Drunk After Work: Auld Dubliner
The Place: Auld Dubliner, 2497 Park Ave., Tustin, CA 92781, (714) 259-1562; www.aulddubliner.com.
The Hours: Mon.-Sat., 3-7 p.m.
The Deal: $5 Guinness, 20-ounce pints. $3.50 draft, 16-ounce beer specials. $3 Coors Light & Miller Lite Bottles. $4 glass house wine, red or white. $5 specialty martinis and mojitos. Appetizers starting from $2.
The Sauce: One word: Guinness. You could order anything else, but the point here is to drink Guinness, poured thick and heady. For a while, the bar didn't even discount it during happy hour, but it's come to its senses. Other times, it's $7 per pint. Magner's Irish Cider is also available and crisp, should you want to deviate from the Guinness.
The Food: The food is much improved since it first opened, and the best way to eat it is during happy hour. Most things you want exist in the special appetizers menu. Corned-beef sliders ($2 each) are properly crisped and salty--better than expected, with cheese and under glossy buns.
The Buffalo-style hot wings are unexpectedly spicy, already at nuclear-strength hotness even when you ask for mild. They're 75 cents apiece and can be coated in a myriad of saucing options, including a very decent mole. Fish tacos ($1.50 each) come with a morsel of avocado to cool the palate from the potent salsa that's been spooned on. There are also more traditional Irish items in the way of banger wontons ($4), those star-shaped, bite-sized things usually stuffed with cream cheese at Chinese takeouts, but here filled with sausage meat and best eaten with a dab of HP sauce.
Skip the duck fat fries ($4), which don't taste anything like duck fat. Better to do the curry fries (called chips here); you can dip your potato spears in a house-made curry.
The Verdict: Relatively cheap Guinness, decently priced and improved food that's always available on Saturdays until 7.
The Grade: B.
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