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March 17, 2010

Oldest Irish pub in America becomes newest

Patrick'sAnd now for a little St. Patrick's Day quiz: What is both the oldest and newest Irish Pub in America?

Patrick's of Pratt Street

The West Side pub, established in 1847, has long claimed the oldest title. But in a sense, the joint is brand new; it re-opened just last weekend after a year-long hiatus.

The Rowley family cut back the pub's hours to once a week in November 2008, then closed it completely a couple months later, so they could focus on opening Patrick's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Frederick. 

"We were at Pratt Street for 163 years,"  said Pat Rowley, whose wife, Anne, is owner. "We had a business plan that said, 'Every 163 years, open a new location.' We're not moving real fast, you know."

The West Side decor is the same, but Rowley said the menu has changed from formal sit-down dining to less expensive "pub grub."

"Good hearty foods that won't break the bank is what we're going for," said chef Zu Pinsker, who had been sous chef at the restaurant for four years.

Patrick's also will aim to offer local, seasonal foods, though Zeke's Coffee is about it for now.

"This is a bad time of year for that," she said.  "As soon as the farmers' market kicks up, we're going."


Patrick and Anne Rowley at Patrick's. Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor 

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:32 AM | | Comments (3)


Thanks for the tip. I stopped in yesterday for a great bowl of stew and a Guinness in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

I hate to burst your bubble, but their claim is the "oldest Irish pub under ownership by the same family". And even THAT is suspect, as should be any such claims about bar ownership/operation that go back beyond the end of Prohibition. There are several other claimants for similar "Oldest Irish bar" titles, and almost all of them are suspect. The fact that Patrick's was functionally closed for several months/a year really sabotages their "oldest" claim, if you ask me.

We also have a bunch of Irish pubs in our area. A really cool new one opened recently in a nearby village and they have British food which is great for an expat like me.
Although none of them have the history of your pub. Looks lovely!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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