What do you think when I say “bar food”? Maybe hits more like an insult than a compliment, doesn’t it? Thing is, growing ranks of places specializing in libations also underpin them with a killer kitchen. Keegan’s Public House definitely falls into this latter camp, and it contributes nicely to Huntsville’s skyrocketing downtown cool factor.
Keegan’s is on the west side of the square, but (Pro-Tip!) you need to take a step or two along the north side of the building for the door. There is a goodly amount of seating inside, both around the ample bar and at tables. There is also an appealing outdoor patio, which frequently features live music. We checked it out for Saturday lunch recently.
The brunch menu is available on Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 3, so that’s where we ordered from. It includes several traditional Irish favorites, as well as Irish twists on standard American cuisine.
The Keegan’s Menu
The menu offerings are extensive. We started with the smothered tots, which include a marvelously robust Harp lager cheese, tomatoes, and jalapeños. These didn’t last long. We also had to order the Irish spring rolls, which were consistently recommended to me whenever I mentioned I was going to Keegan’s. These are fried Reuben sandwich rolls, served with Thousand Island dressing. (I could see these making a fine lunch all by themselves.)
One of our party’s brunchers was complimentary of her Grand Marnier French toast, which includes the namesake luxury liqueur in the batter and is accompanied by several robust rashers of bacon. Another went with the Irish Boxty’s — traditional potato pancakes served with fried apples and sour cream. This is a fabulous fusion indeed, with a come-hither mild sweetness about it. All brunch selections include fresh fruit on the side.
The guys all went with sandwiches. I stayed firmly in Irish territory with a Reuben, which came on marbled rye bread and a side of house-made slaw. One son went with the Bookmaker — a deluxe roast beef sandwich with caramelized onions, provolone, and au jus. The other selected a salmon BLT, which is exactly what it sounds like. Score more fabulous fusion points here. All of us made happy plates, with the sweet potato fries gathering plaudits of their own too.
We’ve left ourselves a good bit to try. There are omelets and salads to explore next time for brunch/lunch. If you arrive for dinner, there are additional selections available, including house favorites like meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, mulligan stew, and several burger selections. There are also meal-appropriate drink selections available, including custom-crafted Bloody Marys and mimosas for brunch, and proper Irish whisky-based cocktails for dinner.
Prepare to Wait a Bit
While our hostess and servers were consistently polite, our party of five experienced significant delays that appeared to be associated with an influx of patrons immediately following us. We chalked this up to growing pains and are confident Keegan’s will improve on this count.
Keegan’s for Kids
The $6 children’s menu includes choices of grilled cheese, chicken fingers, hamburger, mac and cheese, or penne pasta. Soft drink and cookie are included, as well as choice of fries, veggies, or cole slaw. Highchairs and booster seats are available. Restrooms are clean and well-sorted, but do not include changing tables.
At a reliable $9-15 per entrée, Keegan’s delivers a good bit of gustatory impact and atmosphere for the money, and successfully delivers a family-friendly atmosphere as well. This is a recommended downtown Huntsville destination.
Keegan’s Public House
Address: 200 West Side Square, Suite 60, Huntsville
Phone: (256) 533-4267
Monday-Thursday 11AM-11PM (kitchen closes at 10)
Friday-Saturday 11AM-Midnight (kitchen closes at 11)
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