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Erin's Snug Irish Pub

In a word: Its praises will rarely be snug.

The specs: #0307
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Isthmus, Madison Dining Online, WiSJ, Cap Times, Ruppert Food Blog May 20, 2008 and April 7, 2010, Madison Fish Fry, collected at del.icio.us; official web site (caution: music); Erin's Snug Irish Pub & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Erin's Snug Irish PubJM ate the 1/2 rack of ribs with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the walnut burger.
The bill was about $20, or $10/person, plus tip.
JM gave Erin's Snug Irish Pub a B+; Nichole gave Erin's Snug Irish Pub a C+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Erin's Snug news and reviews

Erin's Snug is doing a booming business out at American Center. For anyone who's lived or worked in the area, it's not hard to see why - the business park is almost as bare as the prairie around it when it comes to human-scale amenities. About this time last year, save a Happy Wok and a Milio's, there was just nothing for the thousands of office workers that drive out there every day. That's starting to change now, with a new Holiday Inn, a Beans 'n' Cream coffee shop, and, largest of all, Erin's.

An offshoot of a Reedsburg venue, this Erin's has a large footprint surrounded by narrow parking lots on three sides. Despite the outward appearance, the inside is in fact snug, due to warm, dark color choices and a floor plan that evokes a "House of 1000 Foyers" feel. It's a fine place for an office get-together (recipe: occupy one foyer) - it has the sort of character that most folks find inoffensive, and the emphasis on booze helps.  This becomes achingly clear when you first come through the front door, and the bar dwarfs everything else in the place.

Rolls and contrabandOur meal started off on completely the wrong foot, at least for Nichole. The friendly server brought us a bread basket with three rolls and a little white cruet that was stone-cold to the touch. "Great," we thought, "holes in the bread from rock-hard butter." Yet our knives cut the spread easily. Duped into a false sense of security, we tucked in. Nichole realized the moment it touched her lips that she'd been poisoned with margarine, and thankfully only had to gag down one bite. No self respecting (or law-abiding) Wisconsin restaurant should ever place that hydrogenated aberration of all that is good and wholesome in front of any customer unless the poor soul is so benighted as to request it by name. Ugh.

Walnut burgerDairy drama aside, the rest of the food was as inoffensive as the decor. In a rare vegetarian kick, Nichole opted for the walnut burger, which is about the only non-salad vegetarian option on the menu. It was a decent, commercial-grade patty that held together well. The berry wheat bread that served as a bun was toasted and buttered (with real butter, thank goodness) and the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions were all fine. Kettle chips and bland coleslaw finished out the meal.

RibsJM went for a half rack of pork ribs, which were tasty but not very tender. A whiskey-laden sauce on the side was a little strong and cloyingly sweet, maybe in an effort to balance the alcohol's bite. The fries, too, were average. The lemonade was good enough to bring his whole grade up one +/-.

We hear from knowledgeable sources in the area that getting your food quickly during the lunch rush can be a bear, and also that the desserts are very good. We know the neighborhood needs places to eat. But we're just as happy to leave Erin's for the locals.


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A few things about this place irk me, but some are good. 1 - where is their website? 2 - why do they play dance music inside and not ethnic irish music?

the good? - they have some of the best buffalo wings I have ever had. I would almost rate above Quaker Steak and B dub's. I might just go back for the wings and guiness :)

I also agree that the buffalo wings are great. The last two times we visted, traditional Irish music was playing on the speakers. I've had the corned beef & cabbage twice - the resaurant is close to ourhouse, and it's nice to have a once-a-year meal any day of the week.
However - the margarine is disgusting. I asked for butter with the bread, but the waitress brought us back another tub of margarine :-(

It has come to my attention that an Irish "snug" is a pub or part of a pub where women can go for a discreet pint or two.
What does anyone know of that?

Went there one night in October 07. The cheese curds were very good, but the drinks were a bit expensive for the location. Ten dollars for a Dirty Grey Goose martini? On the East Side? And the live music played was EXTREMELY loud. Way too loud for an indoor setup.

Actually, The snug is where the men would go for a quiet pint or two. In traditional irish pubs the women sat in the "Lounge" part of he pub.

Eric put me in a dilemna: Who to believe??? My friend Kelly with red hair or Eric whom I donot know so I went to Wikipedia,

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The history of the snug began in Ireland in the late 19th century. It was typically a small, very private room that had a frosted glass window, set above head height, accessing the bar. You paid a higher price for your beer in the Snug, but nobody could see you. It was not only the well off visitors who would use these rooms. The snug was for patrons who preferred not to be seen in the public bar. Ladies would often enjoy a private drink in the snug in a time when it was frowned upon for ladies to be in a pub. The local police officer would nip in for a quiet pint, the parish priest for his evening whiskey, and lovers would use the snug for their clandestine visits.

I've been there once and it happened to be one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had.

Maybe I didn't order the right thing or maybe there was a new cook that day or something, but the Sheppard's Pie was the worst I've ever tasted. No joke, it tasted the way canned cat food smells. It also looked like canned cat food. I just thought that since it was an Irish themed restaurant, it would have decent Sheppard's Pie.

Like I said, who knows... that could have been a totally off day, but I don't think I could ever go back.

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