Looking innocent enough, the storefront of Casey’s Irish Pub greets you with the usual green pub awning, inviting guests to the ales, ciders and shepherds pies that exist inside. The downstairs entrance takes you out of Downtown Los Angeles and into a magical world of strong Irish history.
The pub is large, with several rooms and the brick, outdoor patio. On the weekends, live bands play, furthering your immersion into Irish culture. Scents of delicious pies and pub fries invade your senses, even after the kitchen has closed.
Celbrities also frequent the establishment, and it has been featured in television shows, such as “Mad Men,” “CSI” and “X-Files,” and movies, such as “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Good Night and Good Luck” and even “Mr. Deeds.”
Upon walking in, you aren’t hit with an ‘uptown’ vibe at all. The place feels more dive bar than upscale, and on a weeknight, a relaxing place to get a drink and catch up with friends. On the weekends, the shenanigans begin with live music.
The beer selection is typical of a pub with more Irish beers on tap than Hefeweizens, so visit knowing that you won’t be drinking Blue Moon, but something a little more authentic, such as Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale, Kilkenny Cream Ale and, of course, Guinness. A dry, crisp Strongbow cider can also be found on the menu alongside many drinks featuring Jameson, an Irish whiskey.
To get the full experience, try an Irish Car Bomb or, for the daring, the Pickle Back, which is a shot of Jameson chased by pickle juice. The prices are average – $6 for most of the beers and cider, $7 for Jameson and $15 for car bombs. Yelp reviews recommend against going to the pub expecting to get drunk for cheap. Food is in the $10 to $20 range, depending on the menu item. Happy Hour is extended from 3-7 p.m., and all day and night on Sundays and Mondays.
With the price comes the ambiance, history and popularity. Patrons state that there have been lines as long as three hours on St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, once inside you can expect green beer, live music and a celebration. This year, Casey’s is taking over two blocks and expects over 20,000 patrons. On St. Patrick’s Day each year, it opens at 6 a.m. and holds a service in honor of the patron saint.
The St. Patrick’s Day lineup includes: Young Dubliners; Hollywood U2, a tribute to U2; TNT, a tribute to AC/DC; and Led Zepplica, a tribute to Led Zeppelin.
Casey’s is about 30 miles from campus, in Downtown Los Angeles, but the website’s details make the drive on St. Patrick’s Day worth it. The ambiance, food, drinks and lineup cannot be passed up to another mediocre pub that’s down the street.