Originally created 09/16/99

Bottoms up



The stout will flow and the lads will sing on Riverwalk Augusta this weekend.

As the featured group for this year's Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival, the Irish American Heritage Society will build an Irish pub.

Each year, the festival features the native food, drink and culture of one of Augusta's ethnic groups. Although the festival has featured the Irish society before, this will be the first time the group has opened a pub, said Worth Andrews, the pub's organizer.

"Being Irish, Guinness is a big part of the culture," Mr. Andrews said. "We lobbied hard for it."

Indeed, walk into a Dublin pub and Guinness -- a dense, strong beer brewed in the Irish Republic's capital -- is likely to be the only drink you'll find on the bar.

Pubs, located upon seemingly every corner in most Irish cities, spread worldwide with Irish emigrants. They now are found in cities as diverse as Rome; Paris; Tokyo; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Austin, Texas. (Augusta's King George Pub on Riverwalk is in the English style.)

In Ireland, pubs serve as neighborhood hangouts, and customers often are fiercely loyal to a particular watering hole.

"It's a very laid-back, casual atmosphere," said Eric Peterson, manager of Fado Irish Pub in Atlanta. "It's all about meeting friends, conversation, good times.

"In an American bar, you won't hear people singing. In a pub, the lads often will break out into song in the middle of the night."

Augusta's "pub" actually will be two 20-by-20 feet tents placed side-by-side, but society members built a facade to give it an authentic feel. The facade imitates the architecture of pubs that members frequented during visits to the isle of their ancestors, Mr. Andrews said.

"We looked through several travel books and picked the brains of a number of people in our group who have been to Ireland," he said. "It's something that's going to really stand out."

Besides Guinness, "O'Gusta's Irish Pub" also will serve another Irish beer, Harp, and Killian's Red, which Mr. Andrews dubbed a "pseudo-Irish beer."

Near the pub, booths will serve fish and chips, cakes baked with Irish whiskey, cottage pie -- a chicken-and-vegetable stew baked in a deep-dish crust and often served with mashed potatoes -- and other Irish fare.

Irish music will be piped into the pub.

O'Gusta's will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Guinness and Harp will sell for $3; Killian's Red will be $2.50, Mr. Andrews said. Soft drinks will be $1.

Food from nearby booths will range from $1 for a hot dog to $3.50 for fish and chips or cottage pie.

Pub culture

O'Gusta's Irish pub, a temporary structure featuring suds, singing and live Irish music, will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival on Riverwalk Augusta. Beverage prices are:

Guinness and Harp: $3 each

Killian's Red: $2.50

Soft drinks: $1

Irish food and other ethnic cuisine will be available at nearby tents.

REACH Brandon Haddock at (706) 823-3409 or bhaddock@augustachronicle.com.