In a place like Los Angeles, most Irish bars try especially hard to capture the essence of a real pub in Ireland. There are the dark wood accents, the Guinness on tap and the thick-accented Irish bartenders (or at least struggling actors pretending to be Irish). It’s a bit like the theme restaurants at Disneyland; while they’ve manage to capture the look and feel it lacks the  spirit of a true Irish watering hole.

There’s probably no Irish drinking establishment more authentic as the auld country pub in Ireland, and I’m lucky enough to have found one where I’m becoming a semi-regular [cue the theme song from “Cheers”]. The place is Mathews, which is bewilderingly pronounced “Mat-te-tis” and it’s an old pub in the middle of tiny Collon village, about a 15-minute drive from my place. On any given Friday or Saturday night, I know that my friends Bushman and Richella will be behind the bar, and that at least a few people I know will be wearing holes into the old barstools. On the weekends there will be some choice covers (think Garth Brooks and Air Supply) performed by a well-meaning and painfully earnest musician and by the end of a long night there might be a drunkard or two being thrown out on his ass by James, the barman you just don’t f*ck with.