The line that divides public opinion on Irish pubs arouses as many passions as the line that divides the people of Belfast from their southern cousins. What’s the beef?
There’s something reassuring about finding at least one in just about every city of the world, Shane MacGowan’s emphysemic lungs wheezing out of the stereo speakers and James Connolly iconography mounted on the wall like a mourned dead relative.
People can whine about cultural authenticity, but I happen to like going to bars where accidentally referring to Ulster’s second city as Londonderry won’t get my teeth kicked in.
Besides, there’s always a place for a jot of nostalgia when people are tens of thousands of kilometres from home, and a pint of Guinness often serves the same noble purpose as the egg and beetroot on the burgers at Aussie XL or the artery hardening testaments to decadence on the Freebird breakfast menu.
Of the four or five Irish joints in the city, Paddy Rice gets the most traffic, owing to its prime location around the Riverside backpacker digs, weekly roster of the more prolific expat bands in the city, and its tolerance for low level football hooliganism during the European championship and the bigger EPL matches.
As most of its marquee events kick off late in the evening, people tend to overlook Paddy Rice’s food menu. The heady balance of East and West implied by the pub’s name and its fisticuffing mascot, there’s something to appeal to all palates, whether a mango salad for the sensible or a selection from the grill menu for those lining their stomachs before a night on the tiles with a near coma-inducing amount of red meat.
The standout is the Paddy’s Burger, a pretty creative take on a pub staple that tends to get a bit derivative in other parts of town.
Based around some unconventional additions, like onion marmalade and dill pickle, the bun is the meal’s ultimate pleasure, softly textured but without the slightly saccharine taste found in so many of the other bread products sourced from the commercial bakeries around Monivong.
Of all the burgers around the waterfront, this is definitely up there with the most rewarding.
Paddy Rice Irish Sports Bar
Address: Cnr St 136 &
Paddy’s Burger: $8
To contact the reporter on this story: Sean Gleeson at [email protected]