Food & Drink

7 Signs You’re in a Bullsh*t Irish Pub

A quality Irish pub is about more than dark wood panelling and pints of Guinness. While we don’t expect every stateside pub to live up to the watering holes of Dublin, we can’t abide wannabe bars passing themselves off as Irish pubs. Here are a few telltale signs that you’re in a bullsh*t Irish pub.

Guinness, Baileys and Jameson Are the Only Irish Brands Served

The Emerald Isle produces more than those three ubiquitous household brands—delicious as they all may be. An authentic pub will make the effort to branch out with labels like Redbreast, Bushmills and Tullamore DEW. Great ones might even include some lesser known bottles.

It’s Decorated in Mass-Produced Chachkies Instead of Heirlooms

Every metropolitan “pub” seems to buy the same shamrock paraphernalia and leprechaun miscellanea. If you experience deja vu from the decorations or spot a four-leaf clover (shamrocks only sport three), consider relocating to a true Irish bar, where they hang family photos on the wall and legit heirlooms—no matter how off-putting or weird (see: McSorley's wishbones).

Your Bartender Can’t Pull a Pint of Guinness Correctly

The perfect pint of Guinness calls for a six-step pouring process. There’s a reason the brand advertises with the line, “Good things come to those who wait.” The correct pour takes time. If your pint arrives in record time, it’s a clear sign the pub isn’t the real deal.

They Throw a “St. Patty’s Day” Party

Patty is short for Patricia. Paddy is short for Patrick and the correct nickname for the saint. Mixing up the two isn’t a cardinal sin, but it is a sure indicator of a faux pub. We would also accept Pat, Podge and of course Patrick.

The TVs Play the Wrong Kind of Football

Ask the bartender to switch the TV to the football game. If he or she pops over to the Jets game, you’ve got trouble. If the players on the pitch are kicking around a round ball with white and black spots, you’re in the right place. If Gaelic football comes on, check outside to make sure you haven’t somehow magically teleported to Dublin.

They Play the “Wrong” Irish Songs

Authentic Irish music won’t make or break an Irish pub’s cred (as long as the music is quality, we don’t much care if it’s top 40 or Celtic rock), but if the bar plays fake Irish tunes like “Galway Girl” or “The Unicorn Song,” then the DJ (and probably the rest of the staff) is totally unaware of true Irish entertainment. We don’t blame you for skipping the pub with the live band if that’s not your scene, but at least stick to bars that play real Irish drinking songs.

They Serve Irish Car Bombs

Ask for an Irish Car Bomb at a true Irish pub, and you’re as likely to get served a death glare as that offensively monikered Depth Charge. (Ask for one in Ireland and you might be extradited.) The drink is named for a not so glamorous time in Ireland’s recent past, so any bar that serves one without cajoling a grimace from the bartender’s face is a sad excuse for an Irish establishment.