We seek comfort, camaraderie and good, rich food when the weather’s cold and the landscape bleak, and that’s just what’s found among the pages of “Irish Pubs in America: History, Lore and Recipes”, a recently released coffee table-sized book by Robert Meyers with Ron Wallace, both of the North Fulton area.
Like the history of the Emerald Isle itself, the best Irish pubs conjure darkness and light, tragedy and hope. There’s grit – in the weathered tavern floors, grim faces hanging from the walls, and wizened workers watching televised battles on the pitch from their bar stools.
But there’s mirth, too – mostly when you toast your neighbor, warmly savor that first sip of stout, and smile. If the music starts, you’ll soon be in fine shape.
Such are elements of the Irish pub “mystique” that Meyers and Wallace, quite the beguiling gentlemen themselves, looked for when staking claims on best Irish pubs.
“We logged 50,000 air miles and performed hundreds of interviews with pub owners. We quickly found out we didn’t just want to highlight the most famous pubs,” Wallace stated. Instead it was the people, history, and the buildings themselves that distinguished them as “best”, Meyers added.
Some of the 52 Irish pubs that make the cut include The Dubliner in D.C., The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, O’Rourke’s in South Bend, and The Perfect Pint Public House in New York. Wallace’s own antiquely decorated Olde Blind Dog pubs in Milton and Brookhaven are also featured. All capture the unique flavors of their local communities.
The book’s author, Meyers, sees with his observant eye and keen sense of history the whole of a human endeavor in the smallest of detail. He researched the pubs extensively, wrote the narrative, and then added fun and edifying “sidebars.” Along with marvelous quotes, these little lessons provide a genuine education.
Wallace, whose extensive accomplishments include a 38-year career with UPS (he retired as President of UPS International), was essential in planning the project and gaining the trust of stubbornly reticent pub owners. Without such access the book wouldn’t exist.
Thanks to lovely design by Deeds Publishing in Marietta, too, the book comes alive through bold photos Meyers either took or retrieved from archives. Through these glorious pictures, funny and poignant stories, and first-person accounts focused on the history and unique aspect of each establishment, this book is sure to become the definitive work on the subject of America’s most distinctive Irish pubs, and a beautiful one at that.
“Irish Pubs in America” truly captures the place in America’s heart where the anguished but faithful old soul of Ireland still resides - a place where even a recent American immigrant can find a warm home and authentic Irish sustenance. To learn more, visit www.irishpubsbook.com.
Veronica Buckman has been a resident of Milton for 10 years. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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