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Bites Nearby: The Claddagh Irish Pub

Livonia's Irish pub offers traditional fare with a zesty flare.

Irish food is comfort food. It’s heavy and starchy, and nothing if not simple. It’s based on modest recipes made from humble ingredients. And while The Claddagh Irish Pub in Livonia has embraced this authenticity, it has done so with a definite flare.

A few things stand out as a break from the traditional at the Claddagh, however. For example, It’s a bar that lays out like a restaurant. It’s quite roomy (compared with typical Irish pubs, which tend toward tight spaces), with a sprawling bar area and numerous cove-like rooms.

It’s also rather glitzy. From the abundant high-tech flat-screen televisions, to the high-end Scotches (Johnnie Walker green and blue, which each retail for hundreds of dollars per bottle), it’s certainly designed to draw some affluence.

That’s not to say that it’s over-priced (with the exception of the drinks) or pretentious; It’s actually quite affordable – and a truly good time. The food is moderately priced and the service is usually very warm and accommodating. But watch out: The Claddagh can get busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, which can put stress on even the most seasoned hospitality staffs.

Atmosphere: Traditional Irish pub, corporate style. The Claddagh is designed to draw both the suit-and-tie set and the sports-bar crowd. In between, it’s also quite family friendly, with quiet, out-of-the-way private rooms for those who have larger gatherings, or just want to be alone.

Food: If you’re in the mood for corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, or shepherd’s pie, you’re in luck. The Claddagh has most of the traditional bases covered – and then some. They also have great entrée salads, steaks and seafood. The lunch menu is just as diverse, with numerous sandwiches, salads and flat breads.

Bar: The Claddagh gives the term “full bar” new meaning. It has just about every known liquor, cordial and import beer one could ask for. They also offer a wealth of wines, specialty drinks, draft beers (more than 20), and even several whiskey flights (tastes of numerous brands). But drink prices can be rough on the wallet. Their wines, drinks and beers all hover between $7-$8, north of that for premium versions.

Prices: Starters range from $7-$10. Highlights on the dinner menu include the chicken Kildare, $14.99 (garlic-crusted chicken stuffed with Irish rasher bacon, mushrooms and spinach); corned beef and cabbage, $13.99 (with potatoes, smothered in a mustard cream sauce); and the Irish beef stew, $13.99. On the lunch menu, the fish and chips, $6.99 (tender cod in a Bass Ale batter) and the Irish breakfast roll (rasher bacon or bangers – sausages – with a fried egg and cheddar cheese on a toasted roll) stand out.

Hours: Sunday, Monday, 11 a.m. – midnight; Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. (kitchen closes at midnight)

Address: 17800 Haggerty Rd., Livonia MI 48152

Phone/ Web: (734) 542-8141/ www.claddaghirishpubs.com

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