BEST IRISH PUB - 2004
Tom Scanlon has operated a bar at the corner of University and Cretin Avenues for 20 years. For most of that period it was called the Ace Box Bar and it catered to overnight factory workers and truckers. Then one day in the mid-'90s the main employer in the immediate neighborhood packed up and moved to Eagan. "The day after they moved out there was nobody in the bar, so we became an Irish bar," laughs Scanlon, who is a native of County Kelly. Whether catering to truckers or Celts, it has long been one of the finest drinking rooms in town. Everything about the Dubliner radiates comfort. The large windows at the front of the room let in a generous dose of late afternoon sunshine, highlighting the warm wood floors. The bartenders have all been around forever. A slow-poured, 19-ounce "imperial pint" of Guinness (as opposed to the 12 ounces of foam that you get at many places) costs $4.50. Harp, Bass, and the latest Irish import, Smithwick's, are also available. And whether you're a native of Dublin or Eagan, that's hard to quibble with.