The pub poobahs have spoken, and just in time for St. Patrick's Day. The Olde Blind Dog, with two Atlanta-area locations, recently won the Irish Pub of the Year award for being "the best in its class, from design to customer service."
An Irish pub worth its Guinness on this side of the pond? Apparently so. The award was bestowed Feb. 27 by the Irish Pubs Global Federation, an association of about 6,500 pub owners and managers based in Dublin, Ireland.
The Olde Blind Dog describes its pubs as having old-world charm where authenticity rules with "an entrepreneurial spirit that keeps it cutting edge," according to a statement about the award.
The first Olde Blind Dog pub opened in 2009 at 12650 Crabapple Road in Milton, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta. It was followed by a second one at 705 Town Blvd. in the state capital. Almost all the decor is imported from Europe, and menu items such as shepherd's pie and Irish stew are homemade.
As a nod to modern ways, Olde Blind Dog relies on social media to pack its monthly "St. Practice Day" celebrations. Imperial pints of Irish beer cost $4 on the 17th of every month.
As for the pub's name, owner Ron Wallace, a retired UPS senior executive, had an American bulldog named Peaches that was blind in one eye.
The pubs in Georgia weren't the only non-Irish award recipients. The association's International Irish Pub Food Award went to Kennedy's Bar & Restaurant in Munich, Germany, and the Authenticity Award went to Temple Bar Bolzano in Bolzano, Italy.
The Best Native Irish Pub Award was given to Hargadons Sligo in Dublin.