The martini might not be the national drink of Ireland, but it’s the most popular drink in one Irish bar in Bradenton.
, 427 Old Main St., is local downtown hangout meets elegant martini bar where patrons pounding Bud Lights from the bottle seemingly blend nicely with others sipping on a shaken martini carefully selected from a menu of 17. O’Bricks markets itself as part Manhattan martini bar, part Irish pub, and it regularly attracts from both ends of the spectrum.
“It’s an Irish pub-martini bar, but we sell martinis like crazy,” said Amanda Metcalf, assistant manager.
O’Bricks has a decent selection of beers, including several Irish favorites, along with a full-liquor bar featuring several Irish whiskeys, wine and a variety of Irish coffees. But it separates itself from the norm with its selection of 17 martinis, each one described in detail in leather-bound menus. The one Irish-themed martini is a Dublin Apple, a mix of Michael Collins, Irish whiskey, Apple Pucker and cranberry juice. But the most popular are the Espresso, Snickers and La Poire.
The Espresso is a blend of Three Olives Vodka, espresso and a splash of Godiva liqueur with a raw sugar rim. Snickers, a creamy version of the candy bar, comes with Three Olives Vanilla, Baileys and Frangelico rimmed with chocolate and crushed peanuts. La Poire is a French twist on the Pear Martini with Grey Goose Pear, St. Germain liquor and a splash of champagne.
Each martini is made with top-shelf liquor and shaken, not stirred. The fruit juices, coffee or sweet lining coating the glass’ rim mask the bite of the liquor, said bartender Billie Brown. That’s what makes O’Bricks’ martinis tasty yet deceivingly dangerous!
Martinis cost $8, but drop to $6 during O’Bricks’ generous happy hour, which is daily from 2-7 p.m. and again from 11 p.m. until midnight. There are discounts on wines, wells and drafts during happy hour, too. Free appetizers from Mangrove Bar & Grill, a fine dining establishment in Palmetto, come out at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. (O’Bricks and Mangrove share an owner and a general manager, so expect the same upscale classiness at O’Bricks that Mangrove is known for.)
Drafts include Irish favorites like Harp, Guinness and Murphy’s along with Newcastle, Magic Hat No. 9, Bass and Blue Moon. The bar's selection of more than 20 bottled beers includes all the popular domestics, Sierra Nevada, Smithwick’s (an Irish beer), Corona, Woodchuck Cider, Widmer, Lindemans Framboise, Carlsberg and Samuel Smiths Nut Brown. Single malts, Irish whiskeys, wine and a variety of Irish coffees round out its eclectic offering of drinks.
O’Bricks opened in December 2010 in the small nook near the south end of Old Main Street formerly occupied by , which moved a couple blocks north to a larger location where it recently . O’Bricks markets to a somewhat different crowd than what occupied the former bar – smoking is prohibited, as are dogs; the bags of free peanuts are gone (as are the discarded, crunchy shells that blanketed the floor by the end of the evening); and the lights are turned up a tad.
The interior is a simple layout with a bar running most of the length of the south wall. It seats about a dozen. Opposite the bar are six sturdy, wood tables that can seat six apiece. The bar, tables, barstools and trim are made from Guanacaste wood imported from Costa Rica.
Gone is the raised platform in the back of the bar where the ’Roo used to have a couple tables and the occasional live band. Without it, the more open interior flows easier from front to back.
The bar has three flat-screen televisions, WiFi and a full sound system. The televisions are usually tuned in to a sports game. And since O’Bricks is an Irish pub, it’s only fitting that it airs rugby matches.
This month, O’Bricks began a weekly special of live Irish music from 7:30-10:30 p.m. every Tuesday, which it plans to continue. Guinness, Murphy’s and Harp are $3 and Tullamore Dew shots are $4 during the music.
Irish music never sounded so sweet.
IF YOU GO:
O’Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar, 427 Old Main St., is open from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. daily with the exception of Sunday. Enjoy daily happy hour specials from 2-7 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.–midnight and complimentary appetizers starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Their website is www.obricks.com.
AROUND BRADENTON THIS WEEKEND:
- The Dr. Dave band is performing live at , 4307 26th St. W., from 6-10 p.m. Thursday. No cover!
- Free Texas Hold ‘Em Poker at , 425 Old Main St., every Thursday night from 7 p.m. until about midnight. While your there, select a smoke from Cork’s cigar collection and try one of the bar’s many import or American craft beers. (Author’s tip: If you haven’t tried Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale from Newport, Ore., you’re missing out on a very tasty, American-made beer!)
- Back by popular demand in the Village of the Arts is the “Movie & a Martini” from 6-10 p.m. Friday. Live music from local band Straight Up from 6-8 p.m. followed by the screening of the James Bond classic "From Russia With Love" in the lot at the corner of 12th Street West and 11th Avenue. There will be two martini stations open throughout the evening near this corner selling four different types of martinis: A shaken James Bond Martini “Casino Royale” with gin, vodka, Lillet, lemon; a Goldfinger Martini with gold tequila, agave nectar, lime and a salt rim; a Chocolate Martini with Belgium chocolate, vodka and vanilla bean; and a Cosmo Martini with vodka, cranberry juice and lime. Martinis cost between $5-$6. Anyone can attend but you must be at least 21 to drink. The movie and music are free, but if you’d like to reserve a seat or table on the lawn for $10 per seat call Hector Ferran at 941-580-8085.
- Live music at , 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., starting at 9 p.m. Friday: Mark Hummel's Harp Blow-Out with Fingers Taylor and Johnny Sansone. This series was started in 1991 and has toured to such festivals as Nottonden Blues Fest in Norway, San Francisco Blues Fest, Chicago Blues Fest, Ultimate Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Pocanos Blues Fest, Mississippi Valley Blues Fest., American Music Fest, BB King's Heritage Blues Fest in New York City, El Dorado Blues and Brews in Reno, North Atlantic Blues Fest and more. Tickets are $15 at the door and $20 in advance. Click here to order.
- Local band Big Daddy is performing at , 108 44th Ave. E., on Saturday from 10 p.m. until close. Get there early for two-for-one wells, wine, and domestic drafts from 2-7 p.m. Cover: $5.