Five things you need to know about the Irish Pub
1 You've been to Irish pubs before - now try THE Irish Pub. Easily the most aged and storied of Atlantic City's bars today, it should be near the top of anyone's list of places to see in the resort, whether they want to party or just experience a piece of history. Constructed in 1903 as the Elwood Hotel, the Victorian-style inn and restaurant was an infamous speakeasy during Prohibition, and it is one of the few remnants from the days when Nucky Johnson ruled the seaside resort. But this heralded establishment was famous a century before HBO released "Boardwalk Empire," and it will likely remain so once that show fades from memory.
2 Take a look around. The walls of the bar and dining area are completely covered in old photographs and memorabilia, to the point that you could spend your whole night just scanning each one. A lot of them are images of old Atlantic City, but some have special significance. A few are of historic New York Yankees teams, an homage to Joe DiMaggio, who used to frequent the bar and stay at the upstairs inn.
3 Come one, come all. This is a neighborhood watering hole where generations of locals have made memories while savoring their favorite suds, but out-of-towners are no less welcome. It would be tough to imagine anyone walking in who would look out of place, really, since the crowd is usually so varied. Through the course of the day, there will be families eating meals, regular barflies sipping Guinness and a younger crowd either starting or ending the night. It's a place where you can get rowdy at the bar, but also have an easy, normal conversation with friends at a table. Mostly, you can never be sure what you may find inside.
4 You probably landed here a long time ago. Most people know that the properties in the board game Monopoly were named after actual locations in and around Atlantic City, and The Irish Pub happens to be on St. James Place, one of the board's coveted orange properties. The game's plastic hotels also bear an uncanny resemblance to the pub, leading some people to believe they were modeled after it. The business certainly has at least one other similarity with the game: free parking.
5 If you want the full experience, stay in the seasonal hotel over the summer. The regal lobby filled with historic artifacts is a sight in and of itself, and the room rates are super low, starting at $25 a person on weekdays and $40 a person on weekends. For the 2012 season, the inn opens at the end of April and will remain open until the end of September. To make a reservation, call 609-344-9063 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week.
Heard on a Saturday night: Just the sounds of conversation and clinking glasses. It was loud and rowdy by the bar, but friends could talk quietly and easily at the tables in the restaurant .
Scene at midnight: The bar stools are mostly filled, as are about half the tables and booths. The bartenders steadily pour Guinness and Harp for a group of older men at the bar, while another group of young women celebrating a birthday order mixed drinks. By the outside patio, a few friends talk while smoking cigarettes in the quiet away from the inside.
Bar Owner: Cathy Burke
Debuted: 1903 as Elwood Hotel, purchased by Cathy and Richard Burke in 1972
The look: The six-story brick building is labeled with a giant shamrock and logo on its face and another sign that juts out above the bar entrance. Through the heavy wooden door is the bar and dining area, with low ceilings, hanging lights made of stained glass and walls covered in black-and-white photographs. The cherrywood bar extends to the end of the dim room, where there are booths and another door that leads to bathrooms and the indoor and outdoor patios. The restaurant dining area is to the right after entering.
What: Irish Pub
Where: St. James Place and Boardwalk, Atlantic City
Days/Hours: Daily, 24 hours
Dress code: Casual
Drinks: $2 to $3 beers, $3 to $5 mixed drinks and shots
Demographic: All ages
On the web: www.TheIrishPub.com
Please remember to always drink responsibly