Soulard’s Liveliest Corner: John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden

 In Culture, Guide

What started as a one-room public house in 1978 is now a maze of bars, back-room hangouts and beautiful patios—all filled with customers enjoying food and drinks plus live music and sports on TV. McGurk’s fills 20,000 square feet on one of Soulard’s liveliest corners with ripples of Irish camaraderie. It starts with the drinks: Guinness is the default, but look a little deeper and you’ll discover an excellent range of local craft beers. The menu centers on Irish standbys like potato soup, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash and Irish stew. Yet somehow the toasted ravioli and other St. Louis favorites also feel right at home.

McGurk’s has a well-deserved reputation as a live music venue. Local musicians with a passion for Gaelic tunes can jam on stage. Well-known Irish groups make it a regular stop on U.S. tours. The house band, Falling Fences, plays every Sunday and occasional weekend late-night sets. Each genre has a dedicated fan base, which adds to the community vibe. But if music isn’t your thing, head toward the bars in the back rooms or on the all-weather patio, where the TVs are always tuned to sports.

While you’re in the neighborhood …

Chava’s Mexican Restaurant
Chris Ybarra’s popular restaurant, named for his grandfather, was one of the first ethnic eateries in Soulard.

925 Geyer Ave.
314.241.5503

Pieces: The Original St. Louis Board Game Bar & Café
At Pieces, customers can check out nearly 1,000 board games and play them while eating, drinking and relaxing.

1535 S. 8th St.
314.230.5184

Mission Taco Joint
Margaritas and street food—tacos, burritos, tortas—are a simple menu for success at this second of four local Mission Taco locations.

908 Lafayette Ave.
314.858.8226

This story originally appeared in Guided: Soulard + Benton Park, available now in a digital issue and in print at these locations.

Images courtesy of Carmen Troesser.

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