A little gem in a country location. That’s Flanagan’s Gastro Pub in Brickens, five kilometres from Claremorris town in Co. Mayo. ‘We’re your typical rural Irish pub, on a crossroads with a community centre and the church’, says Luke Flanagan, who owns and runs the pub with his wife Caroline. Luke is the fifth generation of the family to run this establishment, originally Flanagan’s shop, opened in the mid 1800’s by Luke’s Great Great Grandfather. ‘My father made it into a pub in 1965.’, says Luke. And so it remained for many years, a little country hostelry, providing an important place of gathering for social interaction for the local community. Luke took over in 1994, continuing to offer the same friendly family service that had gone before. But it became clear as recession bit and stringent drink driving laws reduced custom for many rural inns, that something had to be done to keep the pub in business. ‘We introduced our food offering in 2010. We’ve had great response. It’s really taken off. We haven’t looked back.’ Luke explains.
The change to modern gastro pub took major renovation, including building a state of the art kitchen, attractive beer garden and modern heated smoking area. A menu of traditional Irish with a modern twist was introduced, and business started to grow. Flanagan’s is now award winning and commitment to local produce brings it into the Good Food Ireland family. Luke is Head Chef and Caroline works front of house, making sure customers are welcomed warmly and well looked after. The personal touch here is everything. In all the modernisation, none of the old fashioned qualities of the former traditional pub have been lost. Cornerstones of homely atmosphere, a great pint, and lively conversation still thrive. Friends still meet and gather here – now enjoying the added bonus of delicious food with carefully sourced wines or maybe even a cocktail.
The A la Carte offers quality at great value for money. Homemade soup of the day and Fish Chowder comes with house bread made with Clew Bay Sunset Ale from the West Mayo Brewery. An eclectic mix of mains utilise local beef, lamb, chicken and fresh fish. Luke is especially proud of the new Tapas menu which marries the Spanish culture of sharing small dishes with the use of fresh Irish ingredients. ‘We wanted to try something new to keep things fresh,’, he says. ‘Our tapas have been very well received.’ No wonder, when you see the prices for these tasty little dishes and the glowing list of presitigious local suppliers who provide the ingredients. Kids are welcomed here and have their own menu of favourites.
Wines are served by bottle, carafe, glass and ‘driver’s glass’ – a smaller measure than a usual glass. A nice mix from Old and New World to complement the casual dining. Craft beer lovers will adore the Irish selection which includes West Mayo Brewery, 8 Degrees Brewing and the brand new Black Donkey Brewing in Rosscommon.
Flanagan’s has a large car park to the side of the pub, and provides customers with free WIFI. Special group bookings for, parties, christenings and communions are also welcome. Here is a family friendly pub which upholds all the traditions of the typical Irish pub, but has moved very successfully with the times.