5 nights of pints

Pint-size guide to Phoenix's Irish Pub scene

With St. Patty’s day rapidly approaching, it’s only appropriate to give you, the reader, a refresher course in Irish pub possibilities.

Looking for things to do in honor of St. Patrick? Check out the St. Patrick's Day Guide by Benjamin Leatherman.

Casey Moore’s
850 S. Ash Ave., Tempe
480-968-9935
On the Web

Jonathan McNamara
Molly Brannigan's
Jonathan McNamara
Molly Brannigan's

Started because owner, Patty St. Vincent, thought it would be a unique idea to sell oysters in the desert, Casey Moore’s has become a hidden treasure. This neighborhood tavern prides itself on the fact that it attracts such an eclectic crowd. Neighbors, professors, students, and businesspeople alike crowd together in the 100-year-old converted house.

The history of Casey Moore’s goes way back. Casey Moore is the name of St. Vincent’s grandmother, who was from County Waterford, Ireland. St. Vincent claims Casey’s is similar to taverns in Ireland and tries to make that old-world feel come alive. Some of the same bartenders have worked at Casey’s for over 20 years. The house, which was originally the old Ninth & Ash restaurant, is mentioned in the song, “If you don’t, don’t” by Mesa band Jimmy Eat World, St. Vincent said.

St. Vincent said she’s been to many local concerts where the band members say at the end, “Good night, thanks, and see you at Casey’s.”

Known for their halibut and chips, raw oysters, clam chowder and prime rib special on Sunday mornings, Casey's serves quality, affordable food. There are 13 imports and one domestic beer on tap and 15 bottled beers. Happy Hour runs from 4 – 7 p.m. every day, with $1 off drafts and rotating wine and food specials. Each day, there's also a different beer special for $3.50.

Casey Moore’s is busy all day long. It attracts a lunch and dinner crowd and, later in the evening, the usual hangers-out in the bar. Wednesday through Sunday are the busiest days, but stop by any time and you can see people hanging out on the enormous temperature-controlled patio. There are tables with umbrellas, benches, small fire pits and lots of space to stand up and drink and chat.

“[Casey Moore’s] has been doing business with the same clientele year after year; as soon as students discover it, it becomes their favorite,” St. Vincent said.

Rúla Búla
401 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
480-929-9500
On the Web

Just about as Irish authentic as you can get here in the southwest desert, Rúla Búla brings the “craic” (a Gaelic word meaning uproar and commotion) to Mill Avenue. The restaurant and pub has an old-world feel with artifacts imported from Ireland. With 10 beers on tap (nine of them imports), you can certainly get your fill of Guinness and please your hearty beer appetite. Their menu is predominantly Irish dishes. They specialize in shepherd’s pie (we gave them an award for this in 2002) and fish and chips. Food ranges from $5 to $12, and 20-ounce beers go for $5.50.

"The crowd at this bar gets younger as it gets later," said general manager Kevin Metz. Yet all ages feel at home in this Irish haven. “This is a place where on a Saturday night you can bring your mom and grandma and feel comfortable hanging out,” Metz said.

Cozy tables and stained glass windows inside give a quaint, antique feel. The hardwood stage is perfect for live Irish bands that play five nights a week. You can come to dine, drink and dance, or relax with friends on the spacious patio with its own bar.

Friday and Saturday are the busiest days; cover charge is $5 after 9 p.m. on these days. Happy hour also always draws a crowd; Monday through Saturday from 4 to 6:30 p.m., the pub features $1 off draft and well drinks and half-price appetizers. Reverse Happy Hour runs Monday and Tuesday from 10 p.m. to closing. Happy Hour drink specials on Sunday are from 4 p.m. — closing and appetizer discounts run from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“[Rúla Búla has] great customers and great staff,” Metz said. “I don’t think I could work at any other bar on Mill.”

RT O’Sullivan’s in Mesa
1010 West Southern Ave, Mesa
480-844-1290
On the Web

Ladies: Fancy picking up a little bit of the famed Irish luck this St. Patty’s Day? Try spotting the elusive leprechaun in the women’s bathroom — behind the mirror! The famous RT O’Sullivan or RTO leprechaun has been charming (and startling) ladies since 1996.

“We get our share of nightly screams from the ladies,” smiled Roy Meyer, 37, the district manager who oversees all three RTOs. “It’s all part of the fun atmosphere here, really.”

Along with 98 screens and more sports channels than you can shake a hockey stick at, completing the atmosphere are three pool tables, dart boards and various game machines in a familiar Irish bar setting.

“We’re a sports bar with an Irish twist,” described Roy, when asked to sum up the appeal of RTO.

RTO at Mesa also features a generous outdoor patio for patrons who enjoy the current season. With music that runs the gamut from Tom Petty tunes to DJ-spun dance, and a well-rounded selection of beers, GTO attracts ol’ faithfuls who troop in as early as lunchtime, as well as the younger set for Friday night partying.

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