*** (3.5 stars)
This is a nice sports bar at the rear of the MGM Grand. There are lots of large screens so it’s a great place to watch a game.
The beer flights give you lots of flexibility to sample four of your choice, and there is an interesting menu, with excellent burger options. We also really like the salmon dip appetizer which was plenty for several people to share. Service was quick.
Michael Mina Pub 1842
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
***** (5 stars)
Roque offers a very extensive selection of beers on tap, and a really staggering list of beers in bottles and cans. There are many local offerings, and the list is brilliantly categorized by style, alcohol, bitterness and color. This was the most informative beer list I’ve ever seen, and is ther reason for their fifth star.
Unlike many of the beer-centric places in town, they also have a nice menu of sandwiches and pub food. The Silo was piled high with tender roast beef, and the grilled cheese panini was even better.
Service was fast and friendly, and there are darts and electronic games, plus live entertainment and special events most nights of the week.
3076 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806
10 hot garlic wings grilled
**** (4 stars)
If you’re in the Disney area and want to go someplace that’s filled with locals rather than tourists, this is the place. It’s a combination traditional Irish pub and sports bar.
There’s a decent selection of beers, with some local brews on tap, but the highlight is the food. It’s one of the few places in town where you can get the buffalo wings finished on the grill, which makes them crispy and not greasy. The hot + garlic parmesan coating is my favorite. Potato skins are also nicely done.
The food is a particularly good deal during happy hours, which extends until 7pm. Unfortunately they aren’t open for lunch, though.
There’s also an outside covered patio that is a hopping place in the evenings.
Kitty O’Shea’s Irish Pub and Buffalo Bar
8470 Palm Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32836
Pretzel bites to go
*** (3 stars)
This is a nice little sidewalk cafe and wine bar. The menu is extensive and we only had time for a snack, so I don’t have a lot of data points to go on. But I will say we were there in mid-afternoon, were the only customers, ordered a diet coke and espresso and pretzel bites, and the service was so slow we ended up having to take the pretzel bites to go. So I can’t recommend it if you’re in a hurry.
The pretzel bites, by the way, aren’t what you’re expecting. It’s actually a bowl of fondue with the pretzels floating in it. It was okay, but I wouldn’t have it again.
The 3rd Stop
8636 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Buffalo chicken salad
**** (4 stars)
This is a fairly authentic Irish pub that combines traditional Irish food with modern American sports bar grub. The decor is great, and there are lots of cozy little alcoves all around the perimeter of the dining area. An ornate, L-shaped bar occupies one corner. The only failing is the overly bright lighting.
Potato skins were heavily loaded with bacon and nicely crisped. The Buffalo wrap and Buffalo chicken salad were both good, maybe not the best Buffalo chicken in town, but certainly adequate.
Quite a few beers are available on tap, in bottles and cans, although I would wish for more stouts and porters than the meager selection.
Service was very friendly and prices are reasonable.
Hagan O’Reilly’s Irish Pub
16112 Marsh Rd
Winter Garden, FL 34787
Prime rib English cut
Toad in the hole
***** (5 stars)
Opened in 1922, Tam O’Shanter is one of LA’s oldest restaurants. Although it is owned by Lawry’s, the atmosphere is quite different, with cozy nooks and fireplaces everywhere throughout the rabbit warren of rooms.
As at Lawry’s, prime rib is a major attraction, but there are many other interesting dishes, some with an Old World history, such as Toad in the Hole, which here is served as a large Yorkshire Pudding filled with stew ingredients.
The wine list at first looks small, but it is simply compact. Extensive selections are available in every category, and pricing is reasonable.
Our server, Mark, was that rare mixture of professional waiter, interesting personality, and gracious host, and he made our evening a delight.
The Tam O’Shanter
2980 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
**** (4 stars)
This is one of the few good Mexican restaurants in the area. The food is a nice mix of authentic and creative. The focus here is on soft tacos and guacamoles and drinks. There’s a nice vibe from all the funky decorations, and an extensive bar for single businessmen at lunch time.
The Achiote Hummus was an interesting low-cal appetizer. The achiote chili flavor dominated, and the jicama was better for dipping than the cucumber.
Tacos Al Pastor De Pollo were authentically served on double corn tortillas. I’ve had pastor pork, but never chicken, and it was good, but not as rich as some. The traditional pieces of pineapple added a nice sweetness.
I would have liked to have tried more tacos, but each order includes two, and you can’t mix and match, which seems like an arbitrary restriction. The guy next to me wanted to buy three tacos, and you can’t do that, either. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with that arbitrary rule.
The highlight of my meal was actually the chips and salsa (sold as an appetizer). The chips were obviously home-made, and had puffed up like pomme souffle to give them a delicate yet somehow hearty crunch. The fact that they were slightly greasy could be forgiven, because of that great consistency. The accompanying green sauce had a slight hint of sweetness, and the red sauce had a strong ginger note that made it quite exotic. I couldn’t stop eating these!
The margarita was good if not remarkable. Service was friendly and attentive. The sidewalk dining is a bit too sunny at lunchtime, but might be nice in the evening.
Broken English Taco Pub
75 E Lake St
Chicago, IL 60601
*** (3 stars)
OK, I admit I’m not a huge fan of Irish pubs, but occasionally I’m dragged to one by my wife and discover the food is far above my expectations. This was not one of those times.
A general fogginess from the server about the characters of the beers and Irish spirits available did not bode well. Irish coffee was potable but not stellar, and they were out of the Jameson I ordered.
Sometimes you get decent American bar food in an Irish pub (this even happens in Ireland) so it’s not entirely stupid to order stuff like chili or a quesadilla. The chili was acceptable, the quesadilla about as mediocre as you’d guess.
But what should be really good is fish and chips, and indeed it was beautifully cooked, with a crispy brown batter. Unfortunately it was pretty greasy, and the fish, although tender and flaky had no flavor whatsoever. The accompanying fries were excellent, though.
There was one standout dish, though: the smoked gouda mac and cheese. It was the best thing I’ve ever had in an Irish pub, and the best mac and cheese I’ve had that didn’t involve lobster. This dish might by itself justify a return visit.
661 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
**** (4 stars)
This is about as authentic as an Irish pub gets. In fact, it’s more authentic than a few pubs I’ve been to in Ireland.
The decor is traditional and homey. The stew, fish and chips, and hen in a pot are all quite authentic. They even have the same traditional Irish nachos I had in Ireland. Seriously.
There’s a nice beer list that also include some local favorites, including some interesting stouts and porters.
Service is a bit better here than traditional Irish pub service, in that you don’t have to order at the bar.
This is probably the best pub I’ve been to in the US.
Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub & Eatery
544 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789