No passport necessary, folks. No need to convert the moula. Keep the bags unpacked, and climb on board because this column is dedicated to exotic cultures in your own backyard. I present to you, the third stop on our Around the World series, Molly Maguire’s Pub.

I’ve never been to Ireland, but from the looks of Molly Maguire’s Pub, they seem to go for authenticity. From the décor on the walls to the craftsmanship of the bar, if this is as close as I get to Ireland, then mission accomplished!

I’ve been to Molly Maguire’s on several occasions. In all the years I’ve stepped inside, this may have been the first time I arrived during lunchtime and not during an insane Friday night. This allowed for me to devote some extra level of attention to the environment without the distraction of a massive crowd of people. If you’ve ever found yourself at Molly’s on a weekend, you know I’m referring to their late night atmosphere. Maybe I’m being a little cliché, but every time I arrive late on the scene, I feel like St. Patty’s Day came early! Molly’s makes for a great party venue with live entertainment and plenty of Irish jigging.

It’s a nice change of pace to step into Molly Maguire’s and have a little more wiggle room around the Pub. Today, they have a nicely sized lunch crowd filling up tables here and there, but of course, nothing compares to those weekends. This afternoon, I’m able to hear the Irish folk music, which adds to the ambiance and of course, it’s all part of the cultural experience. Heck, even I made sure to wear green for my trip. My great grandmother would be proud, God bless her Irish soul!

When it comes down to food selections, Molly’s has an extensive menu that offers a  number of popular favorites (burgers, fries, pub fare), but if you’re a lover of a true Irish cuisine, a shot of Jameson Whiskey or a pint of Smithwick’s, then my Phoenixville traveler, Molly Maguire’s Pub is your home away from home! I had the opportunity to feast on some traditional Irish dishes, and what’s a trip to Ireland without a perfectly poured pint of Guinness? Try to say that ten times fast!

Molly Maguire’s General Manager, Neil Bonner, and our waitress, Angela, made sure me and my fellow passenger Shawn Rice, enjoyed a comfortable afternoon. They gave us a rundown of this afternoon’s menu items: three popular appetizers and three traditional favorites titled, the Trio.

The first round was a sampling of their most popular appetizers: Colcannon Potato Rolls, Reuben Spring Rolls, and the Scotch Egg, each paired with a dipping sauce (Chipotle Ranch, Thousand Island and Colman’s Mustard) to accommodate their distinct flavors. All three made for a great opening act for this Irish journey.

Menu items like Spring Rolls and fried Potato Balls are very popular these days amongst other restaurants. It’s always good when a restaurant like Molly’s incorporates their own little spin on a run of the mill menu item. For example, Irish dishes are usually notorious for potatoes and cabbage. The Colcannon Rolls pack Molly’s whipped potatoes, cabbage, cheese and bacon into one bite that is fried to perfection. Same applies to the Reuben Spring Rolls. I’m a huge lover of Reuben sandwiches, but these Reuben Spring Rolls pack those ingredients of Corned Beef, Sauerkraut and Swiss cheese into a perfect bite sized portion.

Scotch Eggs rounded out this dish. I was given fair warning by Angela and Neil that the Mustard sauce paired with these eggs is rather intense in the spice department. Wow, were they right. Shawn couldn’t handle it, but me, I’m adventurous on my travels! This Colman’s Mustard is reminiscent of a Wasabi or Horseradish, but also  has that creamy Mustard texture. I’m a huge fan of deviled eggs and the Scotch Egg takes it to a whole new stage being wrapped in ground pork and deep fried. Egg lovers, this is for you.

Round two called for a true Irish feast and what Molly Maguire’s deems the Trio. It’s perfect for those who can’t choose between the lists of Irish Traditions.  This course included Shepherd’s Pie, Braised Steak and Guinness Pie, and their very own Irish Stew. Slices of Irish Soda Bread make a great accompaniment to the meal.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved the Shepherd’s Pie and that Braised Steak and Guinness Pie was fantastic. When homemade mashed potatoes arrive to my table, count me in. Throw in some fresh vegetables, succulent beef and gravy blended with Guinness, well, the Irish blood in me died and went to Heaven. But the Irish Stew in the Trio, for me, was the true winner. The lamb, the oh so tender lamb, melted away in my mouth. I’d say, next time I’m at Molly Maguire’s to get my grub on, consider the Irish Stew at top of my list.

By this time, my fellow passenger and I were completely stuffed. After three bowls of gravy, beef and potatoes, I think it was time to call it quits. Before we threw in the towel, Angela checked our status and asked about dessert. When it comes to offering Bailey’s Cheesecake, well, who could say no? Not me, friend. I mean, just look at the picture! Cheesecake, drizzled in chocolate and surround with whipped cream!  No worries though. This is Bailey’s flavoring, not the famous Irish liqueur. This cake is booze free too. A treat for all ages that’s magically delicious.

So yes, Molly Maguire’s Pub was another perfect example of the diversity Phoenixville has to offer. Again, this is another spot on Bridge Street that truly captures cultural traditions and knocks it out of the park. I feel very privileged to sample from these diverse hot spots, but hey, maybe it’s the luck of the Irish. Cheers to Molly Maguire’s. Or more appropriately, Sláinte!

Until then, join me on my next destination as I see what other diverse flavors Phoenixville has in store! If you’ve followed my trips, you’ll know Phoenixville continues to surprise me. Enjoy!

Photographs credited to Kevin Dragone.