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ITHACA, NY — Whether playing host to geeky trivia or weekly karaoke, Kilpatrick’s Publick House is a hub of conviviality on The Commons.
“Anyone can sit down and feel comfortable,” said Kilpatrick’s beverage manager Jeremy Hummel.
Its “welcoming Ithaca feel” is the result of a carefully crafted menu and cozy atmosphere aiming to please comfort-craving locals and hotel guests alike.
Burgers, boxty, and beer
“We’re authentic Irish pub,” Hummel said. “We pour a proper Guinness and we have every variety of Jameson.”
In addition to the requisite Guinness and Smithwick’s, the bar boasts 21 beers on tap, and an impressive roster of New York brews from Southern Tier, Ithaca Beer Company, and Grist Iron, as well as rotating taps from Saranac, Hopshire, Ommegang, Wagner, Lucky Hare and more.
“I wish I had 40 taps! Virtually all of the wine is local from the Finger Lakes,” said Hummel. “I tell our hotel guests they can actually go (to the wineries and breweries) if they have the time.” The bar makes a point of working with local distilleries as well.
Diners can of course find traditional fish and chips as well as corned beef and cabbage, but a recent menu change brought in new items as well as some old favorites back again for another spin.
“The response (to the new menu) has been very positive,” said Tim Hoover, who is a two-year veteran in Kilpatrick’s kitchen, and took over as head chef in March.
The new menu added several vegetarian options, and resurrected fan favorite appetizers and sandwiches like the Reuben, and the Rachel (a Reuben made with turkey instead of corned beef).
The boxty potato pancake made a comeback with shredded potatoes, quinoa, and kale served with Irish butter and fig preserves, as did the brick-fired Kilkenny flatbread, made with garlic, bruschetta, mozzarella and balsamic glaze.
Among new entrees, Hoover has added the Smoky Gnocchi, made in house with shiitake mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, toasted walnuts, and brown butter, over smoked carrot puree, and pan-seared scallops served over beet puree with arugula, bacon, orange butter and a sweet potato fritter.
The pub opened in 2005 on the ground floor of the Hilton Garden Inn. Although affiliated with the hotel, the restaurant and bar has continued to strive for a personal connection with patrons, and plenty of local fare.
Much of the team — servers, bartenders and kitchen staff — have stayed the same over the years, noted Teri Tarshus, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn, while other Irish pubs in the area have come and gone.
While the most popular entrees are the Hooligan burger, the Whiskey Chick sandwich and the fish and chips, Tarshus has another favorite.
“Our soups are probably our best kept secret,” Tarshus said. There is always French onion soup and one soup of the day, and it’s “very rare for there to be any left over.”
“There’s always something going on,” said Hummel. “I think people would be surprised how busy we can be after 10 p.m.”
There is trivia on Monday night hosted by Geeks Who Drink from 8-10 p.m., Tuesday is open mic night from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m., and Thursday is karaoke, also from 10 p.m – 1 a.m.
In addition, Wednesday is flight night: from 5 p.m. – 1 a.m, patrons can build their own flight with four 6 .oz beers for $9.
And for football fans (the soccer kind), Kilpatrick’s is also a hotspot with many international students showing soccer games and tournaments throughout the season.
Follow Kilpatrick’s on Facebook to hear about weekly events and view the current menu.