Irish Pub or Music Venue?
Actually, McGonigel's Mucky Duck is both.
Mucky Duck's has been been serving food, drink and music for over 20 years! It's squeezed into a cozy spot on Norfolk in Upper Kirby, where on many a night crowds are waiting outside to buy tickets. On this Wednesday night there were two open rocking chairs outside, but the quaint pub was throbbing inside with live music of "Patrice Pike" at 7:30.
Lots of Beer!
There are 32 kinds of draught and 80 bottled beers to choose from. I chose one of the many Irish beers, Smithwick's. 2 bonus points for so many choices!
New friend to the blog...with lots of knowledge!
This was Patrick's first time in the blog, so 1 bonus point there. But a big 3 bonus for all Patrick's Irish knowledge. We learned about the importance of the head on the beer and how to say cheers in Irish Gaelic! "Slaninte!" (pronounced, "slawncha")
Sigi had the beef and mushroom pie, with peas and baked tomatoes. I chose the Beef Guinness Stew with carrots and potatoes inside a crusty bread bowl! Mine had a tangy, sweet flavor and the meat was perfectly tender. I'm sure there are experts out there who know this dish well, but for my first experience I give 5 points!
Such an odd and cozy place for serving up such big music. The wall on the right shows autographed photos of past performers.
During the evening's first musical performance it was pretty loud and difficult to talk at all. ( let's remember, I'm over 50) But when the "Irish Session" began at 9pm, the whole place mellowed. 5 bonus point for a curious, changing atmosphere.
That is what they call the gathering of musicians every Wednesday around 9. The tiny stage squeezed into the corner of the bar was lined with about 8 chairs. Musicians wandered in and casually opened up cases and tuned instruments and went about playing as if they were just there for themselves. There were a few flutes, a banjo, a fiddle, a cello (not typical to Irish music) and my favorite, the bodran, which is an Irish drum. Sometimes all played. Sometimes a few chatted quietly while others played. Some pieces were impossible to hear without tapping a toe. There were also slower, sad melodies. Even a solo singing voice.
5 bonus points for letting me hear authentic Irish music!
As I watched I began to wonder if the musicians were having fun. At first we were a little perplexed because they weren't very loud... only 2 small mics. Even with the lively jigs, they didn't seem to be having the best time. But when I looked around, the crowd from the early performance had left and the new arrivals were more into their socializing. Maybe the musicians weren't bothering to entertain them.
I had given up on speaking to anyone Irish, (besides Patrick) but as we were leaving I spoke with Rex, the percussionist...who at least has an Irish mother. He was delighted to show Sigi and me how he used his wrist to rotate the odd drumstick against the bodran. I guess he is a lawyer, because of his story about acquiring the drum from an Irishman who asked him to do his will. (He would take no money, only the drum)
Rex also told us about the arguments the musicians had about having any microphones on stage at all. They prefer to gather with their instruments and play as they do in real Irish pubs, which is less about performance.
So, 3 bonus points for having an interesting chat!
Some cool stuff!
I like a place with stuff to look at. The walls were covered in curious clutter! There were old fiddles and long curling smoking pipes hanging over the bar. There was one cozy sitting area with shelves of books and games and near the entrance there was a dusty piano and a wall of old photos and an old framed map.
Patrick is pictured below, showing Don where his family is from, back in Ireland...Blacksod/County Mayo. Ahhh. I felt like I was visiting old Aunt Irene's house! (I wish I had an Aunt Irene)
3 bonus points for interesting stuff!
A total of 27 points for an Irish Dining Adventure!!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.