It’s like the entrance to Diagon Alley, minus the awesomeness. If you didn’t know it was there, or weren’t looking for it, you’d probably just drive on past it. The Irish Times Pub is nestled between apartment buildings, next to a commercial building that looks like it used to be an apartment building, and near a freeway overpass. There’s a tree that blocks the illuminated pub sign.
We arrived early in the evening for dinner and to get seats at a booth. The Gothic style chandeliers were really rather fascinating and cast some of the only light available, but the lack of Irish décor (flags strung around) didn’t give the air of an Irish pub. The pre-entertainment ambiance was set with static radio playing over the speaker system. After a while, the static noise blended with the twinge of an oncoming headache.
The Shakers were playing that night, and definitely one of the highlights of the evening. Jodie’s screamin’, rockin’ voice carried through the pub, and out onto the streets of Culver City. It was a bit mind-boggling to watch how any band would be able to maneuver their equipment onto the small ‘stage’ in such a Tetris-like manner. While the pub does host various Celtic-inclined bands once in awhile, it looks like the weekend entertainment tends to favor more of the cover bands. When a good band comes around, it’s a packed house. Literally… Packed. No moving room. It took about 20 minutes to maneuver from the ‘stage’ area to the restrooms, which couldn’t be more than 15 yards away. I’m not sure what the maximum number of people was set at, but it could certainly be a safety issue if there was an emergency. I doubt that the pub has trap doors to escape through.
The food wasn’t able to add much to the hopes of the evening. It’s the standard drunken munch food: burgers, fish and chips, bulk-warehouse style fried foods, shepherd’s pie, etc. We ordered a burger without the bun, fish and chips, and the shepherd’s pie.
These entrees weren’t anything to get excited about.
- The burger was a burger. Aside from the fact that the kitchen staff added some extra greenery and veggies to the plate (substituted a salad for fries), it was a standard hamburger and cheese thing.
- The shepherd’s pie didn’t have any depth to it. The vegetables inside were tender, and the mashed potatoes on top honestly had more seasoning than the meat inside. This was a disappointing dish for something that can normally be considered a comfort food, and can so easily be made at home.
- With the Fish and Chips, the chips were palatable, but the fish had an odd, subtle tang to it. And yes, this was before Vinegar had the chance to be added. On the plus side, no one got sick from it, so it might have been an added seasoning of some kind.
If you’re going to the pub for the food only, you might be better off at one of the nearby Asian or specialty style eateries. If you’re going to the pub for a few drinks (which are reasonably priced), by the time the food arrives, your taste buds might be numb enough to make it a better eating experience.
The drinks were poured quickly, and eventually someone came around to bus the plates from the table. Aside from lacking someone to actually take food orders and keep drinks refreshed over on the dining side, the staff and service were friendly and accommodating.
After the first or second set, we bid adieu to the band, and took our leave. The lack of Air Conditioning on the hot Los Angeles night made the pub smell like a locker room and overall experience left a feeling of “icky-crankiness”.
If you plan on checking out the Irish Times Pub, ponder on visiting on a chilly winter day when no entertainment is scheduled. You might get a waitress running around helping out, and more bearable indoor temperature conditions. There are a good number of TVs showing the various sports channels, if that’s your cup of tea. In regards to possibly better food being served during the day, well, post your experience in the comments below!