Irish is on the menu in Pearl River

You’re sure to find plenty of places to pull a perfect Guinness this weekend in Pearl River. / File photo/The Journal News

This weekend, everybody’s Irish. And nowhere is this more true than in Pearl River, where people will gather to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday — and then come back to see the state’s second-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday.

With a little luck of the Irish, you’ll be able to find plenty of places to enjoy a nice Guinness and some corned beef and cabbage, too. From the mahogany bar and pressed tin ceiling at Gildea’s to the model train that skirts above you at The Saloon, there are plenty of comfortable places to check out.

We’re highlighting a few of the many choices here, listing them in order along Central Avenue so you can make a mini pub crawl, should you wish. But be forewarned: On Saturday, the celebration starts early, as people hunker down for a hearty Irish breakfast before taking the bus in to see the parade in Manhattan. And Sunday, when the Pearl River parade kicks off at 1:30 p.m., expect parking challenges, no kitchen service and standing-room only at most pubs.

Gildea’s

An ornate pub with a gleaming mahogany bar, pressed tin ceiling, and an almost-swanky dining room with maroon curtains and white tablecloths. The friendly service tableside and at the bar make even new customers feel like regulars.

Best for: A real sit-down meal on St. Patrick’s Day.

Menu highlights: Standard pub fare plus Irish classics like meaty Shepherd’s Pie and the Gaelic fat-bomb of Irish cocktail sausages with fries and curry sauce.

On tap: Eight beers including Guinness, Bass and Sam Adams.

St. Patrick’s Day: Open at 10 a.m. One of the few pubs offering its full menu today.

Parade Day: Open at noon. No regular menu, just corned beef sandwiches. Cold paradegoers will appreciate the Irish coffee bar.

Go: 61 E. Central Ave., 845-735-2564.

Johnny’s Smokehouse BBQ

What? A barbecue joint? Sure, why not! An airy and comfortable wainscoted dining room with banquettes lining the walls, dim lighting and warm wooden tables. But the real draw for the holiday will be the back patio, which is opening for the first time.

Best for: A great place to get barbecue if you’re not in the mood for corned beef.

Menu highlights: Chef Dave “Fink” Finkelstein will be grilling out back. The menu will also include corned beef sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, Guinness stew and Irish Lollipops, which are bangers wrapped in Irish bacon and served on a stick.

On tap: Normally there are 16 taps, but with the auxilliary bars there will be 22 for St. Patrick’s Day. Beers include Guinness, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s and Magner Irish Cider.

St. Patrick’s Day: Open noon to 1 a.m.

Parade day: Open noon till … whenever.

Go: 50 E. Central Ave., 845-735-3970, http://www.johnnyssmokehousepr.com.

Kwan Thai
From Thursday through Sunday, Kwan Thai is holding its annual Thai-rish Fest, serving corned beef, corned beef pad Thai, banger fried rice, corned beef spring rolls, and more. Owner Peter Bellhouse’s personality is as exuberant as the restaurant’s colorful décor.

Best for: A deliciously untraditional St. Pat’s.

On tap: Defiant Brewing’s Irish Porter and Irish Ale.

St. Patrick’s Day: Open at 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more.

Parade Day: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the restaurant serving its Thai-rish Fest menu. Plus a truck parked at Williams and Central Avenue is serving chicken fingers, six types of fries, chicken satay and spring rolls: both corned beef and regular.

Go: 22 E. Central Ave., 845-735-5906, http://www.kwanthai.com.

T.F. Noonan’s

Your next stop is a picture-perfect Irish pub, replete with pressed tin ceiling and gleaming wood bar. The outdoor patio is an inviting place for Guinness al fresco. The kitchen stays open until 3 a.m., so this is a prime stop for a late-night bite.

Best for: Live music on St. Pat’s.

Menu highlights: A dizzying array of appetizers, including so-wrong-but-delicious disco fries served with melted cheese and brown gravy. The menu is rounded out by burgers, sandwiches, salads and Shepherd’s Pie.

On tap: Eight beers, including the requisite Guinness.

St. Patrick’s Day: Open at 8 a.m. serving Irish breakfast. Four beers on tap: Guinness, Harp, Magners Irish Cider and Smithwick’s. Limited menu featuring corned beef sandwiches, burgers and Shepherd’s Pie. Live music starts at 6 p.m. with performances by Red Dog and the Funky Monkey and a DJ playing Irish music.

Parade Day: Open at noon. Kitchen closed. Hot dogs available on the back patio.

Go: 16 E. Central Ave., 845-735-6427, http://www.tfnoonans.com.

The Saloon

It is easy to get lost in this Victorian-style pub, with its sprawling floor plan, two bars and multiple levels. Free popcorn, a model train overhead circling the bar, a tiny video game room, and a jukebox keep the atmosphere festive night and day.

Best for: Playing vintage video games.

Menu highlights: Extensive menu of pub grub, sandwiches and entrees such as prime rib and chicken pot pie.

On tap: 21 beers, including Guinness, Smithwick’s, Yuengling, Bass and Bud.

St. Patrick’s Day: Regular menu available, along with Irish specials, such as corned beef and cabbage and Irish Fish & Chips. Later in the day, expect to see — and hear — bagpipers from New York City’s parade.

Parade Day: Open at 11:30 a.m., with a special menu including corned beef and cabbage, burgers and appetizers such as mozzarella sticks.

Go: 45-49 W. Central Ave., 845-735-5300, http://www.saloonpearlriver.com.

Horse and Jockey

Stroll into this welcoming stop with gleaming wood floors and mustard-and-pumpkin-colored walls adorned with prints of racing horses. One of the plasma televisions is often tuned to horse racing. The dining room is a nice stop for a weekday lunch.

Best for: An expertly drawn pint of Guinness.

Menu highlights: A fried food feis, including over-the-top bacon cheese fries, onion rings and calamari. Shepherd’s Pie shares menu space with burgers, broiled seafood and pastas.

On tap: One dozen beers, including Smithwick’s and Guinness.

St. Patrick’s Day: Open at 10 a.m. Abbreviated menu of Irish favorites, including Irish beef stew.

Parade Day: Open at noon. No regular menu, just corned beef sandwiches.

Go: 33 W. Central Ave., Pearl River. 845-620-9523, http://www.horseandjockeypearlriver.com.

Source: LIZ JOHNSON AND KATHERINE CURRY, carticle

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