Uh-oh. There’s a new Irish pub right down the street. And by right down the street, I mean literally within walking distance of my house. That could be very good, or very bad, depending on how you look at it.
I’ve already visited two out of the last three days. (But don’t worry, that’s just because the newness is exciting.)
Ballymor Irish Restaurant and Pub is the only realistic-feeling Irish pub we’ve had in North Raleigh since I’ve lived here. There’s Piper’s Taven near 540, but aside from the name there’s really nothing celtic about it. A place called McCann’s came and went a few years ago. But Ballymore is nicer and more authentic.
There are two main rooms, both nicely appointed with lovely wood, tin ceilings, beautiful stained glass and pictures, signs and other decorative items from Ireland. One room has an honest-to-goodness snug (little semi-private booth/room) — a large one, too. The other has a fireplace. There’s an assortment of tables, chairs and couches to suit anyone’s fancy.
I wasn’t too hungry when I went on Sunday, so I just had a side salad and colcannon, which is mashed potatoes and cabbage — Irish comfort ford. There are a good number of Irish dishes on the menu, including boxty (potato pancake-like things wrapped around various fillings), curry chips, mussels, corned beef and cabbage and Guinness stew.
I’ve had two pints at Ballymor so far (Guinness, of course), on two different days, and both were pulled properly. I also had a hot whiskey, and my only complaint was the lack of cloves.
If you haven’t had one, hot whiskey is a wondrous concoction on a cold and/or rainy day. A toddy of sorts, I suppose, it’s whiskey with boiling water and a little honey or sugar, with a clove-studded lemon slice floating on top.
My first visit I was alone, and completely comfortable. A sign of a good pub.
As I was sipping my pint I kept feeling like someone was looking at me. And when I turned to the left, I saw it was just a photo of Bono and the boys. That, plus the snapshot of Donegal Castle on the menu (been there) and the picture of Durty Nelly’s on the wall (been there, too) were, in my mind, all signs that I’ve found a new home-barely-away-from-home, right in the neighborhood. I’m a big believer in signs.