Dallas may not comprise miles of Irish or English-styled pubs like Boston or Chicago, but we do have a pleasant handful where we can sit back and chug a pint while chewing fish and chips. Among the handful are three very successful pubs: The Old Monk, Idle Rich and Blackfriar, all owned by Feargal McKinney. They're all similar enough to make a loyal barfly feel comfortable at any of them and have just enough nuances to maintain their separate identities.
When Austin's extremely pretentious J. Black’s Feel Good Lounge closed on Henderson Avenue, McKinney snagged the location to open another concept down the block from The Old Monk. Named after islands in Ireland, The Skellig was born.
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With much more space and lighting, The Skellig’s design is a breath of fresh air compared with the darker and close-knit feel of his other pubs. The antique Brunswick bar had been in storage just waiting for its coming out party. A biergarten is coming to the patio soon, and an inside section with picnic tables offers a similar vibe now. While not overly saturated with faux-European decor, The Skellig has the same cozy pub vibe, while also hinting at possibilities that it may be the next major watering hole on Henderson.
Operations manager Charles Reis says McKinney wanted the menu at The Skellig to be something different from the other locations. With help from consulting English chef Nick Barclay, they designed a menu with more traditional pub fare. With selections that include a crispy duck leg and colcannon, corned beef hash and hearty meat and cheese boards, they seem to have nailed it. Even the appetizers are a bit different, with buns filled with mini-brats (supplied by local favorite Kuby’s) and fried chicken and biscuit sliders replacing the standard mini-burgers.
With 20 draft beers ready to be poured, including special cask brews, there will be no shortage of alcoholic liquid to help you muster the courage to challenge anyone in the bar to a game of darts or shuffleboard. Let’s just try not to get too pissy and sling a dart at the beautiful sea-themed painting on the back wall, which so happens to depict the rescue of old monks from the waters. The pub game is as strong as ever for McKinney’s group. Think of it as just one more glorious, European-styled concept where you can cheer on your favorite football team — whatever sport you mean by "football" — and a happening place to shoot Jameson on St. Patty’s Day. Cheers.