In nineteenth-century Ireland, priests, politicians and upstanding ladies who wanted to sneak a quick nip without tarnishing their reputations could enter their local pub through a separate entrance and settle into a snug -- the original VIP room, an intimate, private space where bartenders would pass pints through a frosted glass window. While I doubt that many patrons flocking to the Irish Snug on Colfax feel any need to hide their mugs, sipping a Purple Nasty in one of this charming saloon's two secretive snugs is still a clandestine thrill. Made with Strongbow Cider, Harp and a splash of black currant juice, the surprisingly light Purple Nasty ($4) is basically a Snakebite with a fruity twist. The Irish Snug, opened just before St. Paddy's Day by brothers Jim and Frank McLoughlin, pours Celtic favorites like Guinness and Smithwicks during its daily happy hour, from 3 to 7 p.m., and serves up specialty martinis for $4 on Monday nights and Irish Car Bombs for $3 on Thursdays. For those who really want to make their presence known, the neighborhood pub's always-crowded street-side patio, with Colfax traffic whizzing by, is just the place to do it.
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