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Tony and Una are a special musical brew, woven on the strands of Irish and northern hue. Tony plays guitar, as gritty as the northern skies he called home. Una brings the gentle heartfelt tones of Ireland. Add a touch of darkness to the mix and together they paint vivid musical pictures of life and loss.
Fifteen years ago, you couldn’t move for Irish-themed pubs in Bristol or, come to think of it, any other city. It was a short-lived novelty and many of the pubs have reverted back to their original state (or been transformed into another sort of theme bar), but Seamus O’Donnell’s was one of Bristol’s first and it has survived a decade- and-a-half of fads and fashions.
We continue to retain our Irish theme. A small, one-room bar with a red ceiling, dark wood tables and dark green stools, the walls are plastered with gold advertising mirrors and Irish street signs. Shelves are lined with old whiskey bottles, jugs, flagons, board games and even an old fiddle. Seamus O’Donnell’s is reassuringly and unashamedly old-fashioned, a place for people who appreciate and enjoy their drink and conversation, rather than go out purely to be seen or shout to be heard over loud music.
Needless to say, Guinness is our biggest sellers, and there are two pumps each for the original and “cold” varieties - even the Irish who visit tell us that it's taste is the closest anywhere to that of home. Apart from the black stuff, we stock a variety of Irish Whiskies and, for those with an even stronger constitution, Irish Moonshine 'Poteen' – the 70 percent ABV triple distilled spirit – which is so strong that it is limited to one shot per customer - you can't get this in any other bar in Bristol! Traditionally made from either potatoes or grain, the production of Poteen was outlawed in 1661, and remained illegal until the late 1990s.
A popular watering hole for office workers and St Nicholas Market shoppers at lunchtime and then a younger crowd in the evening, Seamus O’donnells is a refreshing reminder of what a pub should be, if you are new to the area or a regular visitor, you will always get céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes).
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