While Denver itself frequently ranks in national polls for having one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day celebrations, none of our local Irish pubs ever get so much as nod from out-of-towners. Whatever, we don't need some national booze critic to tell us where to get soused. For a town this size, we have quite a few great Irish bars, and to judge which among them are the most authentic in town, we went to the most biased source we could find: the bartenders at five Irish locals. Here's what they had to say:
Auld Dubliner Irish Pub 2796 South Broadway Bartendress: Ally Frazier
Why is Auld Dubliner the most authentic Irish pub in town? Because everything in here is from Ireland. Our owners are from Ireland and are antique brokers, and they brought it all over here. It’s definitely got the feel.
Why is this the place to be for St. Paddy’s Day weekend? There’s so much going on – a bar outside, live music every night, the Jameson Girls, live dancers, and, of course, the Auld Dubliner Girls! (She’s referring to the staff.)
What’s your favorite whiskey and why? Jameson, because it’s a crowd pleaser.
Critic's Note: The place is dusty and beat-up in a good way – in the way a real Irish pub would be.
Irish Rover 54 South Broadway Bartendress: Amber Richardson
Why is Irish Rover the most authentic Irish pub in town? Because of all the Irish guys who give me shit all day long – I’m pretty much the only American who works here. It’s also the best Limerick bar.
Why is this the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day weekend? ’Cause I’m here – what more do you need? No, seriously: There’s going to be lots of green shit, lots of music, lots of dancing and lots and lots and lots and lots of boozing.
What’s your favorite whiskey and why? Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, because it’s awfully tasty.
Critic's Note: If you want to piss off one of the Irish bartenders, ask him if the jersey hanging on the wall next to the Celtic F.C. jersey is a Rangers jersey.
Irish Snug 1201 East Colfax Avenue Bartendress: Emily Harris
Why is Irish Snug the most authentic Irish pub in town? Our owners are actually from Ireland – they know more and they’ve been to more Irish pubs than someone who’s been working at Fado’s for three years and then decides to open their own pub.
Why is this the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day weekend? ’Cause we have musician Brian Clancy – he knows how to work the crowd and get everyone involved in the pub songs – and Irish dancers, and a big tent and lots more room with the basement open. We’ve also got Eric Robinson, the meanest Irish bartender around. He’s such an asshole.
What’s your favorite whiskey and why? Powers Irish Whiskey, because it’s good and it’s cheap.
Critic's Note: "Snugs" are little private rooms where you and your mates can drink privately. Very Irish. Or, like two of my friends, you can have sex in them while the entire bar is none the wiser. Also very Irish.
McCormick’s Fish House & Bar (the corner bar) 1659 Wazee Street Bartender: Finch
Why is McCormick’s the most authentic Irish pub in town? Technically, because of the name. Plus, we’re downtown, and we’ve been here for 25 years. We do a lot of events is what it is. We have the bagpipers that come through five times during St. Patrick’s Day. That’s one of the big things. We also host stuff for the parade all weekend and the Runnin' of the Green.
You already answered this, but why is this the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day weekend? It’s just super-fun. It’s packed – it’s wall to wall. You’ll barely be able to move.
What’s your favorite whiskey and why? I’m a Jameson man. To me it just tastes better.
Scruffy Murphy’s 2030 Larimer Street Bartender: Craig
Why is Scruffy Murphy’s the most authentic Irish pub in town? I would say because the Guinness reps drink here. Forty percent of our clientele is straight off the boat from Ireland. We never charge a cover, even on St. Patty’s Day, although it’s a little insane when we have to hire security.
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Why is this the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day weekend? It’s not – it’s way too insane to come here. Go somewhere else quieter.
What’s your favorite whiskey and why? Redbreast, because it has the highest alcohol content of all Irish whiskeys.
Critic's Note: The food at Scruffy Murphy's is so authentically Irish as to be almost inedible. Good thing you'll be too drunk to notice.
--Drew Bixby and Sean Cronin