Berkshires After Dark: A fittingly Irish pub
DALTON -- I think my friend Adam put it best: "St. Patrick's Day is coming. The Catholic Church is voting for a new pope. Here we are at The Shamrock. That's, ah... "
"Fitting," I said. Maybe.
Or perhaps, it just had to do with my hankering for a hot corned beef reuben.
Either way, we ended up at this old Main Street haunt on Tuesday night around 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday nights, it seems, have become the ideal nights for dinner and a movie, with "$5 Tuesdays" specials now being offered at the Beacon Cinema (where we were heading afterwards) in Pittsfield, Regal Cinemas 10 at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, and the North Adams Movieplex 8.
According to my research, The Shamrock Restaurant & Pub has been around since 1997, when it was opened by Richard "Dick" Stockwell and Roberta Dus. They sold it to Gerald E. Roberts and Joann Walton in 2002, who, to my knowledge, have been running the show ever since.
I remember popping by a bit in high school for lunch or dinner, and have been in a few times over the years since.
When Adam and I walked in, I felt it had remained the same. To the right of the entryway is the bar, with a few wall-mounted screens for television and Keno lottery. You could probably squeeze about a dozen people across the bar on a weekend night, and I remember seeing that happen. But for a Tuesday, there were just three or four there.
Adam and I had our pick of seats among the eight tables in the dining area to the left. We sat in the middle next to the wooden divider.
Our waitress was friendly, attentive and prompt.
The Shamrock has a definite Irish theme, from a poster of Irish writers to a glass of Guinness logo mirror on the wall. The high tin ceilings are painted dark green. The tables are accented with green, paper placemats and metallic shamrock garlands.
The rest of the interior, from furniture to plates is simple, slightly aged, but clean and functional.
The bar used to have Murphy's Irish Stout, but not on this particular Tuesday. I ordered a Guinness instead, while Adam ordered a Coke.
Sure enough, just as I remembered, the Shamrock had reubens, with the diner's choice of corned beef (mine), ham or turkey and the traditional accoutrements of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye bread.
Adam ordered the Shamrock Special Club: a triple-decker grilled sandwich stuffed with a ground sirloin patty, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Both plates came with a pile of shoestring-style french fries and a couple of pickle chips.
We finished our meal by splitting a warm apple crisp with oatmeal crumble topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a mound of whipped cream.
As for the rest of the menu, the pub is a place where you can still find dishes like liver and onions or an all-beef hot dog on a grilled roll, as well as a filet mignon. The latter has the maximum menu price of $18.95. Most else is under $10. Our total was $26.05.
While we sat and ate, three more tables filled with pairs of patrons, most appearing older than we were.
Over the years the pub has hosted everything from local musicians to families during Dalton's annual holiday walk. The Shamrock, at least on week nights, has always been that kind of homestyle place where you'll get a warm greeting, hot food, and an easy-going sociable atmosphere.
Indeed, amicable chatter filled the room, but not to the rollicking levels you see portrayed in Irish pubs on TV. On weekends, things pick up a bit more on the bar end.
The only other update I found, aside from the table configuration, is that my smartphone found free Wi-Fi there.
Overall, the pub offered just what I had hoped for, a quick, easy-going meal during which I could catch up with my dear old friend without shouting.
Neither outgoing or trendy, The Shamrock still quietly practices the art of a warm neighborhood welcome.
If you go ...
The Shamrock Restaurant & Pub, 645 Main St., Dalton. (413) 684-9700. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
Style: Irish-theme restaurant and pub.
Food: American pub food, appetizers and entrees. Weekly specials of Irish beef stew on Wednesdays, corned beef and cabbage on Thursdays, fish and chips and baked scrod on Fridays, and prime rib on Saturdays. Price range is $2.50 to $18.95.
Entertainment: Occasional live music and holiday events.
Our rating: 1 mug, Run away; 2 mugs, Yawn; 3 mugs, Cheers; 4 mugs, "I'll be back"; 5 mugs, "Round's on me!"
Your rating: You can rate The Shamrock at www.berkshireeagle.com/The413.
To reach Jenn Smith:
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink
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