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Long Story, an Irish Pub with quirks

Traditional meets contemporary, at the bar and on the plate

Irish egg rolls, filled with corned beef and cabbage
Irish egg rolls, filled with corned beef and cabbage

Part of the allure of the Irish pub is that they’re pretty much the same all over the world. Go to pubs in Paris, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and you’ll find the experience replicated over and over: a dimly-lit space furnished with dark, polished wood, and loads of Guinness paraphernalia. There’s even a Dublin-based architecture firm that has spent decades building them this way in dozens of locales, including such unexpected places as India, Latvia, and Oman.

Place

Long Story Irish Pub

4204 Voltaire Street, San Diego

Then we get to Point Loma. Earlier this year, the Long Story Irish Pub opened in the Voltaire Street property that was previously home to gastropubs The Royale and Sessions Public. Long Story’s storefront renovation gave the shop a traditional, Victorian-style veneer, complete with an “Est. 2020” declaration that may only seem more surprising the older it gets. However, step inside, and it offers a much more contemporary pub experience.

An Irish pub in Point Loma, established 2020.

First, it’s much brighter than most Irish pubs, and feels much cleaner, with a laminate bartop and teal subway tiles backing shelves of liquor bottles ranging from whisky to Fortaleza tequila. And though the beer menu pivots around a large Guinness handle, most of its taps pour either San Diego-brewed craft beer, or lighter macro offerings. The walls are decorated mainly with photographs of the owners and their friends, though closer to the back, pictures feature a growing pack of pub regulars. You’ll find a shelf of reference materials that should come in handy to settle any trivial bar bet, including a full set of encyclopedias.

A not so dim bar, with plenty of craft beer and non-Irish spirits

Wherever you stand on traditionalism in your pub settings, this one’s an easy space to like, and if it feels too spic and span to be comfortable, that’s where the friendly service helps. The true charm of Irish pubs around the world is the friendly bartender, and we found one here.

That said, my favorite departures from form at Long Story can be found on its menu. Though the place duly features Irish mainstays, including a hearty beef and potato stew ($8/13), bangers & mash ($17), and crispy cod fish & chips ($16), it gets playful with the Irish culinary canon.

Crispy cod fish & chips, served with malt vinegar

Which is how you wind up with something like corned beef and cabbage egg rolls ($13). Deep fried in wheat wrappers, the egg rolls are packed thick with sliced corned beef and still crisp shredded cabbage, served with a mustard dipping sauce. One of the founders of Long Story reportedly opened several Irish Pubs in the Sacramento area prior to moving here, and the menu item seems to have traveled with him.

Shepherd's Pasta, just like shepherd's pie, but with seashell pasta instead of mashed potatoes

Another one took me more by surprise: shepherd’s pasta ($15). Of course, the pub offers a shepherd’s pie ($16), made with a savory stew of ground beef, lamb, and pork, with diced celery, carrots and onions, topped by gravy and a layer of mashed potatoes. It’s traditional enough, but beside it on the menu read the words: “Shepherd’s Pasta (Trust Me).”

Let’s call it a trust well placed. The dish essentially replaces the mashed potatoes with seashell pasta, and bakes everything under a layer of three cheeses. I shouldn’t be surprised how well it works — add a little tomato sauce and oregano, and it gets darn close to being a Bolognese.

I get the feeling, going to a lot of Irish pubs, that half the point is to help English-speaking tourists feel at home, wherever they are. Long Story feels more about making Point Lomans feel at home. In that regard, I don’t know how pasta or egg rolls help, but they sure don’t hurt.

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Irish egg rolls, filled with corned beef and cabbage
Irish egg rolls, filled with corned beef and cabbage

Part of the allure of the Irish pub is that they’re pretty much the same all over the world. Go to pubs in Paris, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and you’ll find the experience replicated over and over: a dimly-lit space furnished with dark, polished wood, and loads of Guinness paraphernalia. There’s even a Dublin-based architecture firm that has spent decades building them this way in dozens of locales, including such unexpected places as India, Latvia, and Oman.

Place

Long Story Irish Pub

4204 Voltaire Street, San Diego

Then we get to Point Loma. Earlier this year, the Long Story Irish Pub opened in the Voltaire Street property that was previously home to gastropubs The Royale and Sessions Public. Long Story’s storefront renovation gave the shop a traditional, Victorian-style veneer, complete with an “Est. 2020” declaration that may only seem more surprising the older it gets. However, step inside, and it offers a much more contemporary pub experience.

An Irish pub in Point Loma, established 2020.

First, it’s much brighter than most Irish pubs, and feels much cleaner, with a laminate bartop and teal subway tiles backing shelves of liquor bottles ranging from whisky to Fortaleza tequila. And though the beer menu pivots around a large Guinness handle, most of its taps pour either San Diego-brewed craft beer, or lighter macro offerings. The walls are decorated mainly with photographs of the owners and their friends, though closer to the back, pictures feature a growing pack of pub regulars. You’ll find a shelf of reference materials that should come in handy to settle any trivial bar bet, including a full set of encyclopedias.

A not so dim bar, with plenty of craft beer and non-Irish spirits

Wherever you stand on traditionalism in your pub settings, this one’s an easy space to like, and if it feels too spic and span to be comfortable, that’s where the friendly service helps. The true charm of Irish pubs around the world is the friendly bartender, and we found one here.

That said, my favorite departures from form at Long Story can be found on its menu. Though the place duly features Irish mainstays, including a hearty beef and potato stew ($8/13), bangers & mash ($17), and crispy cod fish & chips ($16), it gets playful with the Irish culinary canon.

Crispy cod fish & chips, served with malt vinegar

Which is how you wind up with something like corned beef and cabbage egg rolls ($13). Deep fried in wheat wrappers, the egg rolls are packed thick with sliced corned beef and still crisp shredded cabbage, served with a mustard dipping sauce. One of the founders of Long Story reportedly opened several Irish Pubs in the Sacramento area prior to moving here, and the menu item seems to have traveled with him.

Shepherd's Pasta, just like shepherd's pie, but with seashell pasta instead of mashed potatoes

Another one took me more by surprise: shepherd’s pasta ($15). Of course, the pub offers a shepherd’s pie ($16), made with a savory stew of ground beef, lamb, and pork, with diced celery, carrots and onions, topped by gravy and a layer of mashed potatoes. It’s traditional enough, but beside it on the menu read the words: “Shepherd’s Pasta (Trust Me).”

Let’s call it a trust well placed. The dish essentially replaces the mashed potatoes with seashell pasta, and bakes everything under a layer of three cheeses. I shouldn’t be surprised how well it works — add a little tomato sauce and oregano, and it gets darn close to being a Bolognese.

I get the feeling, going to a lot of Irish pubs, that half the point is to help English-speaking tourists feel at home, wherever they are. Long Story feels more about making Point Lomans feel at home. In that regard, I don’t know how pasta or egg rolls help, but they sure don’t hurt.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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