by Jacki Mick
St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us. For those of us who eschew green beer, that means we'll more than likely be getting our Irish drink on with some Guinness, and any true Guinness aficionado knows that the pour really does matter. The cleanliness of the lines, the proper resting of the beer and, if you're into appearances, the shamrock shape poured into the foam all make a difference. If you're looking to get down with a pint of the black stuff on St. Paddy's Day, these places have the most delicious pours in all of Orlando:
323 N. Ronald Reagan Blvd.
Okay, so, technically Connolly's is in Longwood, but their Guinness is totally worth the trip. According to the owner of the bar, the lines are cleaned out weekly and it's that diligence that makes Connolly's the best tasting Guinness in Orlando. They're also the only Guinness bar where I've consistently received the shamrock poured into the head of my beer. Don't go to Connolly's hungry, though, as they are strictly drinks.
4308 Curry Ford Road
The bartenders at Claddagh Cottage are always super-friendly and pour a damn fine Guinness. So fine, in fact, that they have numerous "Guinness Perfect Pour" awards adorning their walls. As a testament to just how delicious the Guinness is at Claddagh Cottage, once we stopped in and were greeted with a customer-led mini-concert of Irish drinking songs. He kept singing as long as people kept buying him Guinness. Their food is not to be missed either: the Irish stew is basically made of magic, as is the bread.
600 N. Lake Destiny Drive
Located in the lobby of a Sheraton in Maitland, An Tobar reopens March 14 after pouring their last pint back in July 2005. It's a step up from your typical Irish pub – it's literally a tiny piece of Ireland right here in Orlando. Everything in the bar was crafted in Ireland and shipped to Orlando, where it was lovingly assembled by a crew of Irish workers. With their reopening, they have also revamped their menu mixing traditional Irish fare with some nontraditional selections like "Tobar oglalla" (onion rings) and "Galway wings." It's a fantastic place to get a tasty Guinness in a more upscale environment.
2408 E. Robinson St.
Four words for you: three dollar scotch eggs. Scotch eggs and their sausage-y, breaded, fried goodness are the perfect food to lay down a base for a night of Irish revelry. The Bull & Bush Guinness pour is nothing to be laughed at either: Properly poured and rested, it'll meet all of your highest Guinness expectations.
If none of these meet your pot o'gold at the end of the Guinness rainbow standards, here are some other tasty Orlando Guinness options: