Finn McCool's Irish Pub: A Bit 'O Cheer & Blarney

— by Caroline on Crack

Flickr Shot by dotsara

Flickr Shot by dotsara

I am not a fan of the big alcoholidays: Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve…Labor Day. I just hate the crowds of drunk people. Crowds of drunk people on a Thursday night, fine. But on a night especially dedicated to getting plastered? No thanks. That’s why I chose to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day my way, with a quiet visit to Finn McCool’s on an off night.

I grabbed a couple of co-workers and headed there last night to get some drinks. I was craving a hearty Guinness on this cool winter day. But as soon as we sat down, I instantly wanted something more substanstial…like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie.

Our waitress, an indifferent blonde named Jennifer, finally came by after some time to take our order. Erin and I decided we wanted to try the different boxties (large Irish potato pancakes). She got the Guinness beef stew ($13.95) and I ordered the corned beef and cabbage boxty ($13.95). Dotsara went for the fish and chips ($11.95). And we each ordered a pint of Harp ($6) as a fitting accompaniment for our very Irish meals.

From CitySearch:

Service can be dodgy during peak dinner hours, when ordering a pint requires the patience of a saint.

Despite a little drink order mixup, the evening was going all right. The pub was pretty quiet on this Wednesday night. There was no music, which along with the dark interior, made for the most mellow Irish pub I’ve ever been in.

But the bar is beautiful. Apparently, Finn McCool’s was brought over piece by piece straight from Ireland after the owner decided she wanted to open a bar just like her father’s on the Emerald Isle. So I guess she transported his bar to Santa Monica, in pieces. Of course I wondered which pieces were from the original pub. Does that count the huge Celtic snake design on the wall? The large wood partitions? Even the little knickknacks?

Anyhoo, I got in a little tiff with our waitress. When our orders came, the server put just a regular plate of corned beef and cabbage in front of me but I told him I ordered the boxty version so he took it away. Then a couple of minutes later, Jennifer came back and put the same plate in front of me. “I ordered the corned beef and cabbage boxty.” “No, you didn’t.” “Yes, I did.” “I heard you, you didn’t.” “Yes, I did but I probably said it quietly.” My friends backed me up and then Jennifer took the plate but not before she rolled her eyes. I mean, wtf? You’re going to tell me what I said? I know what I said. Eesh! And I liked how she had brought the order back after I had told the server to take it away as if to challenge me. Whatevuh!

Flickr shot by dotsaraBut after that everything else was awesome. My meal was so filling what with the potato pancake on top of the mashed potatoes and corned beef that it was surprising I even had the gumption to order dessert as well. That’s right, we all ordered dessert. I got the Black and Tan chocolate pie ($5.95, flourless white and dark Belgian chocolate filling on a butter pecan brown sugar crust with whiskey caramel). A big mistake. It tasted like two chocolate bars covered in caramel. Way too sweet for, yes, even me.

Erin ordered the Irish bread pudding ($5.95) which she loved and Dotsara got the Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake ($5.95, sour cream and cream cheese chocolate chip cheesecake with Irish cream in a cinnamon sugar graham cracker crust).

In the end what started out as simple after-works drink very quickly turned into an expensive dinner. I’ll just make sure to keep my eye on the happy hour from now on. Monday through Saturday 3-7pm, most everything is a lucky $3–draught beer, bottled beer, well drinks, house wine and appetizers.

If you’re thinking you want to start your drinking early on St. Patrick’s Day, Finn McCool’s opens up at 7:30am. Radio station Indie 103.1 will take over the pub at 3pm broadcasting Celtic rock and traditional Irish folk music.

Remember, before you call for one for the road be sure you know the road.

2700 Main Street
Santa Monica, California 90405
(310) 452-1734
Cross Street: Hill Street