Maryland Avenue is one of my favorite streets in downtown Annapolis. Though moments away from the hustle and bustle of Main Street, Maryland Ave transports you out of that energy and into simpler times. On this street, you can find unique spots such as Old Fox Bookstore and Evergreen Antiques, as well as local staples such as Annebeth’s, a general store complete with a wide wine and beer selection, the local laundromat, and, of course, Galway Bay Irish Pub and Restaurant.
When you walk through the doors of Galway Bay, you are greeted by a wooden bar room with tables, booths, and ample bar seating. Old farm tools hang from the ceiling and antique alcohol signs line the walls, generating an authentic Irish pub feel. Natural light streams in through the large windows situated at the front of the room and there is not one TV insight, making this an incredible place to come and actually talk with your friends, do some work in a different environment, so just sit down to decompress after a long day.
This traditional Irish pub is complete with a full restaurant and menu chock full of delicious Irish grub such as a corned beef Reuben, beef and lamb stew, Shepard’s pie, and bangers and mash. A recent renovation in the dining area erected a whiskey bar highlighting their whiskey selections comprised of over 80 varieties. Their menu also consists of a rotating craft beer list, and of course, you can grab a pint of Irish favorites like Guinness, Smithwicks, or Magners Cider.
Galway Bay’s Happy Hour is Monday-Friday 3-7, as well as a special happy hour after the late classes at St. John’s let out on Monday and Thursday. These specials cover some of their small plates as well as a good selection of alcoholic beverages. While I normally go for a $3 pint of Dale’s Pale Ale, I decided to try something new. I went for their $6 take on a Moscow Mule: Queen Bee Honey Mule, made with a hand made honey simple syrup, fresh lime, Q Ginger Beer, and Boru Irish vodka. Another summer favorite is their unique Jameson Margarita, however, with Fall fast approaching, I decided to try their $5 Clontarf Irish Coffee. This delectable drink comes with a dollop of fresh homemade whipped cream and certainly warms you right up.
In terms of food, they offer a selection of Irish favorites such as mashed peas, summer sausage, and cabbage wraps as well as rounding out the menu with ninety-nine cent oysters. This visit I ordered one of my favorite items on the menu, $4 Irish Curry Fries. Best eaten with a fork, these delicious crispy “chips” are smothered by a sweet and spicy curry sauce, that I’ll often order on the side of dishes that don’t typically come with it. I also ordered their $5 potato cakes, which were super yummy and perfect for the impending fall weather. These cakes are made up of bleu, asiago, and cheddar cheese, with potato, onion, and peppers all mashed together and flash-fried. Finally, I ordered the $6 pork belly pick-ups–so good! These little pita pizzas artfully blend tender pork belly, goat cheese, micro arugula, caramelized onion, and orange whiskey marmalade. I will certainly be adding these to my favorites list.
There is also no shortage of entertainment coming through the doors of Galway Bay. On Tuesdays, they have a trivia night where you can form a team to showcase your collective knowledge. Wednesdays are home to an Irish trad music jam where local musicians sit in around and play their renditions of traditional Irish tunes. On Sundays, you can catch the smooth Jazz of Moustache O’Malley in the whiskey bar area during brunch and then at night, you can catch various local acts in the main bar room.
Needless to say, if you have not had the pleasure of enjoying this special little hideaway right on Maryland Avenue, I highly recommend you make the trek downtown to try it out ASAP. Or be sure to add it to your ‘Annapolis Bucket List’ for a Fall visit. The bartender, ‘Hoss’, will keep your drink flowing, Tina will make sure you get the right food in front of you, and Jessica will make sure you always have a smile – even if it’s a coffee mug the size of your head.