A Pot of Gold at the End of the Pub Rainbow

A Pot of Gold at the End of the Pub Rainbow


Okay, I’ll admit it… Sometimes I just
don’t want to leave the house, and
Netflix becomes my new best friend.
Then there are nights that I just feel
the need to just hit the road and try
somewhere new. If it’s one of those
nights for you, I highly recommend
putting a little gas in your car and
taking a drive down to Willie Mc-
Bride’s in Branchburg, NJ.
Coming from Kearny, I had to take
a nice drive on route 78 to 28 to
get to this gem of a bar, but trust
me when I say, it is definitely worth
the commute. Upon entering, I was
greeted with a smile of owner, Sean
Hession and his wonderful staff.
Now I have never been overseas in
my life, but this beautiful Irish pub
atmosphere is what I’d imagine to
see if I were to ever travel there
At first glance you will notice the lit
fireplaces, which makes even the
most aimless of travelers want to
stay for a drink or two, and plenty
of TVs (including one HUGE projection
screen), for you sports fanatics
to catch your favorite team.

There’s plenty of bar staff to take
care of you, and they are quite
attentive making sure everyone
gets what they need.
From the wood to the walls, to various
rooms like the Cottage and the
Snug, each have a little history. All
of the pieces you see were brought
from Ireland, bringing a little piece
of Hession’s home in Mayo for you
to enjoy while you dine. The Cottage
area comes with a doorway
similar to an Irish home, a shelf
area of spices, and a window
view making it perfect for a little
dinner party with friends and
family. If you are looking for a
bigger space for a gathering, look
no further than the Mayo Room
downstairs. Its perfect lighting and
ample space make it the ideal location
perfect for any occasion, and
there are many catering options to
choose from. Outdoor dining areas
are available as well, and are quite
popular during the summer for
brunches or nightlife crowds alike.
Now let’s talk about food and
drinks. Being an Irish Pub, I expected the staples: bangers and
mash, Guinness, etc. but I was
blessed in having server, Jodi
guide me in my Willie McBride’s
experience. Her first suggestion?
An Irish coffee Martini. I have to
point this out, I am not a chick
drink type. This drink; however,
had quite a kick to it to go with its
smooth taste of Baileys and caramel
sauce drizzle. It definitely was
a surprise, and a sweet way to start
the evening before the real treat
came, the food.
Hession’s chef Freddie, a four-year
veteran to the 7 year old business,
uses the perfect combination of
salt, spice, and sweet in his dishes
and believe it or not, most of
these culinary delights come from
his head! He puts a spin on typical
comfort food, adding a little Irish
history, and a splash of his own ingenuity,
to come up with culinary
masterpieces that will keep you
coming back for more.
To begin, I had the pleasure of trying
a sample platter complete with onion
soup bites with Swiss and parm,
Cajun shrimp and pineapple, warmed
bruschetta on crostini bread, country
style sausage with cilantro drizzle
and potato volcanos stuffed with
buffalo chicken, blue cheese and
sour cream. I also had the pleasure,
no, the blessing, of trying the
corned beef sliders. These delectable
sandwiches practically melt
in your mouth, but get them while
you are able! Sadly this treat is not
available all the time, and take my
word for it, you don’t want to miss
At this point of the meal I was starting
to get a little stuffed, so I decided
to take a little break, and try another
one of Jodi’s drink suggestions to
“cleanse the palate” before dinner.
She suggested I partake in Willie Mc-
Bride’s’ infamous peach sangria, and it was well worth its reputation. The
drink was chilled to perfection, sweet
but not overbearingly so, and had little
bits of fresh fruit mixed in. It was positively
splendid, and if you are a wine
person like myself, it is definitely going
to be your new favorite.
Once my stomach had some room
again, it was time for the main
course. My choice for the evening
was Mr. Hession’s favorite:
the shepherd pie. The dish is made
with fresh ground beef and veggies
topped with mashed potatoes and
is basically every food lover’s dream
come true. It went very well with my
sangria, and is baked to perfection; a
must-have if you find yourself needing
something warm and craving that Irish
cooking experience.
With the evening nearing its close,
there was only one appropriate way
to end the night. Coffee and dessert.
Now I am a chocolate lover through
and through, so for me it was an
obvious choice to have the molten
lava cake with some vanilla ice
cream. The cake is served warm,
as if it just came out of the oven,
and the chocolate center melts to
make an impeccable finish to my
culinary venture.
In sum, Sean Hession hits a homerun
with his Branchburg pub, Willie
McBride’s. It is a flawless combination
of Irish history, excellent food
and family atmosphere for brunch and
banquets alike, topped with live cover
band nights and other daily nightlife
staples suiting your every need. It is
a must see, and a real pot of gold at
the end of the pub rainbow. Go and
visit both the Branchburg or Hoboken
locations. With fantastic food
and drink specials, both have a lot
to experience and you will not be
disappointed; while there, don’t
forget to ask Sean about the history
and his famous Mickey Blue
Eyes record collage.

By Amanda-Kathryn (aka Ra mbles of Red)

1270 Ea ston Turnpike, Branchburg, NJ 08876 I WILLIEMC BRIDES .COM


About author