With four-leaf clovers and kelly-green signs sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, there's no mistaking that this area of the Bronx is predominantly Irish. But in Woodlawn, the culture runs far deeper than funny green hats on St. Patrick's Day. Irish immigrants have been settling in the neighborhood for years, carrying with them time-honored traditions that permeate the quaint, row house–lined streets. If you're craving a traditional Irish breakfast, Celtic jam sessions and more perfectly poured Guinnesses than you can shake a shillelagh at, Little Ireland should be your first stop in the Bronx. Nearby Van Cortlandt Park is ideal for a picnic or a round of golf, and at the end of the day, stop by one of the area's many pubs to throw back a brew with the locals.
Behan's Public House
4299 Katonah Ave., 718-652-9153
“However good the drinking, thirst is how it ends”—or so says an old Irish Gaelic expression. Test out the theory by pulling up a stool at this classic pub, where you can find many of the neighborhood's Irish locals having a cold one. While light beer is a popular choice at the pub, enjoy a glass of Ireland's finest (Guinness, of course) while reading excerpts from 20th-century Irish author Brendan Behan—the inspiration for the bar's name—on the wall. Stick around late enough and watch as the pub turns into a dance club.
Prime Cuts Irish Butchers
4338 Katonah Ave., 718-324-9262
A fixture of Woodlawn since 1998, this local butcher shop is a meat mecca for the neighborhood. It manufactures every last bit of its specialty products on-site—from blood pudding to corned beef (Prime Cuts cures its own) to Irish ham to a selection of pot pies. It's also a great place for a quick and hearty sandwich as well as a takeaway hot meal. Locals and visitors can also stock up on traditional Irish chocolates and sodas while waiting for their breakfast bacon.
4330 Katonah Ave., 718-798-1002
Enjoy fare like Irish stew, shepherd's pie and, of course, the ever-popular fish-and-chips. While this locals-dominated place has counters and stools, its business relies heavily on takeout. They also offer a huge Breakfast Munchie box for sharing a complete Irish breakfast feast.
Van Cortlandt Park
4370 Van Cortlandt Park East, 718-430-1890
This sprawling 1,146-acre park in the Bronx is the third-largest park in the City and boasts the nation's first public golf course. The Van Cortlandt Golf Course, which opened in 1895, offers rolling hills, well-placed water and trees and a 600-yard-plus hole that will challenge any seasoned pro. The park is also home to the nine-hole Mosholu Golf Course, which opened in 1914. (For more on the City's links, read NYC's 12 Best Golf Destinations.) In addition to golf, the park offers (naturally) tons of green space ideal for picnics, sports fields for the athletic and playgrounds for kids and the young at heart.
4292 Katonah Ave., 718-798-4510
“The House,” as regulars affectionately call it, is Woodlawn's definitive Irish pub and restaurant. Head to the bar side for selection of more than 25 draft beers, like old school Smithwick's or Killian's alongside the Bronx's own Gun Hill brewery. They also feature occassional live music on the weekends as well as a DJ. If you're hungry, make your way to the restaurant for great burgers, a fine shepherd's pie and the best corned beef and cabbage this side of the Atlantic.