Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bellevue Reporter: Irish expatriate creates old-country feel with new Bellevue pub

Owner Pat Coyne has created Paddy Coyne's Pub to be what is called a 'local' in Ireland – a neighborhood bar.

Shortly after Pat Coyne opened The Irish Emigrant in 1999, he realized the pub, located in Seattle’s University District, wasn’t what he set out to create.

“I always wanted a cozy, authentic, comfortable Irish pub, but I ended up with more of a college bar,” said Coyne, who moved from Galway Harbor, Ireland, to Boston in 1984 and on to Seattle in 1992. “When I opened Paddy Coyne’s, it went back to small and comfortable.”

His first namesake bar opened in South Lake Union in July 2004, and was followed by a Tacoma location in January 2007.

Bellevue now is host to the third Paddy Coyne’s Pub.

Accented by dark wood and stone, the interior (also decorated by genuine Irish expatriates) creates an ambience that conveys exactly that. And, with performances by traditional Irish flutist Leo MacNamara every Wednesday night, the experience offered is undeniably authentic.

“Paddy Coyne’s concept is built around what the Irish call a ‘local,’ your neighborhood bar that’s walking distance from your home — or as the Irish would say, stumbling distance,” said Jenny Corry, the pub’s general manager and co-owner. “Being such a metropolitan area, you wouldn’t think that’s what we’d create in Bellevue, but we have. It feels like a community, and we know most of our patrons.”

And while its Lincoln Square Location means several other restaurants and bars surround the pub, Coyne and his staff see them more as allies than competitors.

“There really isn’t anything like us nearby,” said Corry. “We have great neighbors, and we don’t really feel like we’re competing because what we offer is so different."

In addition to having a neighborhood feel, Coyne made it clear that the food would have to match the authenticity of the Irish beers and whiskeys — and even went so far as to incorporate his own family recipes.

Everything is made by hand, and stays as authentic as possible. But there’s a mix of traditional and modern gastropub – shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash grace the menu alongside burgers and potato skins. For breakfast, options range from an authentic Irish meal that includes bangers, rashers, broiled tomato and soda bread to more American meals like a breakfast burrito.

“We try to keep it as Irish as possible,” said Coyne. “I look at my pubs as my living room, so I want everyone who comes in not just to experience good food and drinks but also to feel at home.”