After attending Saturday’s Old Neighborhood Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, a few of us headed over to McCarthy’s Irish Pub. McCarthy’s is located in the First Ward, situated along a series of railroad tracks and within eyesight of the Buffalo River. Not far away are a couple of other interesting establishments where we also find ourselves hanging out in from time to time – namely the Swannie House and the Buffalo Bar and Grille (and up until recently McBride’s). It’s an eclectic neighborhood for sure, but I pride myself on being familiar with these old world neighborhood haunts. That’s why, when someone suggested that we head on over to Cooks Bar and Grill just around the corner, I had to look at the person sideways. “What’s Cooks?”, I asked.
Apparently people have been keeping another First Ward tradition from me. And only by my attending the Old Neighborhood Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was this little secret establishment let known to me. I was shocked to discover that the pub had been hiding out just under my nose this entire time… but there it stood… on the corner of Katherine and Republic streets in all of its understated glory. What a trip. I had to laugh at how the place had somehow eluded me for so long. When we stepped inside we found ourselves immediately immersed in a full scale St. Patty’s Day celebration complete with an old world crowd, plenty of bar space, pub games and a juke box. We sauntered up to the bar and ordered a round of Labatt Blues before retiring into a corner to discuss our good luck. I couldn’t help but continue to wonder how I had never heard of Cooks. Alas we toasted to the neighborhood establishment and all of the good people that we found partaking in another First Ward gem.