The Old Shillelagh
I’m lucky. I married a woman that likes baseball. Actually, I not only married a woman that likes baseball, but she really likes going to games.
In Kalamazoo, we’re pretty much equal distance from Chicago and Detroit, so we could go either way to see a game. We’re both White Sox fans so you’d think we’d just load up and go to Chicago one weekend to see a game at The Cell. I mean, we have family there, so we could do that too….but we like going to Detroit too, so when the Sox play the Tigers, we’d rather head east for a game….oh yeah, and it’s sooooooo much cheaper to go a game in Detroit.
The great thing about baseball in Detroit is that you don’t have to pay a ridiculous parking rate. In Chicago, the ballpark is in a not so great neighborhood and the only place to park is in lots owned by the club. They charge a ridiculous price then they have to add on city and county taxes, so it costs over $20 just to park. Near Comerica Park, there are several surface lots within walking distance vying for your business. We paid just $7 to park in Greektown and walked to the stadium from there.
As with any trip, we build in time for lunch. The hope was to park in Greektown then go to lunch at Pizza Papalis. We couldn’t find hours on the website, so J tried calling at 9:30 before we left. No answer. Oh well. We’ll give it a shot and find something else if that doesn’t work.
Well, it didn’t work. We got there and noticed the chairs up on the tables. They were closed. So we went looking for something else. There’s a Five Guys Burgers & Fries right down the road on Monroe, but I knew J wouldn’t be interested, so we went back to a pub near where we parked.
The Old Shillelagh is on the corner of Monroe and Brush in Detroit’s Greektown area. It’s a pretty standard Irish pub inside, but they also have rooftop seating up a narrow flight of stairs. The thing I liked is that they don’t even mess with barstools. You just stand at the bar. If it’s drinkin’ time, I’m pretty sure this is the place to be. It just has the right vibe for a good night out throwin back a few beers…which they had plenty of on tap.
As we were walking down Monroe, I quickly glanced at reviews to see what we were heading to. Everything sounded good, so I wasn’t too worried. I guess I should have been.
The pub was pretty empty because it wasn’t quite noon yet, but it did fill up as we got closer to game time. J and I walked through the bar area to a dining room near the back. A waitress followed us over and asked what we wanted. J asked if they were serving food and the waitress pointed to a menu on the wall. This is not quite what J was hoping for. Irish pubs are usually hit or miss. We were hoping for one of those Irish joints that have a fantastic menu as well as a fantastic beer selection. The confusing thing to me is that there’s another menu on their website that looks like they do have some pretty good food. The “pre-game menu” is pretty small and doesn’t offer a lot if you’re not in the mood for greasy bar food and since that’s what we had the night before, J wasn’t really digging it.
We both ordered Coke’s to start while we squinted to read the closest menu which was hard because there was a glare from the light. It wasn’t hard for me because I love good greasy bar food. I stuck with what I know best and got the 1/2 lb. Cheeseburger and added an order of fries. The burger was hand formed and cooked on a well seasoned, greasy cook top. The sandwich had a fantastic flavor and they used a good, solid sesame seed bun. There were very few frills. Just some tomato, pickles, onions, and lettuce on the side. I was really happy with my sandwich. The fries were skin on with a crispy outside, but a softer inside. They were fine, but J thought they could have used a second fry just to crispy them all the way through.
J’s choice was the Grilled Cheese. The only comment she made about the sandwich was that she liked the bread they used. It was a thicker bread that wasn’t quite Texas Toast. She got fries with her sandwich too and just said they could have been cooked a bit longer.
So, I didn’t hit a home run with this one. Our bill was just over $18 which was much cheaper than I thought we could away with for lunch in The D. My burger was pretty good, but J just wasn’t in the mood for bar food. I don’t know what the other menu on their website is for, but I really wish we would have been able to get that one because I think she would have been much happier than having to settle for a grilled cheese. I think Old Shillelagh is probably a great drinking bar and it’s a great bar if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat before a game, but it’s more of a dive bar than we were hoping for and the pre-game menu wasn’t quite what we were looking for.