Although delights of the liquid persuasion often come to mind when wanting to celebrate Irish or Celtic culture, the truth is that there many culinary ways to celebrate. Corned beef and cabbage is one of the best Celtic culinary imports. Though inherently simple, due care and attention when preparing this dish will elevate it to a savory, melt-in-your-mouth meal. These Atlanta restaurants offer classic and contemporary versions of this comfort food from our Celtic brothers.
Keegan’s Public House
Price: $ 8-15 (entrée)
Hours: Mon to Thurs -11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Fri to Sat -11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sun -11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Keegan’s Irish Roll is an innovative take on this popular St. Patrick’s Day dish. The corned beef and cabbage is placed in a wonton wrap with Swiss cheese, rolled and served with a side of 1000 Island Sauce. It is a great way to get the taste of corned beef and cabbage without having to commit to a whole meal. The menu also includes other Irish and comfort food classics such as Mulligan stew, bangers and mash and a meatloaf that has won “best comfort food” on multiple occasions. The bar is stocked with Bailey’s, Irish whiskeys and Guinness—all of which are featured in any one of Keegan’s several signature cocktails. Of course, Keegan’s Public House features an extensive celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with drink and food specials and overall merriment.
Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub
Hours: Mon, Sun -11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tues to Thurs -11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Fri to Sat -11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Price: $10-16 (entrée)
Some wonder whether the word “pub” and “classy” ever belong in the same sentence, but the Old Blind Dog Irish Pub is just that. With gorgeous engraved and etched wood paneling and farm to table sustainable offerings, this pub imbues class. The corned beef is steamed and served with beer braised cabbage, potatoes and carrots. Other favorite menu items include the ale-braised short rib sandwich and the meatloaf, which features Creekstone Farms ground beef and ground leg of lamb and Guinness BBQ sauce. Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Kilkenny are all served by the pint. There are also over a dozen whiskeys, 10 bourbons and over a dozen scotches to accompany your meal.
Meehan’s Public House
Hours: Mon to Fri -11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat to Sun -11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Meehan’s Public House is an American pub in an Irish pub’s body. Although the menu contains bangers and mash and the traditional Irish breakfast (served throughout the day), the predominate menu offerings are chicken strips, nachos and burgers. The reuben sandwich embodies this blend of cultures, as it has all the traditional reuben fixings, only made with corned beef. Meehan’s will, however, have traditional corned beef and cabbage on hand for its numerous St. Paddy’s Day parties. The downtown location often has menu specials which utilize fresh and in season ingredients. There can be some issues with parking at this downtown location, so if you want to avoid that hassle, you can visit one of the other locations in Vinings or Sandy Springs.
Mac McGee Irish Pub
Hours: Sun to Wed -11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thurs to Sat -11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Although this Decatur eatery opened in 2010, it quickly gained a reputation as a friendly European sports bar. During soccer season, you can watch many of the UEFA games at one of the several televisions located throughout the bar. In fact, the televised offerings are posted online. While enjoying the game you can partake in one of the delicious entrées including beer braised pork belly, hangar steak, cod fish and house made bangers. As with any Irish Pub, Mac McGee’s Irish Pub has invested heavily in both the draught and whiskey selections.
Related: Best Atlanta Sports Bars
Johnnie MacCracken’s Celtic Pub
Hours: Mon to Sat -11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
If you don’t want to have to travel far to party after you have eaten your corned beef and cabbage, then Johnnie MacCracken’s is the place for you. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Johnnie MacCracken’s features live music and Friday and Saturday nights feature a Belgian bar in addition to the 30 draughts on tap. The tender corned beef and cabbage is one of the better menu options (soaked in brine then boiled in beer), but alternatives include boxty, fish and chips, and the multiple B-B-Q sandwiches are featured on the menu. Do be aware that smoking is permitted and you will encounter all the benefits and drawbacks that accompany a smoking establishment.
Sebrina Bush is a freelance writer in Atlanta. She is covering Food & Drink. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.