Single Gal and a Good Ole Irish Pub

Saturday night I was reminded of one of the great things about San Jose, a good ole Irish pub with the catchphrase slogan of “You’re But a Stranger Here Once,” O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in San Pedro Square.  It is what I call my favorite “local” bar. It is great for many reasons, including the comfy environment, friendly bartenders and authentic feel, but mainly because it stands in direct contrast to the places that have gone terribly wrong in downtown San Jose. 

First, it opened as an Irish pub and remains an Irish pub, providing a welcoming place to have a drink with a friend, a co-worker or even your parents.  The crowd is nice, fun and respectable.  It began as a place where you could listen to live Irish music, get a bowl of Irish stew and have a Guinness on tap, and it never changed.  We didn’t see them suddenly—in an effort to make a quick buck—start offering “Two Dollar Tuesdays” with jello shots and margaritas, or sticking DJ AM in the back of the bar playing hip hop and techno, all while charging a $10 cover.  They stayed true to what they were without what I call “selling out,” even through a time where the NHL lockout hurt them with fewer customers. 

But can we say the same for many of the downtown establishments?  Most open under the guise of high-class dining and quickly transform themselves into something less desirable, such as Cuccina on San Pedro that opened as a restaurant with Middle Eastern cuisine, but ended up being just another nightclub.  It’s not what we need in San Jose—more places that cater to the clientele that cause problems and perpetuate the reputation of downtown San Jose as an undesirable place to go out at night. 

If you haven’t been to O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, make a visit, as it will restore your faith in everything that is good downtown. 


  1. I could not agree more, Single Gal.  San Jose nightlifers have varying interests and tastes, and I respect the fact that Downtown vendors must cater to that.  However, there is nothing more disappointing than seeing a favorite venue devolve into something completely different.  The now defunct Fanny & Alexander’s was one such place.  What started out as a solid place for a nice dinner or a pre- or post-event cocktail morphed into gangland and hip-hop central.  Sadly (or good riddance) F&A’s spiraled furiously and eventually closed its doors.  Cheers to venues like O’Flaherty’s for staying the course—especially during the hard times of the NHL lockout—and best of luck moving forward.  I STRONGLY encourage Sharks fans, concert-goers and anyone interested in a tasty pint and some good company to support O’Flaherty’s.

  2. Friendly bartenders are a joy indeed. When I lived in Sunnyvale I was dissuaded from visiting Scruffy Murphy’s and Fibbar Magee’s on Murphy avenue because the tenders were indiffernet and aloof. That was over a year ago, so maybe the ship has been righted. In some cases brusque-ness is part of the warp and woof, and is not a discouragement. And I am thinking of the waiters at Original Joe’s.

  3. The flying pig was just such a place on First Street prior to losing their lease. If we are to have an organic (read “interesting”) downtown, it takes a partnership between businesses and their landlords to reach mutually beneficial agreements. The lose of the Pig was just such an example where it has hurt the area more than the short term financial gain of the Landlord.

  4. Single Gal & String:  Is it more than a coincidence that Cuccina, which Single Gal reviles, and Fanny & Alexanders, which String reviles, occupied the same space, with Cuccina trying to succeed where F&A couldn’t?  It’s a poor space, since it is visible from neither San Pedro Street nor the back side, Notre Dame St.

    It would be ideal if we could all get along and have a downtown where various music venues could cater to various patrons without a problem.  But the gansta side keeps screwing it up for the rest of us.  And under the misguided use of the term “diversity”, government people and limousine liberals keep putting up with this sh*t.  The owner is an opprtunist who uses the system to allow him to profit from a group of patrons that most of us would never invite into our homes…and for good reason

    Rick Callender gets all huffy that black people were stopped outside The Bee Hive, nee Ambasador, where a bunch of brothers squeezed off fifty rounds in the parkin’ lot.  Well, Rick, by everyone’s count 90% of the patrons of that venue were black.  So, do you only stop the 10% who aren’t?  Or do you let veteran cops use their professional instincts and harass those that need harrassin’?  Will there be an unfortunate mistake?  Of course.  None of us are perfect, and we all try to minimize those mistakes.  But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…well, you get it…I hope.

    Encouraging the diversity that makes every place more interesting to live in does not mean puttin’ up with gangsta sh*t from people of whatever race, creed, national origin, or sexual orientation.

    A big score in that direction was the decision to can Marcus Vick from the football program.  That followed T.O’s demise.  We all need to stop excusing their kind of behavior, even though it may cost victories or money.

