The recently refurbished Tipperary Inn is not a manifestation of some American’s idea of what an Irish pub might be like. It is, quite literally, an Irish pub. Tipperary, Ireland, transplant and owner Martin Lombard, through a partnership with the Irish Pub Company, ordered every bit of the pub’s furbishings – “everything between the ceiling and the floors” – from craftsmen in Ireland, working the concept with them through sketches every step along the way. The result is an authentic conduit to what the Irish have been experiencing for some time now – “craic” – which roughly means “a good time.”
“I don’t have any photographs of the old, I don’t want to remember the old, I don’t even want to think about the old,” says Lombard of the American-style Greenville Avenue bar he had been proprietor of since 1990.
“What I really wanted I have now, and I am very proud of it. It still amazes me how this place looks.”
If there was any more change that could be made, it was only one, and an important one at that: Lombard went ahead and did what in this town can only mean business by hiring former Mansion chef Ray Benning to create a new menu, albeit one that still mirrors the pub concept.
“Look good, taste good and come out in a timely manner.”
Which it does.
The Tipperary Inn is now two places in one, which is not a marketing gimmick as much as a real solution to pleasing the pubbing crowd’s moods. On the Tipperary side, deep mahogany and hardwoods, low-lights, authentic Irish on tap and “snugs” – walled off sections where groups can go for some privacy and more easily heard conversation – create the Victorian-style pub; the McCarthy side (named after his in-laws) shows off lighter wood, a less formal arrangement, and Celtic music every Wednesday night when anyone with an instrument can join in, making it a traditional “cottage” pub.
Although a noticeable split, both places are held together by the same ethos.
“A pub in Ireland is a social center; where people meet to catch up on news. It revolves around conversation, drink and food,” Lombard says, “not around TV.”