Report Card: Ri Ra the Irish Pub

The magnificent bar at Ri Ra the Irish Pub

The magnificent bar at Ri Ra the Irish Pub

Ri Ra the Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

http://www.rira.com/charlotte/

Overall GrubGrade A-

 

The Breakdown:

Atmosphere:  Grade A:  Ri Ra the Irish Pub is no pretender.  The place looked so much like what I think an Irish pub should look like, I was a little taken aback that our server didn’t have the Irish brogue.  The place was pretty empty when we went, which was later on a Sunday evening – guess the good folks in Charlotte don’t believe in getting crazy on Sunday.  The place was really quiet.  Anyway, Ri Ra was very clean, and it was easy to forget we were still in the States.

High marks:  Clean with authentic looking decor

Low marks:   Expected more patrons

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Service:  Grade B+:  The service at Ri Ra the Irish Pub was good.  Our server, Justin, certainly took care of our needs.  Our drinks and food were delivered in timely fashion, and nothing was forgotten.  This is going to sound strange, but it was a little boring.  I  think since the restaurant was pretty much empty, our server could have spent an extra minute or two chatting us up.  It’s not a big complaint, but the service lacked that “wow” factor we’re looking for when we give out “A’s” in this category.

High marks:  Good service, virtually no wait for food and drinks

Low marks:   Service was a little boring

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Food/Spirits:  Grade A-:  We fully expected Ri Ra the Irish Pub to have really good drinks.  I mean, I don’t think you’re legally allowed to claim any Irish ties unless you’ve got the whole alcohol thing nice and tidy.  Ri Ra certainly has that going for them.  Katina ordered a Sour Dragon, a white shandy, and a pink lemonade.  If you’re counting, that’s 3 cocktails.  There can be only one explanation for this kind of excess – they were really good drinks.  I settled on something called a Happy Days, and of course had to order a Guinness (not to do so would be sacrilege), and a Victory Golden Monkey, which was also completely awesome.  My final drink, however, was a La Fin du Monde by Unibroue.  This beer from Quebec, Canada blew me away.  I know…why a Canadian beer in an Irish pub?  The answer is simple:  it was on special.  This was one of the best beers I’ve ever had.  If you’re counting, that’s 4 for me – now that’s why we always get hotels downtown so we can walk to these restaurants.  On to the food!  For our appetizer, we ordered the wild chicken wings.  This is where the experience gets weird, because these were probably the BEST WINGS WE’VE EVER HAD.  That’s right…in an Irish pub where they’re not even a featured item.  The wings were well prepared, and the wild sauce had the perfect amount of heat.  You could take your time and really savor the flavor instead of eating them really fast because the sauce is too hot.  For entrées, we both got hamburgers.  I’m starting to notice we order a lot of hamburgers, and I will make an effort to be more adventurous.  But we’re at a bar, for Pete’s sake.  And, I was able to get a burger made from lamb – score!  Both our burgers were tasty and well prepared, and the hand cut fries were perfectly cooked (that’s the only time I’ve received perfectly cooked hand cut fries – ever).  When it came time for dessert, we made a bit of history.  We ordered another serving of the wild wings.  We have never eaten the same thing twice in the same sitting – I mean, why would anyone do that.  I challenge you to get to Ri Ra the Irish pub and order some wings and see if you don’t have an immense craving for more once you’ve finished them.  What a surprise, and a very pleasant one at that.

High marks:  Great drink selection and drinks, unbelievably good chicken wings

Low marks:  None but it’s hard for a pub to compete with some more upscale restaurants

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Value:  Grade B+:  We dropped another Ben Franklin at Ri Ra, but we also drank 7 alcoholic beverages, so that’s about half of the bill.  Since we had burgers, it’s hard to gauge portion size, but quality was top notch.  You simply must stop by Ri Ra the Irish Pub.  If I get back there, I expect the place to be rockin’, even if it is Sunday.

High marks:   Outstanding drinks and food for a reasonable price

Low marks:  Hard to determine portion size

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