Perhaps the best place to find the lively spirit of Ireland is inside an authentic pub. From New York City to Dublin, every tavern shares the familiar traits and tastes that have become emblematic of the Irish identity and culture.
That’s true even here in Kalispell.
Brannigan’s Irish Pub opened in downtown last week amid a frenzy of excitement and anticipation. Before the Guinness kegs were even tapped, the new pub already attracted more than 300 followers on Facebook, and ever since the Nov. 13 unveiling the crowds have been spilling out the doors.
Located one block off Main Street inside the classic Loading Dock building, and open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the lunch and dinner pub is livening up the neighborhood with its vibrant atmosphere.
“Brannigan’s is a delightful, cozy and warm downtown pub,” Dewey Swank said.
“Expect a crowd and some Irish singing nightly.”
Swank has been involved in the project along with Karla and Zane Levengood.
The Levengoods are descendents of the Brannigan family, which traces its roots back to Ireland.
The Irish heritage is evident everywhere inside the new Kalispell establishment, including the music playing in the background and the occasional bartender’s hymn.
Three well-known Irish sayings, written in Gaelic, adorn sections of the pub: “100,000 welcomes;” “Above all else, go carefully with a full cup;” and “Health to the men, and may the women live forever.”
The kitchen serves up traditional pub fare as well as a full specialty menu featuring a selection of Irish staples made in house. The appetizers include oysters on the half shell and steamed and seasoned shrimp. The lunch and dinner cuisine includes bangers and mash, Shepard’s pie and corned beef and cabbage. The Rueben, made with turkey or corned beef, has already emerged as a signature item.
Of course, those who enjoy the stoutly flavor of Guinness are in luck. The full bar features an assortment of beer and liquor, including Smithwick’s and Harp, and Irish whiskeys and scotches. Fine wine is also available. The Irish coffee is a must, according to Swank. Another popular order is the black and tan, which combines Guinness with ale.
A complete remodel transformed the western section of the 80-year-old Loading Dock building that once housed merchandise that was unloaded from the nearby railroad tracks.
The pub is encased inside the traditional brick building and builders added additional brick that’s 100 years old and recycled from chimney flues in Yellowstone Park, Swank said.
The pub’s custom wooden tables were crafted from a 100-year-old barn in the North Fork. Northwest Cabinet Works in Kalispell created the gleaming amber bar and back bar.
A foot rail near the bar’s floor comes from old railroad tracks, connecting the new setting to its original one.
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