Rollicking Good Times: That's Just Malarky's

There's no mistaking Malarky's Irish Pub. The large white building with a Celtic green banner decorating the awning out front really looks the part--even now that another St. Patrick's Day has passed.

And it's the same inside Malarky's, which has been serving patrons in Newport Beach for 14 years.

A large, square full-service bar dominates the room. The bar top is made of rough-hammered copper and a brass rail is at foot level to help keep visitors solidly on their stools.

Much of the interior is done in a rich, dark-colored wood that gives the pub an old-style European feel. Wall space not done in wood is covered with historical photos, a map of Ireland, and bits of Irish philosophy ("An Irishman is not drunk so long as he can hold on to the last blade of grass on earth without falling off").

Two antique-style cash registers sandwich a serious looking ceramic King Kong bust. What's a gorilla doing in an Irish pub, you may ask? As manager Kirk (Buzz) Busbey tells it, some locals who used to frequent Malarky's used King Kong as a subtle signal to friends. Whenever they had a party planned, they would put the gorilla outside their place so their pals would know where the action was. Jobs and time broke up the local group, so they donated the party gorilla to their favorite pub.

To the left of the front door is the dart area with two Raven dart boards. On the right are tables and booths that give a wide view of the big screen TV.

Busbey will tell you that the crowd here is best after 9 p.m., and he's right. On a recent night, music played while the basketball game was in full swing, creating a rollicking atmosphere.

In the true spirit of an Irish pub, about 40% of Malarky's customers are able to walk or bike there, according to Busbey. There's even a bike rack out front, just beyond the large picture windows that shine on Newport Boulevard.

A large plaque displays the names of nearly 600 Wall of Shame loyal customers. To gain such notoriety a client must attend 12 of 14 pub events throughout the year and get his or her membership card punched by a bartender. One recent event, Taco Thursday, featured three tasty beef tacos for $1.50.

On tap at Malarky's are Watney's Red Barrel, Heineken, Michelob, Bud Light, and Paul Masson Chablis. The 22-ounce Steinlager beers from New Zealand are also a favorite among customers here.

Menu items include potato skins, Irish stew, prime rib, chicken and fish entrees. Breakfast is served on Saturday and there's brunch on Sunday.

Malarky's Irish Pub, 3011 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach. Open Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. (714) 675-2340.

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