It’s a big day today. Not only is it St. Patrick’s Day, but my favorite Irish pub, Rí Rá Las Vegas, turns five today. Their anniversary really got me thinking about what makes the pub so great, and I wanted to share my five favorite things about Rí Rá (in no particular order) – one for each year they’ve been in business. Although, truth be told, I could easily come up with many more.
- It takes you back to Ireland
The moment you step into Rí Rá, you feel as if you’ve been transported straight to Ireland. The Las Vegas pub is custom-made and constructed from salvaged materials that come straight from Ireland to the U.S. Rí Rá features a traditional shop bar, which played an important role in rural Ireland acting as the pub, local store, post office and community gathering point and also has special significance for one of Rí Rá’s owners, Ciaran Sheehan. This particular shop bar began its life in the 1880s at Foley’s in West Cork, Ireland, a pub that had been in Sheehan’s family for generations.
Additional cool pieces of history inside Rí Rá Las Vegas include:
- The ceiling in the shop bar, which was the original ceiling and walls from the jockeys’ room of the renowned Curragh Racecourse in Kildare
- An authentic Victorian Bar, crafted in the warm pub style of 19th century Dublin
- An eight-foot-tall, 500-pound carved plaster statue of St. Patrick dating back to 1850
- Flooring that came from Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast where the Titanic was constructed
- A salvaged Georgian archway taking you from the Victorian bar into the whiskey bar
- An original glazed jewelry cabinet from 1910 that now houses the pub’s a wide selection of whiskeys and scotches
- A 1970s inspired Parlour Room featuring a mix of low seating and bar stools
- A beautifully restored music room bar originally built in 1880
The authenticity doesn’t stop there either. A large portion of the pub’s staff are from Ireland, many of which are part of a J1 training program that allows them to come to U.S. for real life hospitality experience. Also, the pub provides live authentic Irish music every evening with many of the featured bands coming directly from Ireland. On top of all that, the food and drinks are traditional, which leads nicely into my next two favorite things.
- Delicious Irish cuisine
Rí Rá takes its food seriously, and the finished product really speaks for itself; it’s authentic with a hint of American flair, and it’s delicious. The pub sources the best ingredients locally and prepares them with care. From the award-winning Fish & Chips to the house-brined corned beef, traditional potato cakes and even a few vegetarian options for people who are interested in less meat (like me!), there’s really something tasty here for anyone.
- A properly poured pint of Guinness
To some, this might seem like a small detail, but it’s honestly something that a lot of places don’t get right. A proper pour has a two-step process and takes 119.5 seconds. This process is key to getting the perfect ratio of velvet black beer sitting under a smooth, creamy white head. Although, you may not want to wait the close to two minutes for your pint, once you’ve had it the right way, you’ll never go back. Pro tip for Guinness fans, make sure you head next door and check out the Guinness, featuring the largest selection of Guinness merchandise outside of Ireland and the only one like it in the U.S.
And don’t worry, if Guinness isn’t your thing, the pub has a great selection of the finest craft beer and Irish whiskey and a full cocktail menu.
- Rí Rá knows how to have a good time
The name says it all. Rí Rá comes from “Rí Rá agus Ruaile Buaile,” a phrase translating roughly as divilment, good fun or any sociable activity that improves with fine food, a nice pint of Guinness or dram of whiskey. It describes that feeling of exuberance and revelry, where music and merriment compete and the conversation flows as smooth as the pints of Guinness ebb in a glass. And, let me tell you, there’s nothing like the atmosphere on St. Patrick’s Day. The pub really takes things to a whole new level around the holiday with continuous live music, a great crowd, dancing, bagpipers, good eats and plenty of Guinness.
- It’s a place where everybody knows your name
Each time I walk into the pub, I’m greeted with a friendly face (often Irish), and I always feel as if each person goes above and beyond to make my experience memorable. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know many of the pubs bartenders and managers personally, and they all love what they do. Even though a lot of their customers are tourists, Rí Rá has still managed to build a base of regulars who frequent the pub each time they visit Las Vegas. That to me is a real testament to their staff – who really make you feel like family.
Happy Fifth Anniversary, Rí Rá. Here’s to many more. Slainte!
Submitted by: Wendy Sloan