Everyone is Irish at all the great Irish pubs in and around the Atlanta area this St. Patrick's Day. Atlanta has a vibrant Irish community, but you don't have to be from the old country to enjoy a drink (or two) and some grub. Some of the proprietors of these establishments can trace their family roots back to Ireland; others are from America and have taken the best of what they've experienced at other pubs around the country and have brought that to Atlanta. Read on for some of the most authentic Irish pubs around the Atlanta area.
273 Buckhead Ave. NE, Atlanta
Fado is the granddaddy of Irish pubs in Atlanta. This Buckhead institution is known for hosting some of the biggest soccer parties you'll find anywhere, but the pub is rocking every day of the week. You can imagine what St. Patrick's Day will be like. Even Chicago friends of mine who are soccer fanatics and Irish pub connoisseurs know the lure of Fado.
When it comes to food and drink, try anything, and try it all. From the legendary fish and chips to the corned beef and Swiss, Fado will be ready for St. Patrick's Day and the 364 days that follow it.
Donovan's Irish Cobbler
1025 Rose Creek Drive, Woodstock
Donovan's is billed as "Where Irish and Central Illinois Traditions Meet the South." It really is true -- this is a Southern Irish pub with a Midwestern flair.
Illinois residents Mike LaRue and Brandon Poteet moved to the Atlanta area with Donovan's in mind. What is now standing is nothing short of amazing. The food is great, the drinks are cold, and don't pass up the cobbler for dessert.
There are traditional pub dishes on the menu, but also some surprises -- for example, the Horseshoe sandwich. "As we grew up in Illinois, we loved to eat a dish called the 'Horseshoe,' which originated in Springfield," explained LaRue. "We decided to bring the Horseshoe to Georgia and introduce it to [customers] along with our Irish traditions." The original Horseshoe is made up of thick slices of toast topped with a horseshoe-shaped slice of ham and smothered with a Welsh sauce made with white cheddar. The whole thing is topped with French fries.
Customer service is really what Donovan's is all about. "We [owners] are working right along with the staff every day here in the restaurant," added LaRue. "If something isn't right, we make it right."
1625 Ridenour Blvd. NW, Kennesaw
4401 Shallowford Road NE, Roswell
"My favorite place to hang out," said Matt Taylor, 35, who lives in the Barrett Parkway area of Cobb County.
Taylor isn't the only one who feels that way, as the West Cobb location of this pub is packed just about every night of the week.
The secret here is the food coupled with a friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere. The food is better than average, whether you try the bangers and mash or the tasty pub chicken. Keegan's offers daily drink specials and trivia nights to keep you entertained. They also bring in live music on the weekends.
While Keegan's used to be the best-kept secret in Cobb County, that is no longer the case. Arrive early for St. Patrick's Day -- maybe a day early.
Meehan's Public House
200 Peachtree St., Atlanta
Downtown Atlanta hasn't been the same since this Meehan's opened. Irish pubs mean music, and while you might hear "Molly Malone" or "Danny Boy" at Meehan's, you'll also be able to enjoy all the sports action on the many televisions and the great food on the menu.
Meehan's tells you to "grab a seat," and you'd better get there early to do so. During conventions, sporting events, and weekends, this place can fill up. Out-of-towners, celebrities, professional athletes, and people from all over the Atlanta metro area come through the doors of Meehan's each day.
But above all, Meehan's remains a neighborhood bar. Take a look at the varied menu and talk to the staff -- you'll want to come back each time your travels take you into downtown.
12650 Crabapple Road, Milton
An upscale Irish pub in North Fulton County? This could work.
The Olde Blind Dog has taken over North Fulton with its great food and authentic decor. It's the attention to detail that makes this one of the best Irish pubs in the South. Open seven days a week, this pub offers plenty of parking, a patio that's covered and heated during the winter months, and easy access to televisions so you won't miss the big game.
"We did not want to have a sports bar that serves green beer," explained general manager Geoff Kokoszka. Kokoszka realized that people in Milton were going to expect something authentic when the pub opened its doors, and he didn't disappoint. "The highest concentration of Scotch-Irish is within 3 square miles of this building."
What they get is everything from Scotch eggs to nachos and everything in between. Don't miss the ale and cheddar with a generous helping of pretzel bread to dip, the Irish stew, or the bangers and mash. And since this is an authentic Irish pub, don't forget the Guinness or Harp. "Everything on the menu is made from scratch," emphasized Kokoszka.
Any authentic Irish pubs in the Atlanta area that we missed? Tell us in the comments.
Rick Limpert is an Atlanta-based writer who covers sports, technology, and events in Atlanta. Expect him to be enjoying some corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. You can follow him on Twitter @RickRoswell.