The Place: John Martin's Irish Pub and Restaurant
253 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
The Hours: Monday through Friday 4-8 p.m.
The Deals: Half off all house wines, liquor and 20-oz imported drafts.
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The Scene: Owner Martin Lynch runs his bar like any good Irishmen, with the star of the show being the drink. Bottles are all on display out in the open behind the long Mahogany bar. Happy hour select drafts are served in 20 oz glasses, you know so there's no chance of you getting parched.
The after work crowd is a good mix of Gables-ites with everybody from young urban professionals to older regulars and even the city's mover's and shakers. A jovial atmosphere adheres to the Irish stereotype that has kept it in good staid for 21 years but it's more than a watering hole. The restaurant is heavy on the Colcannon (Mash potatoes with cabbage) but is surprisingly varied. Even so, in place like John Martin's it's criminal to order anything but the Shepherd's Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Beef and Guinness Stew or Irish Potato Soup while you feed the creature (that means while you drink in Irish-speak).
Conclusion: There's a bunch of Irish pubs scattered about town but more often than not, the only thing actually from the Isle of Eire is the Guinness and Harp. Not in John Martin's. Sit back and let owner Martin regale you with tales of the old country and how he didn't even know who Colin Farrell was when he walked into the pub a couple year's back. Of course, that didn't stop him from throwing back some with the Irish star.