Meehan’s Public House Downtown

180 Peachtree St., Atlanta

Meehan’s Public House Downtown opened in March, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, and quickly became a lively destination, breathing new life into the old Macy’s building on Peachtree Street.

The Irish theme tavern is owned by Atlanta-based 101 Concepts Restaurant Group, with two more Meehan’s locations in Sandy Springs and Vinings, plus Food 101 in Sandy Springs. All four restaurants are chef-driven, and Meehan’s has been ahead of the curve in bringing fine dining touches to pub grub.

Downtown, chef Jordan Wakefield is incorporating organic and seasonal ingredients into several dishes — though long running favorites, such as crunchy Guinness-battered fish and chips and 101 Meatloaf made with bison, beef and sausage, are still menu staples.

Macy’s space

From the sidewalk, the classic brick and painted wood facade suggests an intimate pub. Inside, though, the sprawling space stretches through a series of rooms that take up over 4000 square feet. Dark floors and woodwork, inviting snugs, and salvaged architectural treasures, including an old Irish confessional and arched pocket doors that enclose a private dining room, all add to the vintage charm.

Comfort food

101 Concepts favors comfort food served in substantial portions, and most dishes at Meehan’s offer good bang for the buck.

Fun, easy to share bar snacks include fried pickles with ranch dressing ($7), crispy salt and vinegar potato chips packed in a paper sack ($4), and pretzels with spicy mustard and queso dip ($7).

Other starters, such as ahi tuna tostadas ($12) or buttermilk fried chicken tenders ($8), are more substantial. In fact, the fish tacos, served three to a plate, are nearly enough for a meal. The tasty Irish-Mexican mash-up features a healthy hunks of Guinness-battered cod nestled in flour tortillas, with shredded lettuce and a spicy combo of pico de gallo, chipotle sauce and lime-cilantro sour cream.

Burgers and entrees

Among several big burgers, the Farmstead ($12) is made with ground bison and topped with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato.

Entrees include shepherd’s pie ($12), layered with organic beef, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy. In addition to the all day Irish breakfast, the “Big Lebowski” is a hearty, breakfast anytime melange of eggs, bangers, ham and hash browns in a skillet.

During a recent visit, the Guinness-braised organic short rib was a hefty piece of boneless beef surrounded by creamy mashed potatoes and buttery sauteed spinach. Unfortunately, the relatively lean meat wasn’t cooked long enough to be anywhere near fork tender and required a workout with a steak knife.

Raising the beer bar

Meehan’s beer list goes beyond the usual Irish pub offerings. Look for the likes of Allagash, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Duvel, Ommegang, Rogue and Stone, as well as Red Brick, Sweetwater and Terrapin.

At 7 p.m. on July 27, chef Jordan Wakefield hosts a four-course beer dinner with pairings from Unibroue brewery. $45.00 per person. Reservations required: 404-214-9821.

Dining out

Meehan’s Public House Downtown

Address, phone: 180 Peachtree Street, 404-214-9821

Signature dish: Guinness-battered fish and chips

Entree prices: $10-$18

Hours: Kitchen: 11:30 a.m.- midnight Mondays-Wednesdays; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays. Brunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Bar open late.

Credit cards: Yes

Online: www.meehansdowntown.com

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