It's hard to imagine quaint little Historic Dublin littered with drunks, brawlers and nogoodnicks, but it was - in the late 1800s. Prohibition chased away the bars and meddlesome crowds, but the spirit of those days lingers inside Dublin Village Tavern.
There may be plenty of "authentic" Irish pubs out there, but this one's the real deal - even if it was an accident in creation.
"We didn't plan to be an Irish bar. We were trying to be a traditional American tavern, but the people demanded we do more of that, so we did," said owner Tim Picciano.
Opened in 2000, the small, winding pub is the latest tenant to grace the 120-year-old building. Photos on the walls illuminate its past - faded black-and-white images, like a family portrait taken inside the space when it was a hardware store.
The little boy in the picture still stops by the tavern sometimes, all grown up of course. Gray-haired locals regularly bump elbows with young professionals at Dublin Village Tavern's long, dark-wood bar. An intimate, window-wrapped room greets guests inside the Victorian-style building; around the corner there's a tall brick space lined with wooden tables.
Like the bar's subtle modern flourishes, such as flat-panel TVs, the imaginative menu blends old and new. The Irish Egg Rolls ($8) are a necessity for first-time visitors, delicately fried and packed with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss.
Next to pints of Guinness, Boddingtons ($4.25) and Killian's ($3.75) you'll find patrons enjoying Irish staples like Fish & Chips ($12.25) or Olde Dublin Shepherd's Pie ($15). Comfort-food options also abound, like the Tavern Meat Loaf ($12.50) with its Guinness, fresh herbs and aged Dijon seasoning.
The spicy Black & Bleu Burger ($9) demands attention, as well as the kicked-up jalapeno flair of the Village Chowder Soup ($3).
Although Dublin Village Tavern carries a decent selection of whiskey, most patrons opt for cold beer. There's no light beer on tap here, like a proper Irish bar, but you will find a rotating daily draft special for $3.50.
The pub adds some variety with sought-after bottles like Troegs HopBack Amber Ale, Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Bell's Two Hearted Ale ($4). According to Picciano, whatever the drink, if a bartender notices a regular approaching, they will have it ready and waiting.