There really is no way to describe Shamrock’s without calling it what it is: a local bar that’s popular with the natives. However, as a favorite among Chicago Bears and especially Pittsburgh Steelers fans, Shamrock’s isn’t just for Lexingtonians.
The first location on Patchen Drive is more of a bar than a restaurant. Dim lighting, loud music and lots of bar space helps set the tone for the night. However everyone knows what is the most important part about grading any bar (besides the women): Their drink selection and how they mix cocktails. The drinks are usually on the strong side, although there have been some times where I’ve ordered Jack & Cokes or whiskey sours to find that it’s about 3/4ths or 5/6ths mixer. While the drinks are inexpensive, I do actually like alcohol in my alcoholic beverage. It varies with who’s behind the bar. If you see a bald guy or a tall blond woman, you’re good. Anyone else and you’re on your own.
The second location in the Harland shopping center next to Kroger is more restaurant than bar. More big screens for games, better lighting, and it has a more family-friendly atmosphere. The drinks…well…get doubles if you want a buzz. I’ve been to this location numerous times (granted not as much as Patchen) but I’ve only gotten drunk once. It’s either get doubles or order straight up, so you can see exactly how much you’re getting. Both locations have a limited selection of bourbons and whiskeys, but they do carry the classics (Woodford, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, etc) and the shots are cheap.
The food selection is your standard bar fare: Chicken fingers (called chicken thingies), hot wings, burgers, nachos, salads and sandwiches. On our visit, Kat and I ate pollo queso, aka chicken and cheese dip. The chips were stale, but that’s sort of to be expected. Having worked in the restaurant business before, I can say that this happens pretty much everywhere with chips and dip. Sadly the dip was kind of bland. The chicken didn’t add any flavor, as it wouldn’t, yet neither did the jalapenos or sour cream that are placed on top. The beef queso actually tastes a lot better.
Now to the burgers. Shamrock’s and Lynaugh’s Pub both offer burger’s called “The O’Round”, each claiming to be the original and best in Lexington. There about ten to chose from, including the Taco’Round (Mexi-seasoned burger with cheddar, sour cream lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno and salsa), Huevo’Round (burger topped with American cheese, bacon, and a fried egg with “secret sauce”) and the Guido’Round (10 oz. Burger Grande, with double provolone, bacon, mushrooms, sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato and mayo). Arguably the best burger though, is the Roethlisberger.
An homage to the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl winning quarterback, this thing is 10 oz. of pure, heart-stopping deliciousness. It’s a blackened burger that’s topped with beer cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato, and it’s nearly impossible to put down. Another reason it’s impossible to put down is that the beer cheese melts everywhere, so if you actually are able to place your burger on your plate be prepared for it to be a soggy mess. The best part about this whole is experience is that while the real Roethlisberger could (allegedly!) leave you crying in a bathroom, there’s no threat of that happening here. I’ve never had this burger and afterwards say “Man, I shouldn’t have eaten that”.
As for the service, both locations have their highs and lows. The main complaint with the Patchen restaurant is the drink strength, plus getting your check may take a while. They promote more of a laid-back bar atmosphere, but when you’re done and ready to get out it can get a bit aggravating. I’ve only had one bad server at Patchen, but that person hasn’t worked there in nearly a year. Hartland’s issues basically come down to one guy. If you get a skinny guy with glasses, don’t order anything extra. I can guarantee right now you are not getting it. He’ll bring you (or rather someone will see that the food is in the back and bring it out for him) your normal order, but everything else is iffy. Twice we’ve gotten this guy, and twice we either didn’t get our drinks or we didn’t get our food the way we asked. I would sympathize with him if they were busy, but we were either his only table or his second table. I mean, how hard is “no tomato”?
If you’re looking for a good meal and a good place to watch a game, go to Shamrock’s. Inexpensive, friendly service (god willing) and the patio at Patchen is one of the best places in town to just chill out during the summer and spring.
With Skinny Guy Waiter: D