TRAVELHOST of The Triangle Magazine announces The heartbeat of any Irish home centers around the kitchen and Tir Na Nog Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square Art District continues that tradition with dishes that are above and beyond the normal pub fare.
Owner Pete Pagano is proud to say that their food is made from scratch. The desserts are made in house, Angus beef is ground in house, and over 20% of their ingredients are from North Carolina. The fries and kettle chips served today were potatoes yesterday, and they buy from local farmers’ markets and bakeries – even making some of their own bread whenever possible. You won’t find a microwave lurking in his kitchen.
Executive Chef Aaron Vaughen uses his fine dining background to reinvent and reinterpret Irish food. How about a Scotch egg as a starter? It’s a hard boiled egg wrapped in house made sausage, baked and served on a bed of mixed greens, tomato confit and a Jameson Irish whiskey mustard sauce. Or savor a Ploughman’s Platter of house cured meats, aged cheddar and gruyere, along with a smattering of pickled eggs, assorted veggies, and an authentic English style pork pie.
Among the moderately priced lunch offerings you’ll find the Pub burger topped with Irish rashers (akin to bacon, a rasher is cured pork sliced thin and seared on a flat top, slightly juicier and without the crunch), aged porter cheddar, house cut Irish wedges, and fresh tomato onion jam. Perhaps a nod to their southern location, the Raleigh cheese steak is a perfectly toasted baquette stuffed with house made N.C. BBQ, topped with a pepper jack cheese sauce, sautéed onions and green peppers.
Lighter fare includes beer cheese soup, or the “Salad with no Name,” a mix of fresh greens topped with Irish rashers, grilled apples, brie, red onions, and toasted sunflower seeds, served with a cider and roasted tomato vinaigrette.
You’ll find traditional Irish main courses as well, like corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and a hearty cottage pie – ground beef and vegetables topped with a garlic roasted potato crust and a caramelized onion gravy. Sunday brunch is a favorite here, too, with made-to-order omelets, waffles, fresh fruits, desserts and more for just $12 a person.
Music and beer are also an integral part of Tir Na Nog. The pub offers 17 beers on draft, over two dozen microbrews, and a variety of domestic and imported bottles, and even has a “Beer Cocktail” menu. Their focus is also on some of the fledgling local breweries. Traditional Irish music is featured every Friday night and Irish jam sessions are held Sundays. The Pub has hosted such national and international legends as The Dublin City Ramblers, Albannach, Seven Nations, Old Blind Dogs and The Prodigals. Mondays feature comedy night, Wednesdays are Pub Trivia, and Thursdays spotlight “Local Band Local Beer.”
Tir Na Nog is always family friendly, but late nights a happening bar scene emerges. Live DJs keep the crowd moving from 10pm until the lights come down. If you happen to own a kilt, this is the place to wear it.
Located at 218 South Blount Street, Tir Na Nog is open 11-2am Mon-Fri and 10-2am Sat-Sun. Historic City Market is across the street so take the time to wander its cobblestone streets before or after dining at the
pub and enjoy a piece of Raleigh’s history along with your Irish meal.
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