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Feb 28, 2008 12:36 PM

Irish Food in LA?

In time for St. Patrick's Day, who do y'all think has the best Irish food in and around LA?

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  1. Hear that deafening silence? That's the sound of all the Irish restaurants in LA County screaming at the top of their lungs.

    LA has one Irish bar (Ireland's 32 in Van Nuys). It has several faux Irish bars, but Ireland's is the only one that has a significant number of actual Irish at it. They have food, normally pub fare but I think they do a pot of corned beef and cabbage for St. Pat's day. (Actually, quite a few faux-Irish places do a pot of CB&C around St. Pat's day...you could give them a try, I suppose.)

    There's a bigger Irish population down in Orange County. If you're jonesing hard enough, you could take a drive down there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bjartmarr

      I'm curious. What is a 'faux Irish bar', or, how does one tell the difference from an authentic?

      1. re: gtring

        I'm curious about this as well. My guess is whether you're having a good time or not. If you don't like it, it's fake. If you like it, it's real.

        bjartmarr might also be alluding to the fact that some Irish bars aren't even owned by an Irish person or have any Irish staff. Some might in fact be (*gasp*) British.

        Seriously, after your second pint of Guinness, you're not going to notice.

        1. re: SauceSupreme

          Generally, a faux Irish bar is the kind of place that serves green Corona, calls their french fries "chips", and staples a few shamrocks to the wall, and that's about as deep as the Irish goes. There's nothing wrong with these places -- but they are to Irish as Chi Chi's is to Mexican.

          An actual Irish bar is more likely than not to have actual Irish immigrants at it -- or, at the very least, people who are interested in Irish culture. The bands will often play Irish music (and they're likely to have a country-western night -- don't ask, I don't understand it either). The place may also be a focal point for other aspects of Irish culture -- there may be football (not NFL, the other kind) or rugby parties, shown live at some ridiculous hour of the morning, perhaps accompanied by a traditional Irish breakfast.

          If all you're looking for is Guinness and some fish & chips, then Sauce is probably right that you're not going to notice a difference. If, on the other hand, you're looking for traditional Irish food (as the OP was), you may end up being disappointed if you go to one of the former places.

        2. re: gtring

          A Real Irish Bar will have Real Irish ex-pats dining and drinking there. In fact, the more real it is, the more out of place non-irish will feel. But you are welcome there!

          Odd, Ireland's 32, a place I also think f as LA's only true irish bar is just across and a little down from The Robin Hood, LA's only real English Pub. I mean, c'mon, all the others are full of tourists (the two in Santa Monica) colege kids (the one in Northridge) and people thinking that drinking a pims or a pint of Guines made in Canada is a "real brit experience" (all the others)

      2. Here's the menu for Finn McCool's in Santa Monica.


        Soda bread, corned beef, boxties, that sort of thing, as well as your usual pub grub like shepherd's pie

        1 Reply
        1. re: SauceSupreme

          And, in terms of Finn McCool's authenticity, at least at inception, I quote from elsewhere on that same website:

          "It was in 2002 when Geraldine Gilliland finally realized her long held wish of recreating one of her fondest childhood memories, her father's bar in Ireland. Bit by bit it was shipped through the Panama Canal to its final resting place here in Santa Monica. An Irish crew reconstructed the bar meticulously; everything was up and running by St Patrick's Day - JAKE AND ANNIE'S was reborn as FINN McCOOL'S IRISH PUB."

        2. In the beach area, you might try O'Brien's (2941 Main St. and 2226 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica)

          1. I have wondered this many times myself (having a partner who was raised in Dublin and hating to always hear what his mom would do for St. Patrick's day). However, we've come to the conclusion that there are no decent answers in LA. The best I can do is go to the Irish Import store on Vine, bring home some sausages and hob nobs, and bake up some brown bread (which is never as good as mom's).

            One brilliant thing we have discovered, however, is that there is no one at non-irish bars on St. Patrick's day. It's a perfect time to go out to all of the bars in LA that you would love if only they weren't always so packed...

            1. Not in LA but in Toluca Lake, how about Timmy Nolan's

              1 Reply
              1. re: LisaN

                Lisa, I was just going to write about Timmy Nolan's. You beat me to the punch. Nice goin' and great suggestion. Love their Irish Stew and "No Blarney" Burger. Good lively scene with friendly people.

                Timmy Nolan's
                10111 Riverside Drive
                Toluca Lake