Editors' pick

Old Brogue Irish Pub

Irish Pub, Bar, Low-key

Editorial Review

The Old Brogue is the very picture of a community pub. "We've been coming here for 23 years," says Marilyn Scott, who's having dinner and drinks with her husband, Michael, at a high table in the low-ceilinged bar. The couple moved to Great Falls in 1985, and over the years, they'd pop in for drinks ("It's a stop-off place," Michael says) and when it would snow, they'd bring their children for hot apple cider. "It's multigenerational," Michael says. "When the kids come home from college, they come here. You see kids you coached in soccer 15 years ago, and they remember you."

" 'Cheers' doesn't have a thing on this place," says Tom Hext, a 44-year-old painter, who has been coming to the Brogue for years. "That's what sold me. I came in for dinner, started talking to people and I was hooked."

It's easy to see why. The dark wood and cozy corners help it feel like a pub from County Kerry just plopped into a shopping center in Great Falls. Well-poured pints of Guinness, Smithwick's and Old Speckled Hen flow from the taps, and musicians, from Irish singers to reggae bands, play on a low stage, while everyone at the bar is chatting with one another.

When you need a break, head for the nonsmoking Snug Room, where the stone fireplace, weathered beams and old prints give it a relaxed, rustic feel. The menu here is much better than at most Irish pubs, so you'll want to linger -- and probably become a regular.

Particularly on these blustery nights.

-- Fritz Hahn (Dec. 12, 2008)