Dining in Davis: De Vere’s Irish Pub

Rarely does a new restaurant come into Davis that lives up to its hype. Generally, when a new bar/eatery opens after much anticipation, one or two visits will likely suffice for the appeal to wear off.

Photo Credit: Evan Davis

De Vere’s Irish Pub, which opened to the public two weeks ago, is an exception to this trend. Besides today, when I’m here at the crack of dawn enjoying their bottomless coffee, there have only been a few empty seats in the whole place each time I’ve visited.

For me, it was easy during the first experience to find reasons to come back again — the beer selection was great, half the food items were slathered in bacon and cheese, forever raising my standards for bar snacks, and everyone inside seemed genuinely relaxed and happy. What was there not to love?

The reason I feel De Vere’s is a place to return to time and time again is that it is not just a bar, at least in terms of what Davis is used to — it’s much more than just a stop on an average Friday or Saturday night downtown.

De Vere’s is open more hours than it is closed, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. during the week, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends. It has a packed schedule of events and activities, including Trivia Night on Mondays with Dr. Andy Jones, Whiskey Dinners and Burger Thursdays. They hold an early-morning study hall every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with free Wi-Fi, bottomless coffee for $1.95 and a growing selection of breakfast items. Obviously, I don’t know the owners personally, but they deserve a ton of credit for opening a venue that offers something that literally every person in Davis can fully appreciate.

The pub’s appearance is notable itself. It has an intriguing green exterior, iron-like letters above the doorway and stained glass windows that make it a unique addition to the streets of downtown Davis. Inside, the wooden furniture is a warm, rich espresso color and there’s soft lighting throughout the entire place. The Irish family that owns the pub imported all the fixtures, including the massive bar, directly from Ireland.

There’s more that puts De Vere’s in a category of its own. There are squashy couches and Irish-themed art completely covering the walls. The bookshelves in the back, stocked with leather-bound books and board games, give me a feeling of contentedness like I am hanging out in, say, my grandfather’s old house with my entire family. Needless to say, it’s definitely a comfortable atmosphere, with a bold feeling of authenticity that can’t be found much around Davis.

On my most recent visit, we arrived during happy hour, around 5:30 p.m. De Vere’s has pretty generous happy hour specials every weeknight from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., offering discounted appetizers, such as chicken strips for $5, and smaller portions of dinner items, such as a half-order of fish and chips for $6. They have a small selection of beer for $3 a glass (or $12 a pitcher — we went for this option, twice) and some wines and spirits for $4.

The hearty food and drink in the cold weather seemed to have a wide appeal, as there was hardly an unoccupied seat in the house. We ordered a pitcher of Smithwicks while waiting for a table and enjoyed it around a square foot of empty bar space until a waitress ushered us to a table around only five minutes later. The table was crammed slightly in a corner, but even with my mild claustrophobia I felt contentedly cozy and not cramped.

The three of us sat enjoying our deliciously-dark beer until our food appeared in front of us — Newport Nachos, $5 for a huge pile of potato fries covered in cheese, bacon, chili, tomatoes and sour cream, and three fresh fish tacos, which were $2 each.

The food was great for several reasons. First, it came to us quickly, and the bartender was able to scout us even after we were herded into the corner. Second, the tacos came with a hefty piece of crispy cornmeal-fried fish inside each, accompanied by a delicious guacamole-like spread that had a perfect amount of kick to it.

Third, the portion of Irish ‘nachos’ was enormous and easily enough for an early dinner. The spiciness of the chilies was complemented well by the cheese and sour cream, and easily neutralized with our second pitcher of beer.

There was absolutely nothing better than taking a break that day and devouring food and beer that hearty for such a good price. Likewise, there was nothing like waking up and coming to De Vere’s first thing in the morning today. I’m contentedly finishing this review while seated on their luxurious couches, listening to the Beatles and enjoying a stress-free start to the day with my roommate.

Generally, these reviews should focus on food, but De Vere’s stands apart from the rest because it has so much else to offer that is worth noting. The food is incredible — that’s a given. But people will find something extra if they come in just expecting a meal. The atmosphere, hospitality and whole idea of the place will surely make it a popular location for months and years to come. I can definitely say that I will be returning.

Source: Lani Chan, theaggie.org

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