Take a shot
Through the magic of technology, I’m writing about an Irish/Polish bar while 30,000 feet over the Pacific flying home from Hawaii. At this time yesterday, my family and I were pretty shaken by our morning interruption—an errant warning of a ballistic missile. We took shelter in the hotel restaurant, taking direction from the guy in charge to hide behind a wall to avoid the blast and look away from the ocean lest the flash blind us. The experience was scary and surreal. Needless to say, my wife and I may have had a few cocktails by the pool that night. OK, if we’re being honest, the fear of imminent destruction wasn’t required to enjoy adult beverages most evenings.
Themed bars in the tropics tend to be just that—tropical. While you may find an occasional sports bar, I didn’t see any of that staple of international travel, the Irish pub. I’ve found the Irish pub theme to be a welcome port in the storm abroad, craving something familiar—beer and the Celtic blueprint, a common experience for expats and tourists to share. There may or may not be any actual Irish blood at the helm.
Even when home, the stereotypical, welcoming Irish atmosphere holds appeal, regardless of how genuine it may be. One fairly typical example—with a twist—is O’Skis Pub & Grille in Sparks. Along a familiar stretch of Victorian Avenue, it joins a few other nearby bars to almost make for a little drinking district.
The twist is the Polish aspect, a nod to the owners’ heritage, thus the name—the common “O” starting Irish surnames and the common “ski” ending Polish ones. This makes for a few good gags, but, aside from that, the place is mostly still Irish in decor, food and drink. Beneath it, though, it’s a local bar like many others—lots of TVs showing everything from UFC to truck racing to ice skating when we visited on a Sunday afternoon. The Sunday bottomless mimosa special doesn’t scream leprechaun to me any more than the several specialty Bloody Mary choices that my wife wished she had seen before ordering a beer.
It’s an appealing place by most measures. The food menu, like many others, made me wish I was hungry when we visited. Fifteen taps—all good, craft options—offer something for virtually every beer drinker, some of them pouring from handsome brass towers at the bar. A comparable wine list is available. One nice offer you won’t see everywhere is tasters of any three draft beers for $3, if you want to sample a few without committing to a pint. Bud and Coors options were also available in packaged form. There is a fairly good selection of whiskies, slightly above the average bar but striking me as a little light for an Irish bar, where extensive whiskey is expected.
Pool and darts are available, but one particular novelty caught my eye—a “shot-ski.” It looked like green plastic shot glasses mounted on the bar itself, but they were actually nestled in small cradles attached to a ski for serving, like a long, skinny serving tray. Shot-skis of various denominations are available and are popular with the college crowd, according to our bartender.
O’Skis is an agreeable spot for a drink or a meal. You’ll never walk in and think you’re in Dublin or Warsaw, but if you’re just looking for some adult beverages after a ballistic missile scare, it would do nicely.