With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, thoughts naturally turn to whiskey-fueled shenanigans accessorized in green. But Ireland’s staple dishes and drinks hold their own any day of the year—it’d be a shame to stick a plate of bangers and mash in a neatly defined holiday corner and ignore it the other 364 days.
(Also, no one sticks bangers and mash in a corner.)
Irish pubs are the unsung heroes of true comfort food, and these three Nashville-area bars are about as close as it gets in Music City. Pull up a stool, order a pint and get craic-in’—McNamara’s, McCreary’s and Franklin Abbey have got it covered when it comes to a bit of corned beef and camaraderie.
McNamara’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
One of Nashville’s OG Irish pubs, McNamara’s has been supplying locals with a legit Irish eats and drinks since February 2010. Sean McNamara, the pub’s owner and namesake, has brought the warm, familial vibe of Ireland’s local bars to Tennessee using Gaelic sports memorabilia, Irish albums and instruments, and tin signage as decor. But it’s the food that seals the deal here—gut-warming corned beef and cabbage, hearty Scotch eggs and a rich Shepherd’s Pie are menu staples. Pours of various Irish whiskies and traditional Black and Tans compliment the fare, which includes a full Irish breakfast of eggs, Irish sausage, rashers, black-and-white pudding, Heinz beans and soda farl (a North Ireland soda bread) on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
McCreary’s Irish Pub
Down south in Franklin, McCreary’s Irish Pub has been holding court since 2002. While there’s no shortage of pub grub, plenty of traditional Irish options line the menu at this rustic, brick-lined bar. Think: fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, and black and tan bread. Sidling up to the bar with a pint of brew offers prime viewing of the Celtic musicians taking the stage, but the cozy patio outside makes for excellent people watching.
Word to the wise: swing by on a Saturday or Sunday morning for their infamous bread pudding French toast. Kiddos in tow? Order up a bowl of their featured cereal—Lucky Charms.
In the former Dan McGuinness Irish Pub space, the small, but mighty Franklin Abbey continues the Irish tradition from its wood-paneled digs off of Carothers. Get in a few rounds of eight-ball on the billiards tables next to the bar after filling up on Scotch eggs and cottage pie. But make no mistake about it, this is first and foremost a pub. Which means turning a Guinness nitro (or a pour from one of their bottles of Irish whiskey) into a liquid lunch isn’t entirely out of question.
Soccer fans are in luck—Franklin Abbey frequently broadcasts Premier League games on their flat screen tvs.