Being a few minutes early for Sunday’s brunch at Farmer’s Market two doors down, my wife and I settled into IRISH PUB this cold and blustery December ’12 morning. With locations in Atlantic City and down the road a half-mile at Rittenhouse Square (Walnut and 20th), this generic-named prohibition-styled Center City saloon opened December ’80 across from the historic Forrest Theatre. Offering ‘Irish soul and American attitude,’ the charmingly rustic watering hole brings affordable drink specials and good pub fare to urban hipsters, local denizens and thirsty out-of-towners.
Gorgeous walnut furnishings provide interior comfort and the forest green ceiling (with exposed ducts) features stenciled emblems in the front barroom and embossed copper tin tiles in the Wain’s-coated walnut dining section directly behind. A large wood mural with mirrored midsection, three tap fountains (with 18 total taps) and a lively assortment of booze center the left bar. Multiple TV’s and old posters line the walls as Thin Lizzy’s classic rocker “The Boys Are Back In Town” blasts from the speakers.
I settle into the tapped version of lemon-soured, peach-molded, orange-bruised, Belgian candi-sugared Flying Fish Winter Cru Grand Cru just as Edgar Winter’s emphatic “Free Ride” begins playing. My wife grabs a coffee and starts chatting with a world traveling Philly native while bartender Isaac Rose reminisces about favorite libations.
Though we didn’t get to sample the food, Rose recommended the nachos, burgers and buffalo wings. Buried right in the heart of downtown Philly, Irish Pub makes for a fine sportsbar or casual dining experience.