Can it be that The Irish Rover really turns 20 in November?
Think of what the Louisville restaurant landscape looked like in 1993 to give you some perspective: Bardstown Road was already strong, but beyond that, not a lot else. We had one lone brewpub in Silo, no NuLu, next to nothing on Main Street, Equus was an isle of savory sanctuary in St. Matthews, and except for Ferd Grisanti’s, was there anything really good—by today’s standards—beyond the Watterson?
So the launch of The Irish Rover truly was something special, a time when few recognized its real location in Clifton; it was all Crescent Hill until a ton of other great restaurants located nearby. It was Louisville’s first authentic Irish pub, not just an Irish spot in name only.
In November, owners Michael and Siobhan Reidy will celebrate their twentieth year in operation with a week of special events.
Kicking things off on Sunday, Nov. 3 is the Rover’s third-annual Stoutfest, one of only a handful of stout festivals in the world. From 2-9 p.m., all 12 of its draft taps will be given over to stouts, including a brew being specially created for the Rover by New Albanian Brewing Company. Of course, Guinness will also be represented, but the remainder of the line-up will feature craft beers from the U.S., Ireland and the U.K.
Other overseas entrants include Carlow Brewing (O’Hara’s Stout), Porterhouse (Wrasslers XXX), Belhaven (Belhaven Black), Meantime (Cranberry Stout) and Green Jack (Lurcher Stout). US brewers and brews, besides NABC, will be Highland Brewing (Mocha Stout), Oskar Blues (Ten Fiddy Stout), North Coast (Old Rasputin), Breckenridge (Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout), and Beer Engine (His Dark Materials Extra Stout).
A special limited menu consisting of Rover favorites made with stout will be available during the Stoutfest, (vegetarian and vegan options will be offered, as well), and the dessert options will include a selection of stout and Irish whiskey chocolates created for the Rover by Cellar Door Chocolates. There will also be live Irish traditional music during the fest.
In addition to the chocolates, the Rover will also feature a list of throwback menu items throughout the entire anniversary week, including the single most requested item no longer on the menu, Dublin Coddle, a traditional stew of Irish bacon and sausage, apples, onions and potatoes.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, starting at 6 p.m., the Rover will feature roll-back pricing on the Irish Holy Trinity of Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s, with 20 oz. imperial pints of these beers selling for the 1993 price of $3.50! Guinness reps will be on hand with swag, and there will be live Irish traditional music in the bar.
Beginning at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7, it’s time to talk Irish whiskey, with roll-back pricing on Jameson’s, live Irish music and more giveaways. The Rover will also feature special pricing on Paddy’s whiskey which is fairly new to the Louisville market but is the drink of choice in Ireland.
“It’s hard to believe there was a time in Louisville when Guinness was considered exotic, and few people had even heard of Midleton Whiskey or Scotch Eggs,” says Rover owner and County Clare native Michael Reidy. “Today we have 19 quality Irish whiskeys on our bar, we’re getting craft brews from Ireland that rival Guinness, and Scotch Eggs are a Louisville staple.”