If you’re searching for an Irish pub in the Northtowns, search no more. The Shannon Pub on the Boulevard in Tonawanda is what you’re looking for.
On a recent Friday evening, I ventured out for some socializing, a beverage or two and a nibble to stave off some after-dinner hunger pangs.
Upon entering, I was greeted with the sights and sounds of folks consuming food, drink, conversation and music.
After a quick survey of the lounge area in the barroom, I pulled up a red bar stool and sat down. The bar was adorned with a brass rail that you don’t seem to find much anymore. I was told it was a remnant from a previous establishment.
The bartender Tammi engaged me with a welcoming salutation and I ordered a pint of unsweetened iced tea ($2) and a plate of Shannon Pub Poutine – fries smothered in beef gravy, topped with mozzarella cheese and baked to perfection ($6). It’s a fabulous gift from the provincial lands north of the border.
A brick-backed wooden dance floor with some tables was doubling as a stage and delivering live music throughout the room. The Irish heritage bled through as the music was performed in a convincingly genuine Celtic style by Tom Callahan and his acoustic guitar. The crowd joined in with his rousing rendition of “Whiskey In the Jar,” a traditional favorite.
The decor was a smattering of vintage Irish beer advertisements, lights and old photographs. The northern wall was home to one of two fireplaces that created a warm and inviting atmosphere. The other fireplace was in the spacious dining room behind the bar.
A couple sat down next to me and ordered a pint of Guinness ($5.50) and a glass of Southern Comfort on the rocks ($5.50). They exchanged stories of their harried day while a group of thirtysomething guys filed in and occupied the rest of the bar. Tammi’s co-worker Nicole greeted the group.
The ensuing beer order almost sounded like a roll call of lads at the beginning class, “... Smithwick’s, Sam Adams and Guinness.” A few moments later Nicole reappeared with pints in hand. One of the guys complimented Nicole’s fascinating ability of pouring a pint of Guinness complete with a clover in the head of the stout – true artistry indeed.
The extensive lineup of taps would make any true Irishmen’s taste buds dance a jig. The taps reminded me of a slew of ballplayers in the dugout awaiting their turn to get in the action. The “put me in coach” lineup includes the likes of Harp Lager, Killian’s Irish Red and Mangners Irish Cider.
I grabbed one of the menus that was printed on newspaper stock. It was chock full of information such as the extensive wine list, the full tap lineup and a happy hour that runs from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with 50 cents off all drinks. There is also information about its “Stink and Drink” event that runs every first Saturday of the month.
Are you a trivia buff? Stop in at 8 p.m. every Monday to enjoy the Shannon Pub’s “Pub Quiz Night,” complete with prizes.
There’s a lot going on at the Shannon Pub. Be sure to stop by and enjoy a few drinks, some live music, and if you become all awash with the heritage, you may want to inquire about its annual trip to Ireland. Cheers!
The Shannon Pub
Where: 2550 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Tonawanda (743-9348, www.shannonpub.com)
Scene: A mixed of thirty- and fortysomethings having a good time.
Dress code: Come as you are and sport some green in homage to the homeland.
On tap: Labatt Blue and Blue Light pints are $3.50. All other pints are $5-$5.50 – Harpoon IPA, Newcastle Brown Ale, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Stella Artois, Sam Adams Seasonal Ale, Shock Top Belgian White, Killian’s Irish Red, Guinness Stout, Boddington’s Ale, Harp Lager and Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday.