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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

Ranking all the best Irish pubs near Davis

How to experience a piece of Irish culture without buying a plane ticket

 

By CORALIE LOON — arts@theaggie.org

 

No bar does it quite like an Irish pub. The combination of beer, relaxed and friendly banter and maybe even a little live music makes the pubs of Ireland unique social centers for people in the community to congregate and celebrate.

What makes a pub uniquely Irish, you may ask? Most would agree a pub wouldn’t be Irish if it didn’t serve Guinness, Ireland’s most common (and popular) stout. Irish pubs are typically casual environments visited mainly by those who work in the area. Live music, often in the form of impromptu jam sessions, is also a staple.

Luckily, you don’t need to book a flight to Ireland to find an Irish pub. Since gaining popularity after the flood of Irish immigrants in the 1840s, Irish pubs became an essential part of American culture. Now, it’s hard to find a city without one.

While since the closing of De Vere’s in downtown Davis in 2021, Davis has gone without one, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a small trek to others in the area.

  • Father Paddy’s

This restaurant and pub is located on Main Street in Woodland and is a community fixture. Built inside the bones of an old bank, Father Paddy’s ticks all the boxes that make a pub quintessentially Irish. A spot for locals to hang out during the week, the place comes to life on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when live musicians, bands and performers take to the stage. Every Thursday is “Irish Sing Along,” while Fridays and Saturdays showcase various Irish, Celtic, country and bluegrass musicians.

Although it closes at 9 p.m. on most weeknights, the casual atmosphere, full menu of classic Irish dishes and in-store whiskey bottle shop put Father Paddy’s at the top of this list. Plus, the place is possibly haunted (according to locals). But if you’re not a fan of ghosts, pretend I said nothing. 

Recommended: Loftus Hall red ale (their signature beer), shepherd’s pie.

  • Sean Finnegan’s

Nestled in the heart of Old Sacramento, Sean Finnegan’s is worth a visit. With eclectic decor, lime-green lighting and ambient metal playing in the background, it’s hard to find something not to love. Sean Finnegan’s serves drinks and plenty of greasy snacks: loaded fries, pretzels and Irish totchos (loaded tater tots). The Irish pub is in the perfect location for local nightlife, reaching full capacity on many a weekend night. Their motto, “A place to celebrate life,” perfectly encompasses the energy of the pub.

Recommended: french fries (hot & crispy), Irish coffee.

  • Malt & Mash

Malt & Mash Irish pub is located in downtown Sacramento in the K Street Corridor, right next door to the Downtown Commons and Golden 1 Center. Despite being in a central location, the pub has a much more low-key and intimate atmosphere. Its dark, woody interior and local clientele make it feel authentically Irish. Like a true Irish pub, Malt & Mash is open until 2 a.m. all weekend and most weeknights, making it the perfect stop for a late-night beer or chat. 

RJ, a bartender at Malt & Mash for the last seven years, said it’s a friendly bar known for its cheap prices. “It’s my favorite place to work,” he said.

Recommended: one of their 150 whiskey varieties.

  • O’Mally’s

Also in Old Sacramento, and just a few businesses down from Sean Finnegan’s, O’Mally’s is a quaint Irish pub that is also well-known in the area. Although it feels a little less authentically Irish than some of the other pubs in mention, its intimate, warm atmosphere and pool table give it some extra points.

Recommended: Irish corned-beef tacos.

Written by: Coralie Loon — arts@theaggie.org