Thursday, April 22, 2010

Find your Irish side at PJ O’Reilly’s

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 11:33 AM

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m originally from England. So whenever I find a pub that caters to my European tastes, whether it be Ireland, Scotland or England, I drive over so quickly I almost forget which side of the road I should be on — don’t worry, I know it’s the right side ... right? Just joking. But it was my cravings for home that lead me to PJ O Reilly’s, located at the corner of Highway 521 and Ardrey Kell Road.

PJ O Reilly's is an Irish pub, and while I’m not from Ireland, I lived close enough to tell you the inside décor does a great job of recreating the feel of an Irish village. The orange-painted walls and the random brick-painted designs look similar to a village home. There was even the popular red phone booth on the wall where you would typically find a payphone.


The dining room was split into sections: a bottom floor and a few upper level areas that were more cozy and intimate. In one of the upper levels, where I sat, there was a mural of an Irish sea town that was so detailed and accurate, it was like looking through a window.


And looking at that Irish scenery inspires a taste for one of the menu items — Finnegan's Fish and Chips. But if you're not into seafood, there's also PJ's Pie (Shepherd's pie), Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Nachos, Bangers and Mashed, and plenty of other Irish favorites, too. "We'll try anything once," says owner Hamilton Stolpen. "If a guest suggests something, we’ll try it. We make changes to our menu every month.”

Alongside the traditional cuisine, the drink specials are good enough to inspire an Irish jig: Bud Lights and Michelob Ultras for $2, Killians Irish Red pints for $2.50, well drinks for $4, Jagermeisters for $5 and Margaritas for $4. Speaking of margaritas, Stolpen says they’ll be throwing a Cinco de Mayo party with the Mexican eatery next door. There is a great patio outside to enjoy a good margarita and the warm weather, and who says you can’t mix the best of both worlds?

After sitting in PJ O’Reilly’s, and talking to Hamilton, I realized how much of a neighborhood feel the pub has. This isn’t the type of pub where you’d go to find your next one-night stand, but a place you’d go to relax and catch up with family or friends. “We’re family-oriented,” Stolpen says. “Families are in here all day, usually till 8-8:30 p.m. At 9 p.m. you have the mature drinking crowd. I wanted a pub that created a community type feel.” And it seems the owner was successful in his mission.

As I left PJ O’Reilly’s, I felt as though I should be jet-lagged. The server, Rob, and Stolpen acted like your village mates, and the food and décor were so authentic, I felt like I’d really skipped the pond and gone close to home. But as I pulled myself out of my Irish haze, I realized that I’d found a little piece of home in America. And whether you’re from Ireland (or England) or not, you’ll definitely find your Irish side at O’Reilly’s, even if it’s only the drinking side.

(photos courtesy of PJ O'Reilly's)


Pin It
Submit to Reddit

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool
  • About

  • Tonight's Top 5, 11/11/09

    Here’s a list of tonight’s top five nightlife-related events happening in the Q.C.
  • Tonight's Top 5, 11/23/09

    Bored tonight? Head out to one of these events, as recommended by the folks at Creative Loafing.

© 2018 Womack Digital, LLC
Powered by Foundation