The first time I ran into the Irish music duo Dun Aengus was at McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola, Florida in March 2010. It was the last night of the Renaissance Faire and a handful of us met up at the pub for a drink. They were a great band that night, playing a lot of the classic Irish drinking songs I’ve known and loved. I would have gone up to the pub to see them again but they were on tour and leaving for south Florida the next day.
I caught up with them again the following St. Patrick’s Day, once again at McGuire’s. They were rocking the house with popular Irish and Scottish tunes and a few popular American classics for good measure. Just like last year, Dun Aengus had the crowd enraptured, gathered on the floor in front of the stage dancing with wild abandon to these classic sing-alongs. The Irish was certainly high that night.
Hailing from Sweden, Dun Aengus consists of Peter Andersson on banjo and vocals, and Martin Rahmberg on acoustic guitar and vocals. Martin’s gruff singing style contributes a real rootsy “beer and tobacco” quality while Peter’s smoother harmonies and verses compliment and broaden the sound. Peter’s banjo leads also carry the melodies that distinctly bring out the Celtic quality of the music. Their repertoire includes such classics as “Whiskey in the Jar,” “The Wild Rover,” and “All For Me Grog,” and a full night’s compliment of others.
Dun Aengus is an excellent Irish music duo worthy of some support. I’ll be keeping track of them so I can catch them again next time they‘re in town.
This is a video of Martin and Peter of Dun Aengus, with their other band King Laoghaire, performing “A Place in the Choir,” a really catchy tune which is also available for download on CDbaby.
McGuire’s Irish Pub is a Pensacola landmark, rich in atmosphere and tradition. Located in the Old Firehouse at 600 E. Gregory St. Pensacola, Florida, McGuire’s boasts “Feasting, Imbibery, and Debauchery 7 nights a week.” Themed as “a turn of the century New York Irish Saloon” McGuire’s features nightly performances of traditional Irish Music and sing-along. Such artists of note include Rich McDuff, The Guinness Brothers, Dun Aengus, and JJ Smith playing a majority of classic and traditional Irish folk music.
Established by McGuire and Molly Martin in 1977, but only located at Gregory Street since 1982, this pub has a few traditions that have grown up with it. The ceiling and the walls are covered with over 1 million one dollar bills, signed and donated by the pub’s patrons. In the late night hours, as the debauchery gets a-going new comers and those overcome with that Irish spirit may be called up to kiss the moose as the featured artist sings the traditional moose-kissing song.
As a restaurant McGuire’s serves lunch during the day and dinner until the wee hours of the morning and employs some of the hardest working wait staff in Pensacola. Dining at McGuire’s is always fun and satisfying, with very large portions. The nacho plate alone is piled up the size of your head. And the quality is top of the line.
McGuire’s is a winner of numerous awards including Beef Backers “Best Steaks in Florida,” for their USDA Prime Beef steaks. Their Molly’s Cut is the best steak I’ve ever had. It is also an 11 time Golden Spoon Award Winner, and a Florida Trend Magazine Hall of Famer. McGuire’s has also been featured on the Food Network’s Outrageous Foods during which the “Big Daddy Burger” made with bacon, cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers was created.
McGuire’s is also celebrated for its selection of beers. They proudly display a quote by Carrie Nation; “Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.” McGuire’s operates an onsite brewery where are created a selection of quality ales and porter. They include a light ale, Irish Red, Raspberry Wheat, Porter, Stout and root beer. They also brew and serve a rotating variety of seasonal ales. Visitors may tour the McGuire’s Brewery and home brewers are offered a sample of McGuire’s own brewing yeast for use.
The bartenders are very friendly, professional and offer quick service. They pour 1½ oz shots and double shot martinis. McGuire’s is the home of the aptly named Irish Wake, a green concoction served in a mason jar with a green and a red cherry, so potent that no more than three are allowed per customer per visit. Amongst its many awards, McGuires with its 8,000 bottle wine cellar is also the winner or the 2009 WineSpectator Award of Excellence.
To new folks, the McGuire’s layout may cause some initial consternation. Much like the TARDIS from Dr. Who, McGuire’s seems to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Like Disney World, much of McGuire’s is virtually unseen from ‘above ground,’ with 400 seats throughout several different themed rooms. Then there are the bones of Bridget McGuire.
McGuire’s is a regular stop for many celebrities and politicians who live in or pass through Pensacola, including 2008 Presidential candidate John McCain. This is a fantastic pub in which to be a visitor or a regular. With good food, good drink, and great atmosphere, you won’t be disappointed. Just be sure to pay close attention to the restroom signs when ye stop by.