The goods: Fado Irish Pub, the latest tavern to open at Mary Brickell Village, is swankier than your average Irish saloon. The bartenders at the long, gleaming wood bar are as happy to mix a martini as pull a pint, the staff is enthusiastic and the long menu lists surprisingly gourmet choices.
Ambience: On warm nights head to the patio for a polished concrete bar, large windows overlooking the courtyard and dim lighting from exposed Edison bulbs. Date nights are perfect for the cozy Victorian-style pub with plush velvet chairs and dark wood tables. The “cottage” room has a working fireplace, bookshelves and leather-studded couches.
The grub: Eclectic pub grub. There are quasi-Irish specialties like corned-beef rolls and traditional dishes like bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie, but it’s the half-dozen burgers that seem to be the draw. Prices are reasonable, with starters under $10 and salads, sandwiches and mains $9-$15.
Get to know the boxty – a traditional Irish potato pancake. It shows up all over the menu, from the crispy triangles that accompany the hummus and feta appetizer to the wrapping around a blackened chicken and shrimp entrée. Start off with the smoked salmon bites made with oak-smoked salmon on crisp boxty “blini” with capers, onions and horseradish sauce. The Smithwick’s mini-burgers pair ale-flavored beef with Guinness mayo, pickles, onions and melted cheese. There are a handful of salads and belly-filling mains like fish and chips made with tempura-battered haddock and a Trinity Steak Boxty (a steak and mushroom wrap) topped with whiskey garlic sauce.
Desserts include ice cream flecked with chewy bits of caramelized brown bread and a Black and Tan brownie topped with house-made Guinness ice cream.
Verdict: Four Irish bars under one roof give downtowners a new spot for a pint and a burger.