Always a mecca of bustling activity, Hennessey’s Tavern, which
debuted here in 1986, is the longest-running success story on Ocean
Avenue’s Restaurant Row.
A sidewalk-facing open deck, usually crammed with a hip young
crowd, sets a happy pace for the interior bar and adjoining dining
room both equipped with ceiling-suspended TV sets. Upstairs there’s
live entertainment for dancing Wednesday through Saturday. Thus,
there’s something for everyone at the restaurant which attracts young
families whose toddlers are entertained with their own menus to color
and sports fans whose passion is easy to catch, especially when major
games are in progress.
Join the breakfast contingent starting at 7 a.m. and enjoy freshly
squeezed juices, freshly ground coffee and one of the most
imaginative menus in town featuring oatmeal, granola, pancakes and
French toast starting at $3.50, a variety of egg preparations
including Benedicts and rancheros and their famed Irish country
platters from $4.95 to $9.95.
Hennessey’s Tavern is also renowned for bountiful burgers, all of
which are two-for-one all day on Tuesdays. Except for the veggie
“earthburger” at $7.50, these are all less than $7. A hefty
dozen-plus hot and cold sandwiches tabbed from $3.95 to $9.75, range
from Italian and turkey heroes to a catch-of-the-day and the
marinated steak topped with mushrooms, jack cheese and grilled
onions, the latter two embraced in a toasted French roll. The house
salad with choice of dressing and a soup of the day are each $3.50.
More robust are Caesar, Cobb, chicken and citrus salads from $5.50 to
A quintet of dinners starts at 5 p.m.: meatloaf, salmon, pepper
chicken, baseball-cut top sirloin and pan-seared sirloin medallions
in brandy cream peppercorn sauce. At $9.95 to $16.95, these come with
garlic mashed potatoes or shamrock fries, steamed vegetables and a
garlic cheese stick. As no Irish pub is complete without corned beef
and cabbage, here it comes with boiled potatoes and carrots on a menu
offering honey pepper crusted salmon, honey glazed pork loin and a
juicy New York steak.
For happy snacking with a potable or two, there are beer-battered
onion rings, a basket of fries, crabcakes, nachos, quesadillas and
the burger sampler with toppings of cheese, mushrooms, guacamole,
barbecue sauce and bacon. Savory pork ribs were a recent $7.95
special, smoky with barbecue sauce, a side of rice pilaf and a salad
toss adding to its appeal.
Action aplenty upstairs goes beyond live bands, all commencing on
Sunday with an all-you-can-eat football breakfast buffet for $10.95,
a festive crab feast starting at 2 p.m. and two-for-one turkey
dinners from 5 p.m. Promotions on the street level are non-stop with
Monday “butchers’ choice” cuts of meat for a special price and
football T-bone steaks at $10.95. Two-for-one breakfasts are served
every Tuesday until noon. Wednesday is luck o’ the Irish Night for a
chance to win dinner with a lucky leprechaun coin toss.
On Thursday, if your birthday falls within the week, Hennessey’s
picks up your dinner tab with proof of date. Add to all this the
upstairs Reggae Night coupled with a Wing Fling from 8 to 11 p.m.
when $1 vodka/Red Bull Tooter Shooters and $2.95 baskets of spicy
wingers are up for grabs. Follow this on Friday with $3 Rockin’ Teas.
And top it all with Martini Madness every Saturday when the first of
those frosty libations is included in the price of your entree.
* GLORI FICKLING is a long-time Laguna Beach resident who has
written restaurant news and views columns since 1966. She may be reached at 494-4710 or by e-mail at email@example.com.