Pop In To Downtown’s Irish Pub, The Brass Door
Ed. Note. Downtown’s Irish bar/soccer HQ has reopened under new management with a refreshed menu, new hours, but the same cozy pub atmosphere and crave-worthy goat cheese balls and fries. Contributor Stacey went to check it out and has reported back. All photos are courtesy of the Brass Door unless otherwise noted.
The Brass Door has always been a favorite watering hole, and I’m not even a Guinness girl. As one of my more poetic drinking buddies notes, “It’s got all the elements one looks for in a hang out bar—warm wood, a feeling of elegance without it being pretentious or expensive, and great stuff to look at.”
He’s specifically referring to the collection of black and white photographs of famous performers in the cozy bar next door (which is now non-smoking), though we both agree that it’s lovely to just sit and stare out of the beautiful windows.
Local power couple Patrick and Deni Reilly took over the daily operations in November and now have it running like gangbusters. Most of us know Patrick and Deni from the Majestic Grill, their hugely successful restaurant on Main Street.
And we got to know them a little better with their six month takeover of Beale Street Landing last year. They’ve brought the same expertise that made The Front Porch such a hit to the Brass Door.
My pal Seamus Loftus, one of the owners, has never seemed happier. He’s delighted to have the Reillys on board. “Having exceptional team members has brought me a certain level of peace that I’m very happy with,” he says.
His happiness is contagious. The three or four times I’ve been in since November, I’ve been greeted with nothing but smiles—from waitresses, bartenders, the GM Chris Backey to Patrick and Deni themselves. When the staff is happy, the customers are happy. The service is friendly, fast and spot on.
Let’s talk about the food. Patrick completely revamped the menu, though he did leave former favorites such as the Brass Door Burger, the BELT (bacon, eggs, lettuce & tomato) and the goat cheese balls (which are so good “they’ll hurt your feelings”). That burger though—beer braised onions and Cashel bleu cheese—make it a real stand out. Add on some hand dipped fries, and hot dang!
(Seamus does have one small beef with Patrick’s menu. His favorite item – the bangers and mash with onion gravy – is called The Beckham. I’ll let the Arsenal fans to explain this one.)
As the temperatures tank, keep the Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips, and Smoked Seafood Chowder in mind for meals that’ll stick to your ribs. The chowder is Patrick’s late mother’s recipe and includes smoked haddock, shrimp, salmon, potatoes, bacon, celery and leeks. It’s served with brown bread which is eaten at almost every meal in Ireland.
Know what else is good when it’s cold outside? Yep, Irish coffee.
And may I introduce you to what is perhaps the best bar snack ever? Irish Nachos. They’re hand cut fries smothered in the Door’s signature Smithwick’s Irish Ale cheese dip, chopped corned beef and beer braised onions. Yes, please!
I feel like I should just mention here that all of the Brass Door’s beers are available by the half pint. As Deni says, “We’re just doing our part to bring back drinking at lunch.”
Those of you with New Year’s resolutions, never fear. The menu also features six amazing salads. Personally, I am a fan of the Kale Caesar, which is a traditional Caesar with a super food added in. Deni recently turned me on to adding the chicken goujons (aka tenders) though, so I don’t know if I’m really being too convincing about eating clean at the ol’ Brass Door. Healthy eaters just bypass the goujons, fries, and cheese dip and go directly to the Baby Spinach or Smoked Salmon salad.
The new menu has a little something for everyone. So grab some pals, grab a beer, grab some grub, maybe watch a little soccer, and enjoy all that the new, improved Brass Door has to offer.
The Brass Door is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. There’s a limited late night menu after 9 p.m. There’s also special early-morning Saturday and Sunday hours (8 a.m.) for breakfast and international soccer matches. Brunch starts in a couple of weeks.
The Brass Door
152 Madison Avenue
About The Author
Stacey Greenberg is a freelance writer who lives in Cooper Young with her two teenaged sons. She’s a contributor to Thrillist.com, Edible Memphis, I Love Memphis, and Memphis Travel. She’s also the author of the award winning blog, Dining with Monkeys (diningwithmonkeys.com). A lifelong Memphian, she loves the fact that she’s never met a stranger here.