Mar 012006
Authors: JP Eichmiller, Scott Bondy

Located in the heart of Old Town, Conor O'Neills offers the most authentic "Irish" fare in Fort Collins.

Between the food, drinks and atmosphere, this pub goes beyond the standard bar offerings.

We decided to give it a try as our first stop on our pub-crawl of local taverns. Frankly, they set the bar pretty high.

When we walked in, the place was clean and upscale, yet not fancy. It attempts to give off the true Irish pub feel with wall decorations and plenty of Guinness signs. The environment is welcoming, and patrons are free to seat themselves. You couldn't go wrong by taking a date to this pub, or just having a night out with your rowdy friends.

Monday through Saturday they offer live music.

We hit the appetizer menu pretty hard, ordering Salmon and Shrimp Cakes as well as Irish Nachos. But due to a mix-up we got Spinach Artichoke Dip instead of the nachos. Minus one for the service.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed everything. The dip was topped with a breadcrumb crust and offered a slightly spicy aftertaste. It also came with herbed pita bread and celery and carrots. The Salmon and Shrimp Cakes came pan-seared with a side of pineapple relish and chili aioli. Certainly not the typical bar food.

And if you're on a budget, not to worry, Conor O'Neils offers a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. during the week. This includes six appetizers, each costing $3.

Next came the entrees…

We figured to try a variety of dishes for carnivores with diverse tastes, so we ordered the Steak Boxty and the Pork Sandwich.

The Steak Boxty offered a traditional Irish dish. It is comprised of a potato/egg pancake wrapped around steak and veggies. The Boxty came with two servings of mashed potatoes as well as a salad. This portion was huge and should not be attempted by anyone with a small appetite. If you do, you can make two meals of it. The price is fair at $10.95.

The Pork Sandwich was a pleasant surprise being that Colorado is woefully lacking in quality barbeque. It came with a side of potato wedges. Another filling portion, although definitely not to the level of the Boxty. For $8.95, it is worth trying.

What's an Irish Pub without the beer? Conor O'Neils currently brews four of its own beers. We sampled them and unanimously decided they were not the pubs strong point. The signature beer, Craic, was somewhat bitter but light. But you can drink it for cheap on Wednesday nights for $1 per pint after 9 p.m. The Porter was dark and smooth but again nothing outstanding-probably not something you'll remember once you walk out the door. The Hound IPA is probably best left to the individual because we could not reach a consensus. The Kerry Red follows in the traditional roll of Irish Reds, such as Killians. We concluded that all of the beers had somewhat of a flat taste.

While the food was impressive, the service left something to be desired. Our waitress was friendly but overworked-she was practically attending to the whole pub.

If you've been looking for an Irish pub with authentic roots and a traditional menu, Conor O'Neils is worth trying.

Food: A-

Drinks: C

Service: C

Atmosphere: B

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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