This Guinness' For You!

This Guinness' For You!

My glass of Guinness, before taking the plunge

I confess, this dinner choice was mostly about my upcoming trip to Ireland (next April). I have started a pilgrimage around town, trying to search out the best (read: most authentic) Irish pubs in order to ready myself for the drinks and grub I will be experiencing across the pond. My dinner guest suggested O'Lunneys: Not only a great location for this week’s play in what has become our nearly weekly trip to Broadway (O'Lunney‘s is, in fact, right next to the the Lyceum Theatre, where we were seeing, “Oh, Hello"), but by most online accounts, a genuine Irish-flavored pub.

I got to the bar first and grabbed a seat. Naturally, I had to start off with a Guinness, which, for this chardonnay-toting girl, is really reaching outside her comfort zone. The tall and quite regal-looking glass placed before me, I took a tentative sip. I actually enjoyed the dark, syrupy flavor, though the slightly bitter aftertaste made me think I might want to try a pale ale next time around. But nonetheless, the barrier had been broken: I was ok for beer drinking in Ireland!

While nursing the drink, I looked around at the cavernous bar: covering one large brick wall, huge U.S. military flags were hung: The Irish bartender, who hailed from a town north of Dublin, informed me that the Irish-born owner had been in the U.S. military for many years and so they were in tribute to his service. Elsewhere, stained glass lamps warmed up the ambience of the handsomely worn-wood bar: flat-screen TVs in front of back played both soccer (or, as the Irish call it, football), and the baseball playoffs. Green (of course) leather banquettes filled the dining rooms, along with freestanding tables and high-tops.

I knew ahead of time what I was getting: The bangers and mash, sausage sided with mashed potatoes, gravy and onions, sounded like the kind of comfort food I was craving. My friend decided on the chicken pot pie. The bangers were small but chunky, mild and appealing and the mashed potatoes clearly housemade. My friend’s chicken pot pie was a pleasant surprise: unlike American-style chicken pot pie, which is served in a pastry shell, her chicken, cooked with diced vegetables in a light, subtly-flavored broth, was topped by what looked like a large, flat croissant. Unsure what to do with it, we first nibbled away at it and then, delightedly she started to crumble it into her pie, resolving that must have been its purpose all along.

OK: success! A slice of Ireland in Midtown, at a popular bar—the French doors were flung open on this mild October evening, and tables throughout the restaurant were nearly filled. Most assuredly, a great place to meet your mates for a tall one—or some novel chicken pot pie!

>> O'Lunneys, 145 W. 45th St., 212.840.6688