O’Donoghue’s Pub in Brunswick, located where Ravens Roost used to be, is a cross between an Irish pub and a biker bar, and the combination works perfectly. My drinking companions and I showed up midday on a Saturday, a dead time for many bars in the summer, and were quickly won over by the excellent air conditioning and friendly bartender, Patrick O’Donoghue, one of the two brothers who co-own the pub.
Although his grandfather ran a pub in Dublin, O’Donoghue didn’t originally intend for his bar to be an Irish one. His vision was more of a neighborhood bar where everyone would be welcome, and that’s definitely the vibe he achieved. Irish décor is limited primarily to the entrance, with the most Irish touch on the inside being the bartender’s friendly demeanor and terrific sense of humor. He had my friends and I laughing right from the start, and as a result, we ended up staying far longer than we had planned.
At first glance, the bar doesn’t look special. There’s a small outdoor patio with umbrellas and a roped-off area for live music. But at the actual bar area, there’s beautiful marine finish on the counter with purse hooks and electrical outlets under the bar. Much of the work was done by the bar’s many regulars. The barstools have backs on them, making it even easier to sit at the bar for an extended period of time.
O’Donoghue’s has a full selection of hard liquor, but no special cocktail menu, so my friends and I ordered wine at a little under $7 per glass. When I jokingly apologized for not ordering Guinness, O’Donoghue assured us,”We don’t discriminate here – we love ALL alcohol!” Yup, I had found my home away from home in Brunswick. In addition to the obligatory Guinness on tap, the pub also offers Maine craft beers.
Intrigued by the fact that the food menu stated that nothing was fried, my friends and I ordered $3.49 fries (with gravy for $1 extra), $3.99 onion rings and $7.99 potato skins – all baked. All three were really good, but the onion rings were the star of the show, beating out most fried versions. Of course, the health benefits probably diminish once you eat an enormous quantity of them, but let’s not talk about that right now. We weren’t hungry enough for a full meal, but several of the other bar patrons had ordered pizza (starting at $6.99), and it looked and smelled delicious. From the way they were digging in, I suspect it tasted great, too.
As added enticement to keep people coming back, O’Donoghue’s hosts an open pool tournament on Mondays, trivia on Tuesdays, a charity motorcycle “Bike Night” every other Wednesday (with live music on the alternate weeks), karaoke on Thursdays and a wide variety of live music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If I lived in Brunswick, I’d be a regular.
WHERE: 103 Pleasant St., Brunswick
PHONE: (207) 844-8371
HOURS: 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Friday, noon to 1 a.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
AMENITIES: Parking lot, small outdoor deck, kitchen open late, wide variety of regular activities such as pool, trivia, karaoke and live music.
BOTTOM LINE: Relaxed family-run pub which makes you feel at home within a few minutes of your arrival; great indoor break on a hot summer day.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes