After golf, lift a pint or two at O'Donoghue's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Scottsdale

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Arizona might as well be a million miles from Ireland - or South Africa, for that matter. But there are two things all three have in common - golf and draft beer.

O'Donoghue's Irish Pub - Food
From fish and chips to cottage and shepherd's pie, O'Donoghue's Irish fare is spot on.
O'Donoghue's Irish Pub - FoodO'Donoghue's Pub - ScottsdaleO'Donoghue's Irish Pub & Restaurant
If you go

And if you put the two together, what better place to enjoy them than in a genuine Irish pub?

This is the appeal of O'Donoghue's Irish Pub & Restaurant, located at the corner of Thompson Peak Parkway and North Hayden Road in golf-rich Scottsdale. Here you will find the genuine articles - both in beer and grub - as well as a pretty decent Irish atmosphere. It's so good, in fact, that O'Donoghue's is starting to become a favorite hangout of the tour players during the FBR Open held in the spring at the TPC Scottsdale and the Open held in the fall at Grayhawk Golf Club.

Don't be surprised if you see South African tour player Tim Clark, who could certainly pass for Irish, with a few of his professional golfing buddies enjoying a pint of Guinness with a plate of corned beef and cabbage or shepherd's pie.

"Tim and his mates are very down-to-earth people," said Paul Diskin, O'Donoghue's co-owner and general manager.

Which is just the feeling you get from the moment you arrive at this Emerald Isle-inspired restaurant and pub. The Scottsdale establishment is actually the third for Diskin, who has a nightclub and pub in the Los Angeles area, but this one is certainly close to the heart.

O'Donoghue's: Where Ireland meets Arizona

With O'Donoghue's, Diskin took great care to bring a piece of his home country with him. The mahogany bar was made in Ireland, then shipped over to Arizona. The pub also features rustic farm furniture and interior fixtures such as aged wooden doors, all originally built in Ireland. There are also images of literary icons and Dublin street scenes along with native "bric-a-brac," collected over the years, covering the walls.

Then he consulted with the higher-ups at Guinness to make sure his pour was perfect and as close to authentic as possible. At O'Donoghue's it's a 75-to-25 ratio of nitrogen to carbon dioxide gas mixture in the kegs. Most beer kegs are simply CO2.

"It was in the original O'Donoghue's eight years ago that we decided to bring a similar concept to our own backyards," said Diskin. "No matter where they are in the world, authentic Irish pubs bring family-style comfort with soul to the neighborhood."

A taste from across the pond

Equally important as the beer and spirits selection - there are 16 choices of beer on tap - is the menu. Diskin consulted with renowned chef Stefan Richter on the cuisine.

While you can get fancy fare like grilled salmon or trout almandine, the more popular items are traditional Irish dishes. No. 1 on the list is corned beef and cabbage, and if this sounds somewhat bland, it isn't. The corned beef here is tangy and tender and is particularly good on an appetizer item at O'Donoghue's - Irish Sliders, which are made with sauerkraut and rolls and served with horseradish mustard.

The restaurant also offers a perfect shepherd's pie and another popular combination, fish and chips, as well as cottage pie and an all-day Irish breakfast.

Of course, O'Donoghue's is probably a little more pricey than the original pub it was named for in Dublin, but we are talking Scottsdale, so $6 for a 20-ounce draught isn't out of line, nor are the $12-$14 traditional Irish meals.

The best part about O'Donoghue's, however, might be the atmosphere. It's a fairly laid-back crowd for the most part, until the live music - much of it Irish in nature - chimes in on weekends. Then it might get a little loud - but not too loud to talk about the eagle you made on the final hole at Grayhawk.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • entertainment

    Dennis Fike wrote on: Jan 6, 2011

    If you are ever looking for a fun party band that can play for all ages and can fit in a small area lol, I hope you will check us out.
    Thank you
    Dennis fike


  • Address ?

    Brian wrote on: Dec 24, 2008

    Interesting review, seems like a nice place, would love to go there on our next trip the Scottsdale! BUT you don't provide the address/location of O'Donoghue's!


    • RE: Address ?

      Kevin wrote on: Feb 3, 2009

      I was thinking the same thing. No address.