Coming from Boston, I’ve done my share of Irish bars over the years. What to expect? Dark polished woods, emerald decor and of course, a nice pint of Guinness (and if they’re really good, they’ll put a clover on top)! In Raleigh most people end up at the Hibernian or Tir Na Nog for their Irish pub needs but let me toss out one other option for your St. Patrick’s day beer: Napper Tandy’s on West Street. Located in S. Glenwood but a bit off the beaten path, Napper Tandy’s does a great job dishing out solid pub fare, good beer and all at a really reasonable price. And with their large space and entertainment schedule, you can come here any night of the week and have a good time.
Out front Napper Tandy’s doesn’t look like much, you’ll typically find a hostess right in the doorway. Old-school bar front and center, small stage to your right and low-slung booths to the left. Work your way to the back and you’ll find a couple of smaller dining areas including one decorated like a study, complete with gilded, hard-covers. On one side, Napper Tandy’s even has a nice covered patio for fresh-air dining. Irish knick-knacks and paraphernalia abound at Napper Tandy’s, we once did a scavenger hunt here which was a challenge. And in back, another full bar with some quiet space. But of course if you want to be where the action is, grab a seat at the bar or one of the booths in the front room.
The menu here is pretty simple, full of pub favorites like Sheperd’s pie, fish and chips, frickles (fried pickles) and more. Usually they’ve got a food special for the day including deals like the $5 burger and fries on Mondays and the all-you-can-eat chicken wings on Wednesdays ($8). One of my favorites are the bangers and mash: grilled sausages served with creamy mash potatoes, tangy beans and a small slice of bread with whipped butter. Really satisfying stuff. And the wings here are really decent, ranging from the standard buffalo to spicy teriyaki to the Guinness barbeque sauce. Pretty much everything I’ve eaten at Napper Tandy’s has been decent if not that exciting but the recent addition of a new chef has got me excited! And drink specials throughout the week ensures that you’ll have something to wash all this food down with, at bargain prices.
But probably the most impressive part of Napper Tandy’s I’ve experienced is the service. Whether I’ve sat at the bar, sat at a booth or been here for events, the staff here is VERY well-trained. Efficient, professional AND personable is unusual but that’s the case here. Everyone I’ve run into has been super-polite and customer-service oriented. And along with the karaoke Wednesdays, trivia on Tuesday and Thursdays, along with cover and Irish bands at night, there’s always something going on at Napper Tandy’s for entertainment.
So yes, you could say I like this place a little bit. While Tir Na Nog feels a bit too modern and open for me, the Hibernian a bit too pricey and preppy, Napper Tandy’s is the type of place where you feel welcome whether you’re 25 or 50. Which is really the hallmark of a good Irish pub. And yeah, the food ain’t bad either! With St. Patrick’s day right around the corner, everyone’s going to be a bit Irish this weekend. Just don’t forget Napper Tandy’s because after you’ve put away a plate of their bangers and mash, tipped back a beer and relaxed, you’ll be thinking sláinte and bon appetit!
Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub
126 N. West Street