McGinn's Irish Pub and Restaurant has the perfect location for Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade, which marches right by its Charles Street front door. Serving as the unofficial parade headquarters, McGinn's will once again be a "mob scene" in the words of pub manager John Mauro.
McGinn's is expecting upward of 1,000 revelers to stop in Sunday for a beer (or several) and impressive quantities of Irish lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage. Because this is a year-round Irish pub and not an American bar that turns green for the day, there will be plenty of dark Guinness on tap but no green beer.
"Green beer is stereotypical American-Irish, not Irish," explains Mr. Mauro.
Flying the green since 1978, McGinn's has more than photo collages from previous St. Patrick's Day parades to prove its spirit. The Ancient Order of Hibernians meets here monthly; the walls and carpet are a deeply patriotic shade of green; special events have included screenings of film director John Ford's love letter to Ireland, "The Quiet Man"; there are wall murals of leprechauns, Irish harps and other reminders of home; and there is even Irish Republican Army-supportive graffiti in the restroom.
Indeed, Ireland fills your ears at McGinn's. Live music offerings include a sing-along Wednesday and Friday nights with Scott McNinny at the piano, and guitarist Timmy Fields playing Tuesday and Thursday nights. Live bands set up on Saturday nights, with Bill Davis and the Spalpeens reuniting for a concert tomorrow night. Incidentally, although the kitchen closes nightly at 9:30, a cold sandwich menu may be had Saturday nights until 1 a.m.
A tourist to this Irish haven might, after a mug or two, be so bold as to state two quibbles. Although you can order Guinness Stout, Harp or Killian's Irish Red here, the beer offerings otherwise are as basic as can be. Also, although one allows for kitsch in any leprechaun-inhabited place, a series of gaudy clown paintings will please only the most ardent fans of that genre.
McGinn's Irish Pub
Where: 328 N. Charles St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday to Saturday. Usually closed Sunday, but open for St. Patrick's Day.
Menu: Steaks, seafood, corned beef and cabbage, Irish lamb stew.
Credit cards: AE, Diners, MC, V.