The most important ingredient at a traditional Irish pub is an Irishman, and The Brass Door has one. It's a brave move, considering that Memphis is home to some of the country's most memorable bar experiences (Ernestine & Hazel's, Raiford's, etc); it's tough to be the new kid on the block.
Unless you're The Brass Door, that is.
The bar at The Brass Door — Photo courtesy of Paul Rybun
The downtown bar, housed in what was originally a bank building, stands out among the nightlife choices in Memphis simply for its Irish authenticity. The draught beer menu includes Guinness, Harp's and Smithwicks, the food menu is peppered with pub favorites like shepherd's pie and Irish stew, and most nights there's some kind of entertainment, from English Premier League soccer on the telly or British-style bingo.
The restaurant's managing partner, a soccer devotee from a tiny village in County Mayo, found his way to Memphis years ago, and opening a "local" was always a dream. He eventually found business partners, and the result is the restaurant, which has quickly gained a devoted following of downtown workers at lunchtime, and a widely diverse crowd in the evenings.