Get Your Irish On

Mar 4, 2013 by

Get Your Irish On
As we turn the page to the third month of the calendar, many of us set our sights on the kind of fun that can only be found inside the warm and welcoming walls of an Irish-style pub. For these good time seekers, there’s no better way to spend the Ides of March or celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with a cold pint, a hearty meal, spirited conversation and lively music. Is the lure of the Irish pub calling you? Don’t go digging for your passport. The experience you crave is waiting for you at two energetic taverns right here in Atlantic City. Try them both and enjoy the spirit of “C’ead Mile Failte” — a hundred thousand welcomes.

Irish Pub & Inn

Irish Pub & Inn
164 St. James Place
609-344-9063

Atlantic City’s Irish Pub & Inn has been a beacon of hospitality since 1903. Originally constructed as the Elwood Hotel, the Victorian-style inn and restaurant were transformed into a roaring speakeasy during prohibition. (Yes, chances are good that Nucky drank here.) The historic hotel was purchased and remodeled in 1972 and the Irish Pub was born.

This beloved AC tavern is located right at the beach and Boardwalk on St. James Place, an address that will be familiar to Monopoly lovers everywhere. Speaking of Monopoly, here’s a fun bit of trivia: the game’s iconic red hotels were modeled after the shape of the Irish Pub & Inn.

Step through the Irish Pub’s doors and you instantly know it’s the real deal. The atmosphere is dark and appealing. The wood is ample and worn. The booths are deep and inviting. The vibe is cozy and authentic. The ceilings are decorated with tin tiles and old newspapers. The walls are adorned with Irish memorabilia and photos of celebrities from politics, sports and show business from 1898 to 1935.

The menu is homemade and brimming with pub specialties including fish and chips and the corned beef special. Around St. Patrick’s Day, stop in for a bowl of the Irish Pub’s homemade potato soup, an annual tradition. All year long, this lively tavern offers blackboard lunch specials starting at just $4.00 and dinner specials for just $8.50. That’s right; we said dinner for just $8.50. See that – you’re feeling better already!

Of course no visit to the Irish Pub is complete without a cold one. Beer is what you want to drink when you visit a pub. Belly up to the bar and choose from a good selection that includes Irish favorites like Harp, Killian’s, Murphy’s and the thick-as-a-milkshake Guinness pints.

The party reaches epic proportions during Atlantic City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which takes place Saturday, March 16 this year. Hundreds of fun seekers claim their spots on the Boardwalk to watch the green-spangled marching bands, string bands, Irish step dancers, bagpipers and floats go by, then head inside to the Irish Pub for an all-day Irish “hooley.”

For those who work on St. Patrick’s Day and can’t take part in the festivities, the Irish Pub created “Bag Day.” Starting at 9 a.m. every March 18, partygoers don paper bags on their heads and quickly catch up on the revelry that they missed. The Irish Pub’s mantra of “No Bag, No Booze” means all patrons wear a bag to drink.

With affordable food, great beer and a lively and boisterous crowd, you may never want to leave the Irish Pub. And the good news is you don’t have to. The fun is flowing 24 hours a day and rooms in the European-style inn upstairs start at just $25 per night. Shoppers, be sure to take a swing through the gift shop to browse a line of authentic Irish imports including décor, accessories and sweaters.

Rí Rá Irish Pub

Rí Rá Irish Pub
The Quarter, Tropicana
609-348-8600

While newer to the Atlantic City scene, Rí Rá’s Irish heritage is longstanding. In fact, it’s literally built-in. The entire pub is constructed from authentic salvage pieces dating back to 1844, including parts of the original Henry Grattan Pub in Dublin. The Irish pub tradition is evident in the ornate centerpiece behind the bar, complete with turned wood and gilded mirrors.

And the tradition doesn’t stop there. The menu is a happy blend of Emerald Isle specialties and more Americanized elevated pub fare. If you’re in the mood for dishes that are authentic, hearty and filling, order up a plate of Cottage Pie, a bowl of Irish Stew or the Emigrant’s Corned Beef and Cabbage platter. The Kilbeggan Salmon is stuffed with crab, shrimp and brie and served with champ, a fabulous combination of mashed potatoes, onions, butter and milk. Rí Rá’s version of fish and chips features North Atlantic Haddock with hand cut chips and Irish remoulade.

Guinness fans can enjoy their favorite stout in the sauce of Rí Rá’s pub wings and the Guinness BBQ burger. Swing by for lunch to try the The Kilcooly, which is not only fun to say but downright delicious. This robust sandwich is a mouthwatering concoction made with deli turkey, smoked bacon and sliced apple, topped with melted cheddar and stacked on grilled sourdough bread spread with cranberry mayo. Bet your mouth is watering now.

Morning comes on your schedule with the All Day Irish Breakfast. Billed as “a proper fry up,” this dish will keep you fuelled and happy with two eggs, Irish sausages and rashers (sliced Irish bacon for those taking notes at home). Rounding out this authentic breakfast are black and white puddings (we won’t tell you what’s in those until you’ve tried them), a slice of grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms and toast.

Let’s talk beer. You’ll find more than 70 varieties on the bar menu at Rí Rá including Irish draught favorites Guinness, Smithwicks and Harp. Taste all three with the Taste the Trio special. Or rally three friends to join you for the Draft Sampler, offering 11 draft beers, one wooden paddle and four tasting glasses. Like your beer on the sweet side? Try a Harp or Smithwicks Shandy, mixed with lemonade.

To truly experience all sides of Rí Rá, stay for Rí Rá late night, when the bar area transforms into party central with popular cover bands, acoustic sing-alongs and authentic performers straight from Ireland.

Lively and festive, the Irish pubs of Atlantic City are the perfect places to gather with friends, meet new people and enjoy food and drink with a hearty dose of Celtic creativity. We look forward to sharing a pint with you!