Buck of the Irish

Nikki BuchananMarch 1, 2018
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Have a wee bit o’ midweek fun at these Irish pubs and restaurants. Sláinte!

Rúla Búla
401 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
480-929-9500, rulabula.com
Just as Dos Gringos once ruled Corona sales in Arizona, this welcoming Mill Avenue pub is the state’s top mover of Guinness. Suffice it to say, the Vitamin G – discounted $1 at happy hour – is always fresh, and you’ll get a perfectly poured pint at the proper temperature every time. Meanwhile, happy hour small plates are cheap and delicious, including “Irish sliders” (mini Reubens with Guinness-marinated corned beef, $2.50), Guinness barbecue wings (four for $3.75) and Irish chips (fried potato slices, served with sauces like curry or brown gravy, $2.75). Cheeky name aside, the hot bollix are great: spicy, deep-fried potato balls, infused with rashers (Irish bacon), scallions and cheddar, served with hot sauce and ranch dressing ($2.50). Warm Irish bread pudding, drizzled with Irish whiskey sauce, isn’t discounted at happy hour, but it may be the simplest and best bread pudding in town. 3-6 p.m. daily.

Seamus McCaffrey’s
18 W. Monroe St., Phoenix
602-253-6081, seamusmccaffreys.com
You’ll find plenty of ways to get happy and stay that way at this dark, divey and all-green Irish pub adjacent to Downtown’s Hotel San Carlos, all of them involving liquid refreshment, which certainly sounds like the “wee bit o’ Ireland” the motto promises. Choose among Irish beers (Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s, all $4.50 during happy hour), beer cocktails, regular cocktails ($4.50 during happy hour), fanciful shots and Arizona’s largest selection of whiskeys (51 American brands, 26 Irish brands and 68 single-malt scotches). Boozy options abound, so think about eating something – if only to stay vertical. Be forewarned: The discounted food list is not particularly Irish, and not particularly good. Safe choices include the Irish nachos (potatoes topped with corned beef and guacamole), Buffalo wings, and mac and cheese with bacon, all two bucks off during happy hour. 4-7 p.m. M-F.

Seamus McCaffrey’s

Tim Finnegan’s
17045 N. 59th Ave., Glendale
602-875-8331, timfinnegans.com
The craic is mighty at this often crowded, seriously noisy west side spot – part Irish pub, part sports bar and part relaxed neighborhood hangout. You won’t need much scratch to party, given that Irish draft beers are $1 off; domestic bottled beers go for $2.75 and well drinks and house wines cost $4. That means money left over for soft pretzels with dips of mustard and warm cheese ($5), house-made Irish potato skins dotted with crumbled Irish bacon ($5) and crunchy corned beef and cabbage taquitos, sided with zingy horseradish mustard and salsa verde (odd but good, $6). A trio of crispy cod sliders, heaped with coleslaw and slathered with tartar sauce, aren’t on the happy hour menu, but who cares? They’re still a bargain, and they’re the perfect accompaniment for a Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. Get there sooner than later; this place gets packed. 4-7 p.m. M-F.

Tim Finnegan’s

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