The parades are over. Green accentuates are back in the drawer; the hunger for corned beef and The Clancy Brothers has dissipated; and the seemingly omnipresent celebration of Irish heritage has receded for another year.
This is the way the St. Patrick's Day season peaks and perishes for some. But for others, being surrounded by Celtic imagery—whether genuine or manufactured—is a year-round endeavor. There’s an eternal consolation to be found in the blessings and knotting and names of Irish poets like Behan, Shaw and Swift posted on the wall.
Those in search of these items will find safe haven in Sean Patrick’s Emerald Isle, the bar and banquet center stashed off Millersport Highway on a drive-through stretch of Getzville.
Established by the late Richard Lillis, and now owned by his son—and the bar’s namesake—Sean and his wife, Kim, the expansive locale seemingly spares no expense in creating an environment of Irish-flavored class and comfort.
The large center bar features intricate design amid its hanging glassware and green-lit liquor shelves, and offers plenty of room for those settled in stools, perched at high-top tables, or intermingling from spot to spot with an imperial pint of Guinness ($6.75) or three.
Surrounding the squared expanse is a wrought iron-bordered landing cornered with opulent lampposts, lined with accommodating booths and accented with everything from antique lighting to period photos to a large overhead mural featuring such Irish giants as Michael Collins, Eamon DeValera and Oscar Wilde.
Team the setting with a bowl of Sean Patrick’s signature potato soup ($5.25) and an afternoon of golf on one of its trio of large televisions, and the experience may be just enough to scratch a faint Irish itch for an afternoon.
But for native Irish, Irish Americans or associated loyalists, is Sean Patrick’s a place for something approaching authentic cultural immersion outside of the St. Patrick’s Day season? No. Despite its interior decoration, shamrock-embossed signage or posted proclamation of independence by the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, the locale may disappoint those ailing for the embrace of a Galway pub experience.
Instead of a relaxing tumbler of Powers under traditional instrumentals, patrons are more likely to hoist $3.25 Happy Hour pints of Labatt Blue between echoing hits by Peter Frampton.
Aside from its Guinness and Smithwick’s on draft and single bottles of Jameson and Tullamore Dew ($6.75 for neat pours of each), the locale lacks the typically expansive selection of native fare found in similarly themed locales. And as cultivated and impressive as its layout is, some may long for the huddled, wood-hewn warmth found inside the most intimate Irish (or Irish-leaning) enclaves.
However, not everyone is looking for authenticity or strict adherence to essential cultural elements in their year-round Irish fare. For some, seeing the colors and Celtic designs and images of historical figures amid their sips of Canadian lager or Crown Royal is enough. There’s a simple comfort in that, and providing such connective surroundings is one of the main functions of any bar.
And in a place as decoratively ambitious as Sean Patrick’s Emerald Isle, such surroundings can be pleasing to those who need a taste of constructed Irish ambiance for more than one month a year.
Address: 3480 Millersport Highway, Getzville (636-1709)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday
Scene: Intricately detailed Irish-themed bar on the drive-by outskirts of Buffalo’s northern suburbs.
Images of Michael Collins: 2
Happy Hour: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with $3.25 drafts of Labatt Blue, Blue Light and Yuengling, $4 domestic bottles, and $5 well drinks and house wines.
Parking: Spacious front and side lot.
Don’t forget to: Try to name all the historical figures featured on Sean Patrick’s large barroom mural.