Where to?: With all the tricked-out SUVs and trust-fund frat boys, Buckhead isn't exactly Dublin, but nevertheless Fado (pronounced f'doh) is located smack dab in the heart of Buckhead. However, the establishment puts forth a valiant effort in making you feel like you're in Ireland, or at least not in Buckhead.
The Scene: Upon entering the pub, the magical transport to merry Ireland begins. Dark wood and sepia tones dominate the four-sided bar area. The establishment is divided into quadrants, each with its own distinct character. The northwest corner, which often features musicians, feels like an old, rustic library. The southwest quadrant brandishes a fireplace and three cozy tables. The back half of the bar has some Roman influences -- ornate columns, cobblestone floors, and serpentine iron sculptures/buttresses. For privacy-seekers, there are plenty of nooks and crannies, which is very Irish according to my Irish girlfriend. Guinness signs and soccer jerseys adorn the walls. All that's missing is a nice turf fire and sawdust on the floors.
Victuals: Fado's menu features an assortment of Irish/American-fusion cuisine, as well as more traditional Irish pub grub. The chicken boxty (seasoned, stuffed potato pancake cooked on a griddle) quesadilla puts a North American spin on the traditional boxty by incorporating chicken and pico de gallo into the recipe. Shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, black pudding, and fish and chips cater to the palates of traditionalists. Fans of seafood might want to try the Galway Bay mussels, Blasket Island salmon, or the Atlantic Seafood boxty.
Wallet impact: Bottled domestic beers go for $3.50. The draft selection is small but selective; 20-ounce pints of Bass, Harp, Lowenbrau, Boddington's, Killian's, Strongbow, Newcastle, and the house specialty Guinness go for $5.25. Nobody in Atlanta pours a better pint of Guinness (except maybe the Brewhouse). Premium mixed drinks start at $5. Burgers, sandwiches, salads and appetizers range from $5-$9. Entrees are mostly $10 and up.
Clientele: The regulars include businessmen, Irish transplants, the cosmopolitan tube-top contingent, frat boys (it is Buckhead), and regular old drinkers like you and I. While most of Fado's patrons stick with Guinness and Harp, some cosmopolitan ladies can be seen drinking colorful flavored martinis. Although the pub is situated amidst a plethora of gaudy, upscale clubs and bars, you'll be hard-pressed to see any bling-bling on the premises.
Who needs games?: You won't find any pinball machines or foosball tables here. However, there is live music four nights a week (Monday and Thursday-Saturday). In keeping with the rest of the pub's attributes, the music is traditional Irish, complete with tin whistle, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bodhran (pronounced bow-rawn), which is a Celtic frame drum. The music lends a casual, jovial air to an already comforting place. Say what you will about Buckhead, but Fado is a diamond in the rough.
-- Thomas Chung
Fado Irish Pub and Restaurant. Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m.; Sun. 10:30 a.m.-12 a.m. 3035 Peachtree Road. 404-841-0011. www.fadoirishpub.com.
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