If you are in need of a relaxing happy hour this fall to transition from your work life to your “real” life, you may want to head to Annapolis’ Westgate Circle for a most pleasant happy hour on the patio at Fadó Irish Pub. This Irish restaurant and bar, which shares a lovely patio and large soothing fountain with Carpaccio next door, is an ideal place to meet and chat with friends on those deep blue sky September and October afternoons.
Meeting up with a friend there recently, I easily shifted gears from stressed out to chilled out. It had been a while since my last visit, and I was pleased with the selection of Happy Hour libations and appetizer choices at extremely reasonable prices. The Happy Hour menu includes a selection of draft beers for $4! With a glass of wine offered at $5, a choice of cocktails at $6, and some happy hour-priced appetizers, we were ready to explore.
Guinness mixes abound
The drink menu at Fadó is huge. Being an Irish bar, it heavily features Guinness. There are six choices of Guinness mixes, where Guinness and another beer are carefully poured into the same glass. To the uninitiated, this may seem strange, but follow the adage, “Don’t knock it until you have tried it.” I know there is science behind it, but that’s not my thing. I just know that the Guinness will always float on top of the other beer, making for a layered drink and conversation piece. Nonetheless, it’s fun to watch the bartenders carefully craft these drinks. Until this visit, I was only familiar with the “Blacksmith”: half Smithwick’s Ale and half Guinness. Now that I know there are other Guinness combinations served at Fadó, I would like to try some, but I will leave that for a winter day’s return visit.
Large selection of draft beers and cocktails
The happy hour drink menu rotates through the bar’s large variety of draft beers and cocktails. This week the beer focus was on local MD and PA drafts, and more summer-type cocktails. Since I have enjoyed beers from the Jailbreak brewing company, I selected its “Feed the Monkey”, brewed in nearby Laurel, MD. It was served extremely cold and was a great pairing with the Fish and Chips appetizer we ordered. Somewhat later, after we’d eaten, I ended this happy hour with a Fresh Sangria made from red wine, brandy, fresh orange and lemon juices and seasonal fruit, bringing this evening’s happy hour to a refreshing close. But before then, there were other appetizers to sample.
Fadó has a unique selection of appetizers. We chose three items from the “Drinking Bites” menu. In the “OMG, how come I never knew about these before?” category were the Jalapeño Jack Stuffed Cheese Puffs. From now on, these will rank high on my favorite apps list. Rather than try to describe how sinfully delicious these were, if you are a jalapeño fan, just trust me. You will be hooked. I request, please, Fadó, make these a permanent menu item! Since we were leaning Irish, we had to try the Harp Battered Fish Tacos. These were two nice, flaky fish tacos, topped with shredded cabbage, spicy red chili aioli and pico de gallo. Our final choice was the Fish and Chips Cup. Although the menu describes this as “snack-sized”, it seemed quite adequate for meal- sized to me. Served with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and lemon, the crispy fish and thickly cut potato wedges were plentiful and filling. Once again, Happy Hour was replacing dinner.
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The inside bar at Fadó is large and beautiful. The heavy, dark wood creates a warm and rich feeling. However, Fadó is a casual and friendly place and, on cooler fall and winter days, a cozy place to enjoy an Irish coffee or a heavier beer or cocktail. During happy hour and throughout the day, Fadó is known for its televised showings of popular sporting events from around the world, but especially for its coverage of world soccer tournaments. During these events you’ll often find an enthusiastic sports crowd at the bar.
So whether you wish to extend your summer, unwinding with cocktails al fresco on the attractive patio, or it’s a cooler or wetter day where you will be warmly welcomed inside, be sure to put Fadó on your must-try Happy Hour rotation.
Photos courtesy of Natalie Spong