Cheers Check-in: Irish pub opens in Cville

Posted on November 24, 2014 by


Charlottesville is chock-full of eateries, breweries, and dive bars, but one might be hard-pressed to find a traditional pub with Irish fare, Celtic music almost every night, and Guinness “served properly” – until now.

Jaclynn Dunkle, owner of Fellini’s #9 and new eatery Tin Whistle Irish Pub, said she has been interested in opening an Irish pub for years.

Photo by Darren Sweeney

Photo by Darren Sweeney

“At one point, I toyed with turning Fellini’s into an Irish pub,” Dunkle said.

Although Fellini’s remained a non-Irish eatery, it was a Fellini’s connection that brought Tin Whistle into actuality. Richard Lange, guitarist for Celtic band King Golden Banshee (a regular performer at Fellini’s), talked to Dunkle one day about investing in a pub.

Not long after Italian eatery Caffe Bocce closed its doors, Dunkle and Lange set their sights on the quaint space across from the Market Street parking garage.

“It just worked out for us to be able to take it over pretty quickly,” said Dunkle.

Dunkle and Lange bought the space in early September and Tin Whistle opened its doors near the end of October.

Photo courtesy of Tin Whistle Irish Pub

Photo courtesy of Tin Whistle Irish Pub

“It’s just so different,” said Dunkle, who oversees the day-to-day operations at Tin Whistle. “The whole front of the place is bar [area].”

The pub features a variety of Irish-themed cocktails, food, and beer. Traditional brews such as Harp, Smithwick’s, and Guinness are mixed with a local draught selection of Irish-themed beers, such as Three Notch’d Brewing Co.’s Hydraulion Red.

“The beer is going to always be Irish,” Dunkle said.

Tin Whistle is even talking with a local brewery about collaborating on a porter.

Happy hour runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and features one dollar off rail drinks and most draught beers.

Photo by Darren Sweeney

Photo by Darren Sweeney

The food menu includes Irish soda bread soaked in porter, bangers and mash, corn beef and cabbage, fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie, and Guinness chocolate cheesecake, to name a few.

“We’re experimenting a little with the menu,” Dunkle said. “It’s going to be regular pub fare.”

Chef Rob Wallace is in charge of putting a unique spin on the traditional food.

“One cool thing we have that nobody else has in town is the traditional Irish breakfast,” Dunkle said.

The breakfast comes complete with fried eggs, corned beef hash, bacon, black pudding, and grilled tomato.

Photo courtesy of Tin Whistle Irish Pub

Photo courtesy of Tin Whistle Irish Pub

But for Dunkle, who is fond of her Irish and Scottish heritage, the most important ingredient for Tin Whistle is the live music.

“Tin Whistle will be all Irish music,” Dunkle said, noting the pub is a place for musicians in the area to gather and perform Celtic-inspired tunes. There will be live music every night the pub is open.

When the weather is warm enough, Dunkle hopes to take advantage of the outside patio and already has a fire pit out there.

“It’s a beautiful outdoor area,” she said.

In the meantime, Dunkle encourages people that love Irish music, food, and booze to stop by after work, on the weekends, or any day (except Monday) for happy hour.

Posted in: cheers, New to Cville