Maewyn's has replaced the Irish standby six months after it closed - just in time for St. Patrick's Day and not a moment too soon. York's downtown bar scene needs some variety.
My first visit to Maewyn's involved no food or company expense account, just Friday night libations.
Many of you will buy more booze than food at this establishment, so I should note it has a solid beer selection.
I saw the new Sam Adams brew, Noble Pils, on tap for the first time at Maewyn's, and I enjoyed every crisp, flavorful drop of it. The staff also knows how to pour an Irish stout correctly, as I learned with my pint of Murphy's.
We sat on the second floor, an underused spot by the former tenant. I liked Harp & Fiddle, but on crowded weekends, getting a drink was rough.
At Maewyn's, a breeze. The addition of the second floor and some tweaks to the downstairs layout has opened the place up, allowing customers and staff to move more freely.
The service exceeded expectations again when I visited for lunch last week. My server was attentive throughout, even dropping off my check early, "just in case you're on a lunch break." A simple but thoughtful gesture.
Shortly after placing my order, a staffer arrived with a warm dinner roll and a delightful dollop of creamy and sweet whipped butter. And they checked on me just enough for it not to be annoying.
I ordered The Corker, a curried chicken wrap with bacon and avocado. Let's just say it's easy to enjoy a meal with these flavors: the punch of the curry, the coolness of the avocado, the briny bacon.
You can see the efforts of employees and management everywhere you look. They are trying hard to make this restaurant work.
Maybe a little too hard, in some ways. Having said everything I like about Maewyn's, I have to be honest about some things irking me.
The Irish music blaring outside, the servers wearing kilts and nametags shaped like shamrocks - it's a little much. You're an Irish bar. We get it.
Several people have shared similar opinions with me. The criticism doesn't bother Ken Painter, director of food and beverage for Heritage Hills, which owns Maewyn's.
"I'm excited people are talking about it. If people are talking about it, good or bad, I'm glad people are talking about it," said Painter, whose wife is from Ireland.
He said kilts are just as Irish as they are Scottish.
But bars aren't really "Irish" on this side of the pond anyway. They're Irish-American.
I can't give a definition of an Irish bar, but I know it when I see it, to borrow a phrase. In other words, a good Irish bar shouldn't need to prove Irish-ness.
Where I was born in Scranton, about a third of the people claim Irish ancestry, and an Irish bar occupies a space on almost every other block.
They would call this attempt at a varnished form of Irish authenticity "lace-curtain."
An Irish bar is more an attitude than whether every menu item has an O' or Mc in front of it. It's about being a quiet place to sip a beer with friends.
It's about being a place of comfort, where you don't put on airs and don't need to impress anyone.
It's about finding the courage to kick your feet up in a lame, off-beat attempt at a jig.
I think Maewyn's can be that sort of place. And it can do it without the bells, kilts and whistles.
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If you go
LOCATION: Maewyn's Irish Pub & Restaurant, 110 N. George St. in York
CUISINE: American and Irish
WADE'S PICK: The Corker (a curried chicken wrap) $8.50
PARKING: street and garage
HOURS: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
PRICE RANGE: $8 to $23
ALCOHOL: full bar
ACCEPTS: Cash and major credit card
KID'S MENU: no