Why are there so many Irish bars in Annapolis?

Annapolis is a small town with a lot of Irish bars, and each year it hosts an “Irish Week” in March — that lasts 12 days this year — and another one in the Fall. It’s a big deal. Yet, there’s barely a mention of the Irish in official Annapolis historical records.

Annapolis began as a British port colony on the Chesapeake Bay in the 1600’s. The Irish have always been watermen, so it’s reasonable that the Irish have always been part of the undercurrent of Annapolis commerce.

However, the current crop of pubs is due to more recent immigrants. Galway Bay was started by two Irishmen, Michael Galway and Anthony Clarke, who often hire staff from the Emerald Isles. These same guys own Killarney House, an Irish roadhouse on the outskirts of Annapolis, and Brian Boru which is more of a suburban Irish bar.


Then there’s Castlebay Irish Pub started by another Irishman, Vince Quinlan of Dublin. He managed a pub there before coming to the U.S.

These local businessmen are very active in the community and had a key role in developing the town’s Irish Festival, which happens to occur during slow times for the restaurant business in this waterfront town.

Aside from the Irish-run pubs, the Irish Pub Concept is still a hot trend in the U.S. causal-dining experience. Mainly because costs for casual and Irish food is cheaper, labor is cheaper, and more money is made from selling all that imported and craft beer.

And that gets us to Fadó Irish Pub on West Street in Annapolis, one in a chain of Fadó pubs. The interior of the Annapolis bar was build in Ireland and reconstructed in it’s current modern office complex location. The basement pub in Ram’s Head Tavern is often considered rather Irish. But the difference between a British and Irish pub is often the type of the beer it serves. Ram’s Head sells it’s own Fordham craft beer. You judge.

There are other Annapolis colonial bars serving craft beers — 1747 Pub in Reynolds Tavern & Middleton Tavern — but they’re not quite Irish.

However, it goes beyond being an easy theme for making money in a waterfront community that’s also a college town (the U.S. Naval Academy & St. Johns’ College).

Annapolis happens to look very much like Irish port villages. Ok, maybe slightly younger.

Give us your take in the comment section below.

Annapolis Irish Week Schedule 2016

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