Everybody loves an Irish pub.

Actually, I think the original phrase is “Everybody loves an Irish girl,” but as an Irish girl myself, I feel that it is more than appropriate to reword it for a quality Irish experience.

Which is what I walked into at the new location for Byrnes’ Irish Pub in Brunswick. With its original pub located amongst the brick and shops of downtown Bath, I was curious if this new location, housed in a brand-new building beside Hannaford, was going to be able to create the same warm and comfortable Irish pub atmosphere.

Yet from its brick walls to its huge pub mirror behind the bar, the ambiance at Byrnes’ absolutely did not disappoint. I settled in a seat at the end of the copper-topped bar, and Darren, the bartender on duty, almost immediately came over.

Now there’s an important thing you must have in an Irish pub, and that is a bartender with an Irish brogue. One of the patrons asked Darren if he was from Ireland or was just supposed to speak with the accent while bartending. For the record, Darren is actually from Ireland, but I think any Irish pub worth its Guinness should force its staff to watch hours and hours of the film “Leap Year” until they all have the same lilt.

I curled up with my Irish pub standby, a Smithwick’s ($5) Irish red ale. With close to 20 beers on draft, you can find most anything Irish, domestic and local (including three local seasonals) and request it served up in a 16-, 20- or 24-ounce glass.

If beer isn’t your thing (for shame in an Irish pub!), there are plenty of other options, including wine and mixed drinks. One of the most popular, a Dublin Apple Martini ($7.50), is made with Powers Irish whiskey, sour apple schnapps and cranberry juice. And in what seems to me the most brilliant Sunday combination ever, you can get a variety of 50-cent wings with your Bloody Irishman ($7), a bloody mary made with Boru Irish vodka and mixed with Guinness.

I noticed a sign indicating the Byrnes’ Irish Pub swag you could pick up, and at the bottom it noted “kazoo — $2.50.” Which, of course, compelled me to ask, “Hey, what’s up with the kazoos?” That’s when I learned about quite possibly my new favorite event in southern Maine. That would be Irish Sing-a-long Night on Fridays at Byrnes’, complete with an audience kazoo band.

As I sat at the bar chatting up some folks ordering reubens for dinner, the guy walking his dog and stopping in for a quick drink, and the regulars who sipped stout from their Byrnes’ Mug Club mugs, I realized how relaxed and fun this place was. It easily could become a home away from home or the local pub to anyone in the Greater Portland area.

To put it in the words of Darren, “You don’t come to the bar to play on your iPhone; you sit and talk to everyone around you.”


Elisa Doucette is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.