as Guinness and Harp and then they have the American standards such as bud, miller, coors, woodchuck. This place is the hangout for quite a few local Irish immigrant locals. It can become really packed on the weekend nights because there is no cover and the prices are respectable - which adds to the atmosphere because it gives the feeling that it is a real Irish Pub. Also, they do not serve food.

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McCarthy's Irish Bar in Lexington, KY
2.78 out of 5 based on 11 ratings.
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