As St. Patrick’s Day looms, a look at some of Vienna’s dyed-in-the-green establishments
Irish pubs are liquid embassies – no consular services, but a lot more fun. They’re certainly everywhere – I have drunk Guinness in Dharamsala, and in a roadside tin shack on the tiny Caribbean island of St Lucia. As vital generators of goodwill, it is every Irish expat’s patriotic duty to inspect these outposts and root out the charlatans. Fortunately, Vienna holds up: After much painstaking research, I am happy to report that Vienna’s purveyors of shamrock-steeped cheer are amongst the most exciting and vibrant I have sampled. This St. Patrick’s Day, you will be spoilt for choice if you’re looking for ceol agus craic – music and fun. And, of course, a glass or two of the good stuff.
The “P” stands for Party
Wildly popular with the undergrad crowd, Charlie P’s possesses many of the typical traits of an Irish mega-pub abroad, with a healthy dose of self-irony to wash it down: its walls are adorned with quotes from the late Michael Jackson –not the King of Pop but the seminal beer-writing guru.
The food here is exceptional, combining the best of local and Irish produce: Be sure to try their delicious Kelly Oysters from Kilcolgan in County Galway. Their potables include all the usual suspects, along with a solid selection of Irish and international craft beers. Impishly, they’re paraphrasing rapper 50 cent for their 20th anniversary for St. Patrick’s Day, when they’ll unveil a well-rounded organic Irish red ale called “Go Charlie it’s your birthday.”
The Art of Craft
In recent years there has been an astonishing explosion of delicious craft beers emerging from Ireland, and Mel’s is the place to try them.
With possibly the best selection of unusual lagers, ales, ciders and stouts in town, this stylish pub stocks some of the best micro-brews from around the world, including an array of fine Irish ales and stouts.
In keeping with the time-honored tradition of turning things green for the big day, they will also have Crazy Irish Bastard on tap; thankfully, it is nothing too sinister – just their own lager with green food dye.
Made from a seemingly random jumble of odd bits and pieces taken from a pub in County Cork, Flanagan’s has been a favorite of expats and locals alike since opening in 1996. Spacious and cozy with lots of wood panelling, it is the perfect place to watch Ireland’s rugby side take on the old enemy England in the annual Six Nations tournament.
If things go wrong, there is a decent selection of whiskeys behind the bar – crucially, they are reasonably priced.
An antidote to Plastic Paddyness
First impressions can often be misleading. Frankly, O’Connor’s will not win prizes for its appearance, or its location in the middle of nowhere – way out in the badlands of St. Marx. But trust me, the atmosphere of this unpretentious, honest establishment possesses all the warmth of the best Irish pubs, minus the kitsch. It will win over even the most cynical. And it serves up a cracking pint of Guinness and some of the tastiest fish and chips in town to boot.