- 349 Monroe, Detroit, MI, 48226
- Overall User Rating:
- (8 ratings)
- 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Tue., 11 a.m.-2 a.m Wed.-Fri., 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat.-Sun.
- Official Web Site:
Status: We don’t have the mild, year-round temps, rolling greens hills or the Rose of Tralee pageant of Europe’s third largest island, but Detroit’s luck of the Irish comes by way of Greektown staple the Old Shillelagh.
The Irish pub, managed for the last four years by sisters Becky Deslipte and Shellie Lewis, opened nearly 35 years ago in February 1975. Since then, the Old Shillelagh has remained true to its Irish roots (John Brady, one of the original owners, lived in Dublin) by offering authentic Irish bands, a large Irish (and non-Irish) clientele and, of course, corned-beef sandwiches.
“This bar reminds me of Ireland,” says 21-year-old Arden Poniatowski of Farmington, who spent two weeks in Ireland this past summer. “I come here every weekend. It’s really awesome. I love it.”
Her favorite part? The live band each weekend.
Gear: There’s no dress code at the pub where the motto seems to be “we are family.” Red Wings' fans rocked the jerseys while bachelorettes, their entourages and the majority of people at the bar sported jeans and fairly casual shirts.
Mood: At 10:15 p.m. Saturday, a line of energetic people -- perhaps fueled by the rush of winning at the roulette tables inside the nearby Greektown Casino, stood waiting to hand over their $5 to enter the already jam-packed pub.
Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself doing a two-step shuffle with a complete stranger in attempts to make your way from the bar to the wooden dance floor at the other side of the narrow venue.
A large bar spans the length of the entrance. Before making it through to the second room with a small corner bar, you'll pass by a few tables surrounding a sea of bodies grooving to top 40 hits. The dance floor, formerly a game room large enough for one pool table, is decorated by brick walls adorned with signatures and sayings from past and present patrons “Everyone just started signing their names," Deslipte says.
Farmington’s Katie Lynch waited for nine years to celebrate her 21st birthday at the Old Shillelagh. “Our family’s 75-percent Irish, and we always said on you 21st birthday, we will have your birthday party at the Old Shillelagh, the best Irish pub in metro Detroit.”
Most Saturdays, you’ll find Lynch, who sports a green shamrock tattoo on her hip, rockin’ out to the three-part Irish band on the second level, which features another bar and music room with plenty of wooden chairs and tables.
Pick me up: There’s no signature drink, but Deslipte says at an Irish bar, you can’t go wrong with a good whiskey straight up. Along with the two full bars, there’s also a food menu with items like a half-pound cheeseburgers, nachos, hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches going for $2.50 to $7.50.
Entertainment: You’ll find a DJ downstairs six days a week and Black Mist, who have performed at the Old Shillelagh for the last 14 years, every Friday and Saturday.