On a chilly Saturday afternoon between the Sugar Bowl and Twelfth Night, long-time Kerry Irish Pub (331 Decatur St., 504-527-5954; www.kerryirishpub.com) bartender Steve Langr cites one hallmark of the 20-year-old watering hole: a proper Guinness.
Langr explains a perfect Guinness in terms of its temperature, pour and pump. Kerry Irish Pub's pumps use nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide, which is more common in the U.S. He's interrupted by a regular at the bar, who says the key to a proper Guinness is simple: "Have Steve pour you one."
Kerry Irish Pub doesn't carry Guinness in the can, but the bar does offer canned Murphy's, an Irish stout. Beers on tap include offerings from Abita and Nola Brewing, as well as Colorado's Fat Tire, Miller Lite and Smithwick's, an Irish ale. There's also a selection of top-shelf Irish whiskeys. Langr praises Tullamore Dew and a 16-year-old Bushmills single-malt.
"I don't know what the reason is, but I sell 100 Jameson's [Irish whiskey] for every one of all other Irish whiskeys combined," Langr says.
In the rear of the pub, a small stage has hosted local and international singer-songwriters, who typically perform Celtic, bluegrass, country and folk music. There's live music nightly and sets at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There's never a cover charge.
Under an oversized Irish flag draped from a low ceiling, Langr explains the history behind dozens of black-and-white photographs of past performers. These include local favorites such as Theresa Andersson and globally renowned musicians like Dave Sharp, a member of the 1980s British band The Alarm. "They did one of those things on VH1 not too long ago, 'Bands Reunited' or whatever, and they found Sharp, drinking in some pub," Langr says.
While the faces at the bar and on the wall shift with time, Langr says the pub's consistency is part of its charm. "One of the things people like about coming in here is that they'll see the same things they saw when they walked in 20 years ago," Langr says.