    The Bloods and the Crips have taken over the use of professional sports uniforms/colors to define themselves.  Oh great, gangstas relate to pro sports teams.  Wonder why?  The NBA is heavily populated with players who would be in prison or dealing drugs or pimping if they couldn’t shoot a basketball.  And these are supposed to be role models for our kids?!  Well, wake up parents, they are role models for a whole bunch of kids, and that ain’t right.  How many Ronnie Lotts and Jerry Rices does it take to neutralize the Bill Romanowskis, Alan Iversons, Marcus Vicks, and Jason Kidds of this world?

    And that segues easily into our political scandals, from Abramoff at the highest level to Gonzales/Guerra at the local level.  Kids grow up with lots of poor role models who seem to get more publicity than the lots of positive role models out there.  Why?  because it sells air time and newspapers.

    Everyone says they have rights, but how few accept responsibilities?

    We are in the fall of the roman empire if we don’t reverse the trend of accepting unacceptable behavior in the false name of diversity.

  5. I loved the Pig!  Spent many nights there and wondered what happened to it.  I agree that the City needs to get a clue about what places they need to help.  Because it seems those places playing by the rules are the ones that end up hurting in downtown San Jose.

  6. Downtown has many hidden treasures.  Unfortunately City leaders often overlook what is already here, what is homegrown, and what is a true asset to the downtown neighborhood community.  For another neighborhood-friendly pub check out Trials Pub on North First and Julian.  The place is intimate and a great place to simply relax with friends.

  7. JMO –

    I admire you because in this age of political correctness that is exactly the kind of thing we don’t hear anymore, for fear of “offending someone”.

    I just hate that some bad apples ruin what good apples are trying to do downtown.

  8. Wow! I’ve never read so many people desperate to live in Mayberry as everyone in this blog. Get a sense of where you really are people: a major metropolitan hub; of course there are going to be places and people you don’t appreciate just as much as those people don’t appreciate you! And J.M.O., are you really pointing the finger at T. Owens as the downfall of western civilization? So, in your most humble opinion, it has nothing to do with corporate greed, failing educational systems or stifling unions? If you really want to point a specific finger, how about the Enron guys that stole millions from stockholders, or the Catholic Church who have damaged countless children by shuffling around sexual predators a.k.a. priests … but you look to Jason Kidd???? Those athletes are blowhards, I agree, but stating they are the hinge that society swings upon??? All I have to say to you and all others who long for a mile of Irish pubs and a downtown free of any diversity YOU don’t like: get thee to Mayberry; Aunt Bee is waiting for you.

    After reading this Blog, suggested by a good friend of mine and yours Single Gal, I appreciate the opinions presented and I thank god they are only opinions.

  9. Mr. Cazares (#10),

    Nice post, though I disagree with much you say. A few examples:

    “places and people you don’t appreciate”—JMO’s rant was not against differing tastes, it targeted the gangster subculture and the misguided liberals who see criminality and barbarism as part of diversity’s natural spectrum. Let’s be honest here: discriminating against troublemakers is something done by good people everywhere, including the good Hispanic folks in the “barrio” and the good Black people in the “ghetto.” This is something you certainly know, yet, let a white person (making an assumption about JMO) state the obvious about a problem involving non-whites, and you (and many others) reflexively spin it into elitism, racism, or class warfare. BS. The downtown club issue is about conduct, not color.

    “the downfall of western civilization”—Without defending Enron or predatory Catholic priests, do you really believe their disgraceful conduct has corrupted our youth, or is in any way behind the popularity of gangsta dress, slang, and behavior?  Think many high schoolers know why Ken Lay is infamous? Think many don’t know why Notorious Big was notorious? Those fifty shots fired at the Beehive/Ambassador did not come from disciples of Enron or the Vatican. Do you deny the powerful influence entertainment and sports stars have on young people? If you do, then you must think product endorsement in general is stupid. Tell that to the stupid marketing execs at Wheaties and Nike and Toyota. They’ve grown rich peddling images—especially to the dull-witted and vulnerable.

    “you and all others who long for a mile of Irish pubs and a downtown free of any diversity”—Nice straw man you constructed there; convenient to your argument and easy to disparage. Problem is, your straw man is a stranger to this site, and this city. The intent is to erase lawlessness, not diversity. By the way, San Jose has never been Mayberry (or do you think that a hundred years ago the lily white, Protestant residents of Mayberry would have allowed the son of Italian immigrants to start a bank in this city?).

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