Looking forward to the Winter drinking season, Barrespondent Drew crawls inside another dark hideaway to get away from the cold (even if it’s still just an imagined chill caused by having the shakes).
Continuing on with the theme of authentic Irish Pubs, we thought it would only be fair to visit the other end of the spectrum. Last week’s praising of Martin Mack’s genuine Irishness made us remember a place we’ve been recently that somewhat missed the mark.
Keep in mind, even if an Irish pub doesn’t hit the bullseye and fails to transport you body and soul to the Emerald Isle, it usually has a better than average beer and drink selection and is bound to be a preferable alternative to hanging out in front of your local Bodega drinking Schlitz out of a paper bag.
The Liberties Pub on Guerrero and 22nd is a good example of ‘by the numbers’ Irish. Every brass rail, every leather barstool and every inch of rich, rich mahogany* tells you that it’s a well appointed Irish pub. In fact, the attention to detail is so good at this place that it pretty much sucks all the character out of it.
Sitting at the bar of the Liberties is almost uncomfortable. Not because of any problem with the seats or the friendly waitstaff, but because we find ourselves looking around furtively for some sign of originality to it. Without walking outside into the street, I have no idea where we are. Is this the Richmond? Daly City? Did I pass out on CalTrain and wake up in Menlo Park again? This place gives you no clue whatsoever as to your location as it could be just about any over-decorated Irish pub or Bennigan’s anywhere in the U.S.
Combine this feeling of uneasiness with fairly average food at slightly above average prices and you’re left with more questions than answers. Why replace the fun and unique poet hangout Café Babar with this? Why commit so many resources with so little originality? And why sacrifice character in one of the parts of the city best known for it?
* - I don't know if there's any of this kind of wood actually here, but ever since seeing Anchorman we've wanted a chance to say, "rich mahogany".
UPDATE - It IS rich mahogany!