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At Home and Intimate at Paddy’s Pub

East Side bar is a great place for meeting and drinking

Dec. 6, 2016
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Paddy’s Pub (2339 N. Murray Ave.) is a gem of a bar tucked away a bit from the rowdiness of the East Side’s six-way intersection of bars and restaurants. It’s an eccentric, labyrinthine pub that manages to have an incredibly homey feel. It’s the kind of place that feels like a fire’s going somewhere, just out of sight.

Upon entering the bar, I was greeted by Patty Egan, who remembered my name and my drink order (a Guinness with a shot of vodka in it, my go-to at Irish pubs), even though I hadn’t been there in a couple of months. Her husband, Woody, was standing at the side of the bar chatting up a few regulars. It all felt very intimate—Woody and Patty seemed to know everyone in there, and everyone in there seemed to know everyone else. And though I came in as an outsider, I wound up meeting several of the regulars and getting to know them a bit. It’s a great environmental mix of close and open. 

Paddy’s is a bar that unfolds—the rooms just keep coming. It’s a bit ramshackle in a glorious way, with each room featuring antique decorations, strange accouterments, odd adornments. But there’s a real, humble sincerity in what could be initially perceived as kitsch—nothing at Paddy’s is ironic, which I admire. Paddy’s feels like it’s an Irish pub because the owners wanted it to be an Irish pub, not because that would be the most commercially viable option. It’s very organic feeling. As Woody told me, “We put in the bar what we like. We want people to look around and be entertained.”

In addition to their lower level, where most folks congregate, there’s an upstairs section as well, which gets opened as necessitated by patrons. The upstairs is one long room with a small stage for musicians and a repurposed grocery store counter from the mid 1800s that serves as the bar. Green carpeting gives the upstairs a lush vibe, but that hominess remains: On a small shelf sit framed pictures of wedding parties and baby showers that folks have held in that area, which is available for reservation. 

Paddy’s is a great place to have a drink with friends, or to go on a getting-to-know-you date; it’s not exactly quiet, as there are groups of people laughing and Irish music playing in the background, but it’s not overly loud, and the mixture of music and excited chatter is warm and convivial. Though it’s a bit tucked away off Murray, it’s a bar certainly worth seeking out. As Woody says, “Once you’ve been here, you know where it is.”

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