Irish Pub Music Venues Across USA

Discussion in 'Books' started by DoctorJones24, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. DoctorJones24

    DoctorJones24 Member

    Aug 26, 1999
    I know there's a handful of you out there who enjoy nothing better than a few pints of the black stuff and some great rebel songs. Where do you go in your neck of the woods? This could be helpful for travellers looking for a good spot on the road.

    I'll start with two places:

    1) Mahogany Shoals, Block Island, RI
    House bard is Walter McDonough, an aging folk singer from Galway who used to play the New Haven circuit. Far and away the best Irish folk singer I've ever seen--totally a one man show, and the crowd is usually locals (noone else can even find the bar, more on that in a second) who sit in rapt attention as he leads into a song with a Yeats or James Stephens poem. Also refuses and mocks any tourist who suggests he plays "Unicorn" or "Danny Boy" or so on. Final note: the bar is a tiny little place partially on a dock, well away from the central bar area on the island. I'd say it only holds about 50 people, so get there early. During the winter, btw, Walter used to play at a place called Sullivan's in Key West. Not sure if he still does this or not.

    2) Mickey Finn's, Toledo, OH
    Every 17th of every month they bring in top Irish bands from the bigger Ohio cities. Also get some Pogues cover bands once in a while on weekends. Great atmosphere, with very nicely finished "Irish pub" feel. The guy put a lot of $ into the place, and it shows. Unfortunately, it's in a crap neighborhood off by itself. Seems to be surviving though.

    I also used to go to the two big Boston ones a lot, The Black Rose and The Purple Shamrock, but they always felt a bit too crowded and chaotic for my taste. Still they both do ALWAYS have Irish music going on, mostly every night, I'd say. Right next to Fanueil Hall in Boston.

    There was also a very good Irish pub in KC, in that shopping area called the "plaza" I think? Forget the name of the pub, but a good friend's brother is one of the managers. Not sure about music there though.

  2. MeridianFC

    MeridianFC Member

    Jul 26, 1999
    Washington, DC USA
    The only one in DC worth its salt for music is Nanny O'Briens in Cleveland Park. They have a traditional session on Monday and Wednesday (there used to be something on Sunday but I think that's done). Some of the better players from around like Conor Malone (he had a bit part in the Commitments) and Brendan Mulvihill (all Ireland champion fidler) play there.

    One the best ballad singers who plays herebouts is John McGrath. He's from Port Stewart, NI and has a wonderful voice and nice fretwork. Very low key.

    Having worked in an Irish Bar (Murphy's in Woodley Park) for years I can barely stand the sound of "Wild Colonial Boy" or "Finnegan's ************ing Wake". Most of the mooks on the folk circuit here suck.

    I think the Scottish bar the Royal Mile in Kensington, MD has a session on weekends, but I'm not positive.

    What is it with there being about a thousand "Irish" bars in every town in these United States?

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