A Favorite Place

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One of my dad’s favorite restaurants is McGuire’s Irish Pub here in Florida. He’s very anti-chain restaurant, and since there’s only two of these, that makes it OK. I’ve been going there practically since I was a baby, and so it kind of became my place, too. Aside from the food—which is really good—and the bar—another highlight—it’s just a great place to be. It used to be an old firehouse. That means it’s pretty big, but it can get crowded in the summer. Despite the fact that so many people here are transitional (we are a Navy town, after all), it still feels like a community. Like home.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in (aside from the fantastic smells coming from the kitchen) is the dollars. So. Many. Dollars. They’re stapled to every wooden surface in the place: on the walls,sides of the booths, on theceiling, just about everywhere as far as you can see. Some of them are mine J There’s supposedly over a million dollars up there, and you kind of have to see it to believe it. It’s really cool to see and even more fun to add to! It makes the return trip that much more fun as you hunt to find your money (that’s probably been buried by other people by then).

Some tips for an even better experience: definitely go when there’s music. You won’t be sorry. Or try sitting in the wine cellar, because it’s the coolest room in the place. Get the seasonal beer, or the Irish Wake (TBH, I just like the cool mason jar glass they come in). Eat the bread they’ll bring you. It is amazing. Try the Senate Bean Soup. It’s $0.18. You read that right. You can’t go wrong when all you’d lose is less than a quarter. I’d get a steak, too, because that’s what I like, but you check out the menu and decide for yourself, haha. If it’s your first time, go over and kiss the moose. Be warned, if the staff knows and you don’t, they might sing until you do so consider yourself warned: there aren’t a lot of words to the song, it can be both embarrassing and funny (depending on your sense of humor and whether you’re the one being sung to).

It’s a little piece of Ireland sitting near a Florida beach. I might not feel the same way about it if not for my dad—I think when he was stationed here and missing home, this place hit the spot, which makes his obsession a little more understandable—but I’m glad that we have this place together.

It’s nice to be a part of that kind of tradition, even if it’s only marginally so. I hope that no matter how far away life takes me, I can find my way back there and there will be a moose on the wall to kiss when I come home.