Through the courtyard and down a few steps off to your right, you see a signboard and a doorway that look like something out of another time and place. That initial observation turns out to be truer than I could have imagined. When you step inside and push your way through the thick green curtain and into the main area of the Irish Pub, it’s a little bit like stepping into another world. The dim interior and the delightfully themed décor, not to mention all the green hues everywhere, remind me of pubs I’ve been in across the UK. As it turns out, I later learn that the entire interior—furniture, shamrock stained glass, wood paneling, old decorative memorabilia, and the wide bar itself—was shipped over from Ireland. Basically, a pub was dismantled there and reassembled here, in downtown Kathmandu!
The Irish Pub is a comfortable, relaxed bar and restaurant with cozy seating nooks and booths, a large three-sided bar, and even a VIP corner for private events, where groups of up to ten people can kick back and enjoy themselves a little apart from the crowd. The green lighting and lack of windows makes it feel as if you’ve just wandered into your own private, cozy cave, far away from the noise and bustle of the outside world and the busy road just a few feet away.
As expected from a pub, drinks are front and center, with a good beer selection that includes local beers, new imports, and of course, the all-important Guinness. Also served are cocktails, shots, and boozy hot drinks. I loved the Irish Coffee—it was exceptionally well made, with great filter coffee, rich whipped cream, and a healthy dose of Jameson’s Whisky to round it off. Great for a chilly evening, or anytime, really. The Irish Flag shot is made to resemble the country’s flag, with layered crème de menthe, Baileys, and Triple Sec. When I tossed it back, my first thought was “That’s a strange flavour combo…” but as the flavors blended together and the creamy taste of the Bailey’s asserted itself, my next thought was, “Hey, I want another one!”
If you want to be able to enjoy a meal with your drinks, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a pretty extensive menu here, including quite a few local favorites and dishes from around the world; but as we came here to have as much of an Irish experience as we possibly can, our choices naturally veered in that direction.
The first thing I tried was the Irish Stew, which quite frankly blew me away by being so much better than I had expected. A hearty, warming dish with lamb, potatoes and onions in a rich rosemary spiced gravy, it was simple and unpretentious—just plain good to eat.
We had also ordered Chicken Nuggets to have with our drinks, and these turned out to be a good choice, as the serving was generous and the coating had that great crunch that makes for the best sort of food to accompany drinking. Super tasty, especially when dipped in the accompanying zingy tomato sauce, they make a great snack for a group.
The traditional Fish and Chips rounded off our meal. This was a little hit and miss, as the fish was a little drier than I would have liked, but it was served with perfect chips and the most amazing tartar and mustard sauces to go along with it so they compensated well. Overall I thought Chef Raghu Nath Ranapaheli has been doing a great job of capturing the essence of what makes tasty, real Irish cooking.
Manager Gopal Mishra, who has been here since the place opened in 2009, told us how Mr. and Mrs. Rueck, a German couple who spent twelve years in Nepal, first had the idea to open this place, as they couldn’t imagine a country without an Irish Pub. They brought everything over from Ireland, and then ran the place for four years before eventually leaving Nepal; it was then acquired by a group of five young Nepali partners, who have been continuing the Irish traditions well, from all we could see.
It’s a mixed clientele here—while we were there we saw an American family at one table and some young Nepali women across from them; it’s clearly enjoyed by a wide cross section of people. There’s live music every Friday, so that’s always a popular time to visit, and from 3 to 7 on Friday’s there’s also 15% off on all food and drinks. If you’re a woman, then you definitely want to be here between 3 and7 on Wednesday or Friday, as that’s when you’ll get free shots on arrival!
As this is an Irish joint, it’s only natural that they would celebrate what is probably the most popular of all Irish holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, held in honor of Ireland’s preeminent patron saint. So every year on 17th March, there’s a great big party at the Irish Pub, with live Irish music, and plenty of good things to eat and drink. And this year it’s even a Friday, so save the date in 2017 and enjoy it the Irish way!
The Irish Pub is located at Ananda Bhawan, Lazimpat, opposite Hotel Ambassador.
It is open from 3-11 pm daily, and will soon be open from 12 noon.
Tel no: 01-4416027.