Okay guys. Time to write about one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Have you ever had a restaurant that, when someone asks you if you want to go to, not only is there no hesitation in your voice, but sheer joy and excitement? That’s what McGuire’s is for me. I was lucky enough to grow up on the Emerald Coast of Florida, which is beautiful but also packed to the gills with tourists who don’t know how to drive and apparently have never seen buildings before. I digress. This place is home to not one, but two locations of this charm-filled combination brewery, pub, and restaurant.
McGuire’s first opened in Pensacola, Florida in 1977, and celebrated so much success that they opened a second location in Destin, Florida in 1996. As you might be able to guess, McGuire’s offers traditional Irish fare, such as shepherd’s pie, potato skins, and Irish boxtys, with a variety of other dishes like pastas and burgers available. Any time of day is good to visit McGuire’s, as they have a lot to offer.
I’ve only ever been to the Destin location (as far as I can remember), and it’s always a spectacular experience. When you walk in, there is plenty to keep you entertained should there be a wait for a table, not uncommon as this restaurant has a tendency to be full no matter if you go for lunch, dinner, or brunch. There’s the meat locker, where they store beef for their legendary steaks, a couple of neat little time wasters (test your strength or have your fortune told, just don’t wish you were Big), the skeleton of Bridget McGuire, who “strangled two British sailors with the straps of her bra; she was sentenced to the Belfast Gallows where she swung by the straps of her bra” (I have yet to find any Google evidence of this being real) giant mooseheads on the wall, and oh, the thousands of dollar bills hanging from just about everywhere – the ceiling, the walls, the bar. Signed, stapled, and taped, this is just a little part of what gives McGuire’s its distinct feel. Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself:
Moving on. Get to your table, still gawking at all the dollar bills, and order whatever you’d like. It’s all delicious. If you happen to go for brunch, bring only about $15 with you, because one of your options is a six egg omelette or eggs Benedict, both of which come with potatoes o’ brien, fresh fruit, beignets and an Irish coffee, hot or frozen. Both of the brunch options are $9.99. Ridiculous, considering a lone Irish coffee would run you about $6.
Let’s have a peek at the menu, should we? I already mentioned the traditional Irish fare; are you looking for something a little…different? Well, why not try the garbage burger? Self-proclaimed terrible and disgusting. Or maybe the grand burger? Slightly pricy at $100, but it’s made with filet mignon and comes with Moët Champagne. Can’t get much fancier than that. Most of the entree dinners come with a pre-service Irish honey black bread, which is a good way to whet your appetite, and the fantastic desserts are a great way to end your meal.
Are you wondering when I’m going to talk about the beer yet? This is a pub, and this is my blog. Of course I’m going to talk about the beer. McGuire’s brews their own beer – hence, the “brewery”. McGuire’s offers five different beers, plus their own root beer, all of which are fantastic. The beers available are a light ale, an Irish red ale (also available for purchase as a 6-pack in the restaurant’s gift shop), a raspberry wheat, a porter, and a stout, so no matter your preference, there is something for everyone. Beer flights are available, should you want to try a little bit of everything (and why wouldn’t you?).
While you’re there, make sure to go the bathroom. I won’t tell you why; just Google “McGuire’s bathroom” to see for yourself.
Bottom line: go. Eat. Stuff yourself on way too much drink and food, be miserable about said stuffing yourself, roll out of the restaurant, then reminisce at how good your meal was, and repeat as often as you’d like or can afford.
Visit McGuire’s website for menus, prices, hours and more.
As always, don’t forget to check them out on Urbanspoon!