For my 21st birthday I had the choice of either doing the downtown bar and club scene or picking the more relaxed California Ave. scene. Obviously, I chose the latter. We started out the night at another bar, but ended it at Ceol’s Irish Pub. Since my first time there I’ve been back twice, and it’s become a staple of The Captain and my nights out on the town.
What makes Ceol so great? It’s mostly the atmosphere. The location works well for the pub since it’s in between the trendy, hipster midtown region and the tourist-orientated downtown area. It’s a mix of both, a casual place to drink and hang, and somewhere to celebrate as well. The décor is your traditional Irish fare, a lot of flags, sigils, signs, and beautiful Celtic art. There are seats at the bar, by the darts area, a large couch by the street entrance, some group tables by the ‘stage’ and bathrooms, and plenty of seating for everyone. The layout works so that while it may be busy it never feels claustrophobic.
On most nights they’ll have musicians up on the stage performing. They have a night for traditional Irish music but then it could be anything on those other nights. Usually the performers are pretty good and add to that great atmosphere instead of taking away as in some places. If you play your cards right you can request songs or get a dedication. On my birthday, the musician dedicated “Faith” by George Michaels to me and it was amazing.
Besides the music, they also host a trivia night (which I haven’t been to but have heard is great) and have darts. You can tell how well loved that dart board is because there are marks of missed shots all around it and on the floor. It’s a little dangerous for people coming in from the street, but it’s easy to play without getting in other people’s ways.
Depending on where you’re at in the pub it can be a little difficult to talk. If you’re in a big group by the stage you kind of have to yell at the person next to you, but what do you expect? However, you can hear the performers or the music from anywhere, and it’s easier to talk over by the dart board.
But what do we really go to a pub for? THE DRINKS! Obviously, on my twenty-first I drank quite a bit and I can say that I remember most them. As an almost-complete alcohol novice I asked for my friends to order me drinks that they liked so I could try them. Yes, this ended up with me mixing a lot of drinks, but we’ll get to that later. I can safely say that all of their mixed drinks/shots were delicious and went down real smooth. The prices are also pretty reasonable.
I tried a: Red Headed Slut, Kamikaze, Lemon Drop, Copper Camel, Buttery Nipple, Irish Coffee, Irish Car Bomb (which I drank incorrectly, but again I was a novice), a drink I can’t remember the name of but remember drunkenly saying it ‘tasted like Christmas’, and my most recent drink there was a Magner’s Irish Cider.
The cider came at the recommendation of our waitress, who I asked for a drink that ‘wasn’t hot and wasn’t beer.’ It was definitely light and easy to drink, a very pretty color, and not as heavy as Isaac’s Cider (which I drink when I’m in New Zealand).
The service is always excellent. You’re pretty much asked what you’d like when you walk in the door, and the staff is all very nice (even when people are drunken slobs). They are especially great when you puke all over their bathroom and are a mess. I will say that sometimes mistakes are made with the tab, but, for the most part, everything’s good.
Ceol’s Irish Pub is a birthday tradition for my household, namely because of a great offer they have. If you make a reservation and have five or more people in your party then the birthday person drinks for free! So if you’re turning twenty-one in Reno this is a definite benefit. It’s a lot of fun to celebrate and not have to worry about paying for your drinks or anything.
If you’re coming to Reno or have never been to Ceol’s then you should go. It’s got a great atmosphere and serves amazing drinks. It’s a good place to celebrate or just as a place to go out. Basically if you’re looking for a little piece of Ireland within Reno, go here.
There are other pubs, but this one’s the best.