As a former Chicagoan, I can’t help but think of my hometown whenever St. Patrick’s Day approaches. Most people know about the big parade downtown and that the city dyes the Chicago River green. But the lesser known South Side Irish Parade is far more authentic and one of the biggest celebrations outside of Dublin. I’m not sure I have ever felt so much a part of a community by just being a spectator. The people are friendly; everyone interacts; and, of course, the pubs overflow.
So where does an authentic pub experience exist here in Colorado Springs? There are many places to settle down with a pint of Guinness, but when it comes to true Old World culture, here are three local favorites.
The Scene: Traditional Irish wood-paneled decor, regular rollicking Celtic music and a genuine Irish community spirit in the heart of downtown .
A staple of the downtown scene, Jack Quinn is a great example of a public house. The snugs, private enclosed booths, allow for a more intimate experience. The bar itself even has partitions which provide a little privacy but still gives access to the main room. The pub is full of dark wood and decorated with European football jerseys and a variety of firefighter’s helmets. The upstairs bar is a testament to Old World craftsmanship, complete with detailed carvings of mermaids. While the aesthetic is traditional, the menu blends modern favorites like wings and burgers with pub fare such as shepherd’s pie and boxty, Irish potato pancakes.
As for community, Jack Quinn hosts a variety of events, such as the Tuesday Running Club, and Thursdays bring the opportunity to sing along and stamp your feet to traditional Irish music with Brian Clancy. Paying respect to the deep relationship between the Irish and firefighting, Quinn has become the hub for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, where firefighters from all over come to remember their fallen comrades.
21 S. Tejon St., jackquinnspub.com
The Scene: Cozy modern-rustic gastropub that lays chic accents over Irish pub underpinnings.
Alchemy, a self-proclaimed gastropub with an Irish influence, is a nice twist on a traditional pub. The facade and exposed brick sidewall create a feeling of the Old Country in Old Colorado City. The interior is warm and welcoming, with a comfortable intimacy. And the menu features seasonal dishes with fine-dining influence. You’ll find anything from a traditional Irish breakfast of rashers and potato pancakes to a harvest couscous salad with cranberries, spinach and apples. The craft cocktail menu is diverse as well, using ingredients like Korean soju and even gummy bears. The friendly and knowledgeable staff make guests feel like regulars.
2625 W. Colorado Ave., alchemypubcolorado.com
The Golden Bee
The Scene: Big, beautiful pub setting that brings people together through song and drink, done in typical Broadmoor style.
OK, we know. Technically, the Golden Bee is an English pub, but it still deserves mention for several reasons. First, the 19th century pub was actually brought over piece by piece to the Springs from the United Kingdom. The ornate carvings around the bar and the tin ceiling are wonderful and give the room an authentic feel. The menu features the likes of fish and chips and Irish bangers, and it serves as a casual alternative to The Broadmoor’s fine dining flagships. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can order a yard of ale, which is exactly what it sounds like if you think yard as in measurement. The feat of drinking out of a trombone-sized vessel is a true challenge. But as the night rolls, song books are passed around and the piano begins to play. Nothing makes you feel the communal pub vibe like singing with fellow patrons. The Bee is a place to bring your out-of-town guests, but it might just lure you back on your own.
1 Lake Ave., broadmoor.com/dining/golden-bee