Ryan’s Corner House is the kind of place where you feel welcome and relaxed as soon as you enter. Its owners are Joe and Tracy Ryan, a married couple originally from Limerick, Ireland, who also own Feile Irish Pub and Restaurant in Wells. The atmosphere is cozy, with low ceilings decorated with dollar bills signed by patrons, and both the food and drink menu are heavily Irish.
My drinking companions and I sat right at the bar, where we found comfortable wooden barstools and purse hooks underneath the bar. The selection of Irish whiskey was staggering – I counted 54 options from $9 to $60 (for Jameson Rare Vintage), with most items in the $12 to $15 range. There was even a limited wine selection – definitely more than I’d expect to find in an Irish pub. The house wine was $6.50; there were also five whites (including one sparkling) and seven reds, all between $7 and $10. Eight beers are on draft, and 19 come in bottles.
My friends and I ordered a $9.50 Irish coffee (which came with a shamrock design in the foam, as did the Guinness), a $5 Guinness and an $8 glass of white wine. My favorite part of the drinks menu was the choice of seven combinations of Guinness with other beverages, most around $6. They are the Black and Tan (a mixture of a dark and a pale ale, in this case Guinness and Smithwick’s), the Snakebite (Guinness and cider), the Black Velvet (Guinness and prosecco), the Irish American (Guinness and Bud Light – I am not making this up), the Irish Bumble Bee (Guinness and Blue Moon, a Belgian-style beer), the Black and Blue (Guinness and blueberry beer) and the Half and Half (Guinness and Harp, a lager produced by Guinness). I feel like the cocktail menu might have had some sort of theme, but I just can’t put my finger on it …
The food menu is extensive, with two of the standout items the crispy fries and the $17.99 Guinness Irish beef stew. I don’t like Guinness or Irish beef stew, but that dish was incredible, and my friend who ordered it had to stab me with his fork to keep me from returning to his bowl for additional bites. As one might expect in an Irish pub, several items on the food menu involve Guinness in some form or fashion. The burger comes with a Guinness barbecue sauce, the salmon is cooked in maple and Guinness, and I’m pretty sure that Guinness was also one of the salad dressing options. There’s even a children’s menu, although I’m not sure I’d bring my kids unless they were old enough to drive me home after I got into the whiskey. Dang it, that sounds amazing. I wish I had thought to have a kid 16 years ago.
A final word of praise for our friendly and attentive bartender, who noticed what we needed before we did.
WHERE: 17 Western Ave., Kennebunk
WEBSITE: On Facebook.
HOURS: 3 p.m. to close Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday through Wednesday. Hours vary by time of year.
AMENITIES: Do you need any more amenities than a selection of 54 Irish whiskeys? Fine, there’s outdoor seating and a fire pit, too.
BOTTOM LINE: Everything an Irish bar should be, probably because actual Irish people own it.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes