This post is over two years in the making, but only because I just learned how to use Word. It took longer for Bald Tony and I to complete this arduous Irish/Vegas pubcrawl than it took Frodo and Sam to journey to Mordor. Granted, we would have remained at the Green Dragon until the orcs razed the place, but, who knows, maybe Sauron would have kept us on as Middle-Earth beer tasters? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Yes Mr. Winslow, I just compared you to a dark sorcerer, but in a good way…really. Oh, on that note, I’ve just released a Nazgul toward Barad dur with our receipts.
My first visit to Sin City I realized this place took its Guinness seriously. So I finally assembled the pile of bar napkins, coasters, and scribbled notes into one comprehensive list of Vegas’ best of the best. This is my crowning achievement. This is the stuff of legacy and legend (sadly accurate where I am concerned). This top 10 list is by no means all inclusive. It’s the best on-line to date, at least for the moment. This is an attempt to rate the best Irish pubs anywhere in the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area. I actually pissed in all the corners, so I know the territory fairly well, but if you feel we missed your establishment just hit our Contact Us button and we’ll be there. Seriously, if you click the button we’ll be there within ten minutes. Or the pizza’s free. On the other hand, getting us to leave…I can offer no advice.
About 10 places did not make the cut, so let us never speak of them again. An honorable mention type shout out to the Crown & Anchor—a place completely disqualified for being an English Pub. Nevertheless it’s a great place with rare outdoor seating. I like the one on E. Tropicana; the little one on Spring Mountain is cramped and looks to have once been a Long John Silver’s. Oh, and Hennessey’s is number 11, because our lists go to 11. I like Hennessey’s. It’s located amidst the Fremont Street Experience—old Vegas, Hunter S. Thomson Vegas. This place gets a nod for location, location, location, but the pint, meanwhile, needs some improvement.
The Mulligan (not to be confused with Mulligan’s video poker) Award goes to the Todd English P.U.B. (public urban bar), located at City Center. Whereas I enjoyed the Double Grimmbergen very much, their Guinness remains the highest I have ever paid for a taste of old St. James’ Gate to date. It’s like nine bucks! And it’s among the most tasteless versions ever! I have notified the Men in Green (MIGs), who will be there shortly…and may the Lucky Charms leprechaun piss in your corn flakes.
I found it easier to break these puppies into tiers (within tiers there’s not as much difference in quality). And now, without further adieu, the much anticipated Top 10:
Tier 3 (the two that barely made the cut):
10. J.C. Wooloughans:
Truly the biggest disappourment. It’s located in the Rampart Casino, about as west as you can get and still be in Vegas. It happens to be ranked number 2 on another Irish pub listing. Oh, it’s number 2 all right. Where’s the TP? Maybe I hit it at a bad time, but I certainly wasn’t going to order another one, especially after a dry and uninspired turkey sandwich to boot. Boooo! I will never darken your doorstep again and, I assure you, this has nothing to do with your decision to bar me. This 10th spot is clearly in danger. So hit our Contact Us button Irish pub owner type peeps and I will gladly knock this bitch down a notch. And, remember, for a free pint you get a Discord exclusive. Yes, we are stout whores.
9. Murphy’s Law:
This is another one that is supposed to be a very highly rated joint, but I just wasn’t that impressed. This one is in danger of falling off the list as well. It might have lost some of its luster since I hit two of the medal winners in the same day, aka, it pale ale’d in comparison. Sorry, a pour joke for sure.
Tier 2 (solid pints of Guinness worthy of a stop):
8. Three Angry Wives:
Let’s be clear here. This is a sports bar. It has an awesome name, but Vegas needs to stop catering to the global ADHD populations. Vegas is a shiny neon, ever-changing ball that calls out to anyone who forgot to take their Ritalin that day. But I still have no use for sports bars outside of hockey season. The pint was surprisingly good, but let us never speak of it again.
7. Quinn’s (formerly Fado):
This place is located in the Green Valley Ranch Casino complex in Henderson. Same tap set up as Fado, just new owners. It has the slightest of bites in the after taste, but otherwise a solid pint…if I don’t slobber so myself.
6. Brendan’s (formerly Brendan’s):
Located in the Orleans Hotel, only a stone’s throw away from one of our medal winners, this place has no business being this good! We were only there to hit the comedy club next door. The guy literally poured the beer straight into a large hefe glass. He filled that wheat beer glass to the top in one shot and then swung the bitch over to me. No shit. My jaw dropped and I may have lost control of my bladder—which is unrelated, yet still noteworthy. Am I missing something? besides my adult diapers? Does that technique work in a hefe glass? I’m thinking this was more about beginner’s luck than anything else, because after the beer settled, some six hours later, it was damn good. BWTF??!
5. Sean Patrick’s:
A good Irish name. Admittedly, I was kind of drunk when I was here, but this didn’t hurt the scoring, nor should it. Vegas Great Bald Tony said I declared “this pint ROCKS!” before being escorted out. And his word is good…well, in increasingly small circles.
4. Auld Dubliner (a class by itself):
This is nearly top tier. It’s kind of in a class by itself (see earlier parenthesis). It’s just a smidge below the medal round, yet way better than most of the second tier rabble. Nice and creamy. The Auld Dubliner, in Lake Las Vegas Village, is actually a chain of about eight locations across the southwest. It had a nice set up and friendly staff….Kudos! I really like this place. This is the only top ten’r I journeyed to without the Great Bald One and, as those of you who know me can attest, I really should be supervised.
The Village is a Europeanesque group of restaurants and bars complete with cobblestone streets and piazzas (I recommend the pepperoni). By the way, they call every stinky little canal in the southwest a lake. Come to think of it, the smell probably adds some authenticity to the place. I’m waiting for them to name one of them Canal Superior or something. Let’s hope our failing economy doesn’t kill The Village too quickly as it is about the most unique spot this side of Tuscany. Oh, and Candace and Whitney were great hostesses who both thwarted my advances like pros (aka, the usual).
Tier 1 (The Medal Round!!!):
This is the best all around Irish pub in Vegas! And probably the best overall establishment as well. It’s just west of the Strip and it’s a real Irish pub—not some casino nook carve out, or mall-mart special like the rest of these posers. The layout is awesome, the beer is wonderful, the food is great, and there’s a rare outside area to enjoy your brew in the sunny Mohave. This is one of my happy places.
2. Nine Fine Irishmen:
This place is the more traditional winner. It’s actually the winner, but just about everyone designates this place as numero uno and I am not everyone. I have been to Nine Fine Irishmen six or seven times now and I have never had anything but the perfect pint. They go through so many kegs each day—about nine (ten when I’m there)—and it’s just such a fresh wonderful pour every time. It’s located in the New York New York casino and it’s another one of my happy places. Start spreading the brews! Sorry. It’s the Guinness talking…trust me, it’s better than what it says later.
And the winner is…wait for it…
Actually, I placed Ri’ Ra’ as #1 just as a shocker. Nine Fine Irishmen and this place are both neck and neck, but wow did they put a pint in front of me. Ri’ Ra’ set out to make a statement in the Las Vegas world and I want to help them in their quest. Is it better than our number two and three contestants? Not sure, but it’s awesome and it’s been there about three minutes, so I urge you to check it out. In the malls where I am from they had Spencer Gifts and the Gap…this place could make me a Smithian Mall Rat out of me yet.
Umm, but we didn’t get off on the right foot with the Ri’ Ra’ians. Three pretty women in black (WIB) were guarding the door. Are you the gate keeper? Apparently, a high roller had rented the whole joint out for a private party, so we were not permitted into the establishment, per se. Sadly, I relayed some un-pleasantries (not directed at the pretty ladies, of course, but I asked them to pass along our general disgust to the high roller in question). Didn’t they recognize Vegas Great Bald Tony? Well, they’re new, so we’ll cut them some slack. My vision of this “private party” was of a bunch of wine spritzer, non-Guinness drinking Mafioso types, watching a football game…Notre Dames vs. Notre Dudes or some nonsense (sorry MJ!).
So outside of Ri’ Ra’ I had this moment of profound sadness and angst—of fear and loathing, if you will. We had only come to the Mandalay Bay region for the christenings of this latest of Vegas Strip Irish pubs. Now we would have to settle for free pictures with Pete Rose at the Sound of Music next door. NOOOoooooo! Damn you Ri’ Ra’!!
I told Tony, “I have to get in there! They have, not one, but two of those groovy Celtic doohickey’s over their name. It has to be good!”
So I coaxed Tony into heading down an adjacent hallway where we were able to sneak in the backdoor, albeit barely, and made our way barward. Within a few minutes, not only were we enjoying one of the best Guinness pints EVER, but the bartender, Fitzy, took my picture to commemorate our awful deed.
|I really look like that…it’s the lightening, really
Fitzy hails from New Jersey, or so he told me with a thick Irish accent. Ri’ Ra’ means fun, excitement, and ruckus. It’s also the same letters as the Real Irish Republican Army, so what better place to do an Irish car bomb? Of course, now that I Googled Real Irish Republican Army, I will never be allowed to fly to Ireland, but isn’t America awesome!
On the way out Tony talked me out of my idea to tell the women, you know, the ones who wouldn’t let us in:
“Mr. Such & such is not pleased you turned away his close personal friends. He would like to speak to you immediately.”
In Riraspect, Tony was probably right. The beer was great, Fitzy was great, and eventually I need to learn to behave myself.
Congrats Ri’ Ra’!!!