Or would it be Seamful McCaffrey’s? Or maybe Shame On McCaffrey’s (by which, of course, I mean Seam On McCaffrey’s). Anyway, that’s a place here in the PHX. The T and I went there last weekend for a little post-old-people-movie luncheon (we saw Iron Man 2 which, was, of course, effing awesome). Now, there are several Irish-type joints down here in our town. We have been to one that was awesome. We have also been to Seamful McCaffrey’s. So as we wandered around after the movie, trying to decide where to go. We wanted two things:
We wanted them both to be delicious. So we thought maybe we’d go the Irish route because, in case you don’t know, Guinness is a fantastic breakfast/brunch/daytime beer. Haters think it’s too thick or too dark and use silly adjectives like “chewy”, but that’s just stupid. Guinness is delicious and refreshing and besides, Guinness is good for you, as the fella says. So we use the ol’ iphone to get the skinny on the Irish joints nearby, and came up with two. They had really similar reviews on the ol’ Urbanspoon. Both were described as being “pretty good” for the most part. We happened to have stopped to eye these reviews across the street from Seamus McCaffrey’s. What the hell? we thought. We’ll go to both of them at some point. Here we are right now. Let’s do it.
So we did. And we wished we hadn’t. Now, we walked in and the music was a little loud. Loud and, um, metally. Now, people like lots of different things. And that’s ok. But it is not ok for people to like loud, metally music at noon on Sunday when all I want is a Guinness and some Irishy food like maybe fish and chips. We should have turned around and walked out. But we didn’t. We walked along the too-small bar, under the too-short ceiling. There were a couple of open seats, but we were informed that they were occupied by smokers who were outside doin’ their thing. So we realized that the only open pair of seats was in between a BIG dude and a scrawny weirdy. We should have turned around, maybe acted like we were looking for other seats or going to a table or sitting outside (and why I couldn’t just walk right out the damn door and not feel awkward about it, I have no idea). But we didn’t. We sat down next to the big dude and the scrawny weirdy (the T did have a one-stool buffer between her and the S.W.).
So, having made the mistake to sit down, we ordered Guinnesses from the waaaaaaaaay too happy blond Midwestern bartender. She was not good at pouring Guinness. I will say two things about this:
- One fine Sunday morning in Minneapolis, the T and I went to the Local. We wanted to watch soccer and drink Guinness. Having been served a Guinness, I was startled by a suspendered, mustachioed man who said, “I’m so sorry, sir. That Guinness has way too much head on it. Let me fix that for you.” So he took it back to the bar and re-poured it. The whole thing. He started over from zero because he would not allow an imperfect pint of Guinness. I think I might love that mustachioed hero.
- On Saturday, I read a piece in Phoenix Magazine about the 50 Best Bars in the Valley. Phoenix Magazine typically does a pretty good job of picking out good places. They included Seamful McCaffrey’s on the list, and proceeded to describe a place that was not, by any stretch of the imagination, the place we had gone to the weekend before. One of the things they were sure to point out is that the owner, who is actually called Seamus McCaffrey, insists that his bartenders pour a perfect pint of Guinness. Bullshit, says i am whaleman.
This was not the place that we experienced. First of all, our Guinnesses arrived quickly. If you are a drinker of Guinness, you know that if you order a Guinness, you should be prepared to wait a few minutes longer than your companions who have ordered dreck. Quick Guinness is not proper Guinness. Guinness with an inch of head is not proper Guinness.
Continuing to ignore all the signs, we did not just chug the Guinness and run screaming into the street. We sat there and ordered some foods. Can’t screw up fish and chips too badly, right? Right–and they didn’t screw it up. It was fine, as was the corned beef. But that’s neither here nor there.
Having ordered some food, I turned my attention to my poorly poured Guinness. However, the guy next to me decided to talk to me. This was not good. This guy might have been mentally challenged. He told me all about how he had to sober up because he drank a beer but then he found out he had to go to work and so now he had to sober up and so he had to stop drinking so he could sober up and he thought two orders of hot wings might take care of it but the thing you should really do is eat a whole loaf of bread because that’s what he did one time he was serious a whole loaf of bread but that was only because he had 17 shots and then he drank a whole case of beer so he had to eat a whole loaf of bread.
There was a lull in our “conversation,” so I made a point of turning my whole body to talk to the T about whatever. At this point, the scrawny weirdy is trying to talk the bartender into turning the radio to a country station (the volume was turned down shortly after we sat down). She can’t seem to find a country station on their satellite radio and offers the Irish channel instead. This turns out to be choral music. He doesn’t like that much. She offers the Flogging Molly station. He just doesn’t give a damn anymore if she ain’t got no country.
The food comes and the Big Fella starts talking again. He wants to talk ad infinitum about the expensive liquors he has heard of and seen and he wants to know if the bar has any of them. This was after a five-minute conversation about whether or not the bar has Red Bull and how much it would cost for him to buy two cans and did they have Red Bull and maybe they had Red Bull but could he buy two cans because he wanted two cans and did they have any Red Bull? Yikes. Fortunately the hot wings showed up which helped the talking…but made the sweating so, so much worse.
Anyway, we chowed and guzzled and got the hell up outta there. The lesson here? Don’t ever go to Seamus McCaffrey’s.