Take your time on the naming of the pub…


The naming of the pub is a process that will stir up strong opinions from everyone involved. Where possible, the naming should only be carried out after the concept design or renderings are available.

The name of an Irish Pub should reflect the design and style of the Irish Pub. A Gaelic-style Irish Pub would incorporate Gaelic themes, family names are associated with cottage or Victorian pubs and place names would be used to associate themes throughout the pub. Irish Pubs that incorporate more than one theme or style can utilise the most appropriate style of name. If a pub contains Victorian, library, rustic or brewery themes, it would be possible to sub-name certain areas within the pub.

Typically, the best names for an Irish Pub will be the ones that become ‘diminutized’ as people become familiar with the offering. ( P.J. O’Brien’s to PJ’s, Paddy Mulligan’s to Paddy’s, Thomas O’Hanlon’s to O’Hanlon’s). Diminutives of the pub name will strongly indicate an attachment from consumers and send a warm marketing message when the pub is referred to in conversation.

In summary:

  1. The name cannot be too ‘jokey’
  2. The name must be easily pronounceable
  3. It should ‘diminutize’ easily without losing ‘Irishness’




The four most important considerations for naming your Irish Pub are:

  1. That consumers can intuitively interpret what the name of the pub represents; that this is NOT A TAVERN but a high quality, authentic Irish Pub serving excellent food in a very warm and fun atmosphere. (Naming the pub The Emerald Shamrock will kill any perception of quality)
  2. That the name over the door reflects what is within the pub. (we would probably not use a Victorian name for a Gaelic Pub)
  3. That the name reflects the high quality of the offering without reducing the informal fun element (calling the pub The Royal Hibernian evokes formality)
  4. That the name is distinctly and memorably Irish without use of words such as ‘green’, ‘shamrock’, ‘leprechaun’, ‘pot o’ gold’ etc.


The five most recognisable categories of names for Irish Pubs are:

  1. Gaelic Language Names

Names such as Tigin, Fado, Tir Na Nog, Slainte.Gaelic names can be unique and promote interest but can also be hard to pronounce and understand, and sometimes rely on a regular clientele to really ‘learn’ then ‘understand’ the name. The design would need to incorporate some Gaelic themes. The North American market may not necessarily associate Gaelic names with an Irish Pub.

  1. Irish Place Names

Names such as the Auld Dubliner, County Clare, Bunratty Castle, The Limerick, The Kells. These names are most appropriate when a high proportion of customers, often Irish, understand where the place name is from, and the significance of the place name. There would need to be an association with the place name incorporated into the design/bric-a-brac of the Pub.

  1. Humorous Names

Names such as Scruffy Murphy’s, Delaney’s Donkey, The Galway Hooker. While amusing, these names are frequently used on more downmarket pubs, and can attract negative feedback from the Irish community and those people with Irish heritage.

  1. Family Names

Names such as O’Byrne’s, Dillon’s, McGuinness, Fitzpatrick’s, O’Brien’s, O’Donoghue’s, John Power’s, Lynch’s, O’Brien’s. Most pubs in Ireland derive their name from the owner and it is important to ensure that the name is very clearly understood as Irish to the North American consumer. For example is a popular Irish name, but consumers might not recognise it as such. A name extension, such as P J McGinty and Son implies multiple family ownership and interest.

  1. Literary Names

Names such as O’Casey’s Kavanagh’s, Yeats’, Keane’s, Callaghan’s, Behan’s, Joyce’s, Oliver St.John Gogarty, Russell’s, Synge’s, Shaw’s, Donovan’s. Often names of famous writers and poets, these names are particularly appropriate in Victorian/Library themes. However, North American consumers may not always appreciate or understand the high quality message in this type of name, or indeed may not associate it with Ireland

Owner Insights
Irish pubs still live up to their “Publican” roots. It gives people a place to meet, socialize and converse.
Irish Pub Operator | NORTH CAROLINAView Owner Insights
Pub Facts

Most restaurant businesses have a food to beverage ratio of 75% to 25%. In Irish Pubs the ratio is usually closer to 50%/50%, making them significantly more profitable as a result of lower labor and product costs.