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IRISH FOOD, BEER AND FUN
Carrie Hickerson-Davis, the owner of Fagan's Irish Pub, realized that downtown lacked a good post-work hangout, so she converted the sportsbar complex formerly know as Buns into a spacious Irish pub and restaurant. Photos of famous Irishmen now flank the walls, ornate beer mugs adorn the shelves and a neon infused Boddington's sign beckons from the front window.
Tables inlaid with chessboards sit in the front of the bar near the windows -- where patrons can comfortably sit, play a game and drink an Irish coffee or a whiskey.
The back half of the restaurant, which went completely unlit and unused while we were in attendance, features a hard wood dance floor where Hickerson-Davis plans on hosting live traditional Irish music on the weekends. There also two pool tables near the dance floor.
The menu is filled with Fagan's homespun variations on Irish cuisine. The Shepherd's Pie, the Pub's flagship dish, was slightly disappointing. Layers of mashed potatoes, carrots, ground beef and gravy were assembled in the kitchen and rushed out to our table. The ground beef layer of the concoction was about 3 inches thick. Which is great for those who love ground beef, but less enjoyable for those who aren't quite as carnivorous.
Other Irish delicacies, like Bubble and Squeak (a cabbage and potato pancake) and a Guinness and Cheese fondue, are similiarly hearty. One major drawback of the "traditional Irish" menu is that it lacks lighter fare for those less interested in cheese and beef. We tried to be understanding, as it is a pub, but it is slightly annoying that the options for vegans are non-existant. When we asked about the veggie burger that was listed on the menu, our waiter informed us it had been "86ed".
Fagan's offers an "10 minutes or less express lunch" with several entree options for $7.99.
While the menu isn't the strongest in town, the drinking at Fagan's is superb. They stock a full bar and the draft beers usually clock in at around $4.00. The list of foreign and domestic brews is extensive. What's slightly less extensive is the staff's knowledge of said brews. While we at Famous aren't exactly beer connoisseurs, we found the staff's mispronunciations of various foreign beers slightly annoying. The servers also completely confused ales with lagers and lagers with pilsners on several occassions. This concerned us, although to be fair the staff is brand new.
That said, the bartenders serve the beers in proper glasses and the list of beers on tap includes Guinness, Stella Artois, Boddington's... that list goes on, but the point is that they have a number of well selected and tasty brews.
Fagan's is a place where soccer fans can get their fix watching live games on a gigantic wide screen television mounted above the bar (we didn't measure it, but estimates ranged from 7 feet to "gi-normous"). The lack of a varied menu makes it unsuitable for most other occassions than an evening of drinking with the boys- in other words, it's a pub.
Fagan's is open 7 days a week and is located at the corner of Van Ness and Kern in downtown Fresno. The telephone number is (559) 266-0225.