Intoxicated with food adventure after my dinner at Woodfire Grill on Tuesday (extensive post forthcoming, I promise), I got out to the new Irish pub on Decatur square, Mac McGee's, on Wednesday. (They don't seem to have a website yet, but you can check out the menu on Decatur Metro's post about them.)
The space is tiny but friendly, with several small high-top tables, stools along the bar, a few high-backed corner booths, and a couple 2-to-4-tops. We snagged the cozy booth at the front, which can be completely closed in but for a window that goes through to the bar. Highly recommended for largeish parties of close friends and/or people who want to feel like they're in a mafia movie. It's a nonsmoking establishment (bliss!), and decorated, appropriately, in glowing woods and dim lights.
I was excited to try the food, being a fan of the chef, Ryan Stewart, from when he headed the kitchen at The Glenwood. I ordered the lamb cottage pie (fine-ground lamb in gravy covered with mashed potatoes, with a side of simply dressed salad) and it was good but underwhelming, with little lamby flavor and a higher ratio of potatoes-to-meat than I would've preferred.
That was the only entrée I tasted, so I'll reserve judgment until I have a chance to go back, but the sandwiches I tried -- the corned beef and the cheeseburger with house-made bacon -- seemed to be much surer bets. Each was served on excellent bread (a squishy, eggy roll for the cheeseburger and a thick & chewy toasted baguette for the corned beef), and both meats were very well seasoned -- though I'm not sure that the burgers were actually cooked to order, despite the waitress asking everyone at what temperature they wanted theirs. The sandwiches came with sides of the best fries I've had in a long time -- small wedges of potato with a high contrast of crispy coating to meltingly soft meal. I usually don't consider fries to be worth the calories, but I could eat a lot of these.
The draft list had some terrific options (I had a Houblon Chouffe IPA Tripel and a Unibroue Trois Pistoles Strong Dark Ale), though the list was missing any form of description, in some cases including what brewery the beers were from. (Tasting notes aren't necessary on a menu, and the bartender cheerfully provided explanations and recommendations, but I'd at least like to know the general categories and gravities of what's available. My beergeek knowledge isn't always immediately accessible, especially after I've had one [Yes, one. I'm tiny].) I heard tell of a whiskey menu but didn't see one and didn't ask -- Wednesday wasn't that kind of night, and I really didn't want to tempt myself to turn it into that kind of night. But it's precisely the sort of place that I'd like to spend time denting a barstool and nursing from a short glass, and I'll definitely report back on the whiskey situation once I have.
Our waitress and bartenders were casual, good-humored, and attentive, with I think only two tiny, quickly-resolved hiccups for our table of 9, which counts as a complete service win.
Will definitely be returning. Let me know if you've been, and what you've thought if you have! And/or tell me what's your favorite UK-style pub around town -- especially if it's off the beaten.