Stan’s Irish Pub
It’s true. There is an honest to God Irish pub in my hood. Now, it’s not uncommon to find businesses here appropriating numerous American monikers. Normally, that is the only thing linking them to US establishments cause the places usually suck. So when St. Patrick’s Day rolled around, I have to admit I was leaning towards the expat haven of Escazu to have a pint. Errands found us near the area but since the whole idea of naming and numbering streets is completely foreign here, we couldn’t find the place. So be it. Rafa instead turned us homeward and to a place I had seen on other excursions. I didn’t have my hopes up. I figured one bottle of overpriced Guinness would do it and we would be home before dark. Silly me.
Stan’s is awesome. We walk in to a tiny bar with four white-haired expats dressed in their finest Irish regalia already three sheets to the wind. OMG…I feel a little misty eyed already. We nestle in to a corner of the bar and are greeted by none other than Stan himself. I never knew you could find leprechauns in Costa Rica! Stan is born and bred in Zapote but moved to NYC as a baby. To hear him shift from Brooklynese to spanish is comical. A proud veteran of the US Army Rangers, he moved back to Costa Rica and opened the first true pub I’ve seen since I left NY.
With pride and an impish smile, Stan gave us a quick tour. The pub itself is cozy painted army green with great paraphernalia hanging on the walls. There are a maze of small rooms for dinning and a huge back room with an extra bar and stag for concerts. I was impressed. But not as impressed as the 34oz. mugs of Costa Rican Craft beer stout! Woohoo! Yes, to be a pub you must have draft beer and Stan proudly served local craft beer that was pretty damn good as well as an excellent selection of bottled beer. Oh happy times!
To keeping from sinking too fast, Rafa and I ordered some food and I dare say, we took some of the biggest ordering risks so far: chicken wings and corn beef with cabbage. Those are some serious Northeast boots to fill! The wings were big but needed to be fried better. The sauce was too light and needed more butter. (Stan and I are just going to have to sit down and have a chat.) The corn beef was good, then again it’s not too hard to screw up boiled meat. He gave it a little quick fried flare. Maybe that’s just to get Ticos past the whole boiled meat thing. Tasty taters and cabbage as well. As bar food goes, I give him snaps but I am going to have to do more taste testing sober. That may just be my biggest challenge…staying sober there.
The place filled to the rafters quickly and Stan never wavered from his post behind the bar. He ruled his domain adeptly. Smart, quick, accommodating, Stan deserves praise for running a great pub. And as if my first St. Patrick’s Day away from the States couldn’t get any better, a bag piper came in. Beer, bag piper, Rafa…reminds me of an Irish blessing:
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been
the foresight to know where you’re going
and the insight to know when you’re going too far.
With that said, I think I’ll have another beer.