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Irish pub takes root in Paso Robles 

The St. Patrick’s Day opening of The Crooked Kilt, an Irish- and Scottish-inspired pub and restaurant, across the street from the City Park in downtown Paso Robles, was met by crowds that lined up around the block for a chance to celebrate Celtic style. Oversized armchairs, and a couch, offer a living room-like feeling to this boisterous bar where locals congregate from dusk to the wee hours.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GARDNER
  • PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GARDNER

# Crooked Kilt is the creation of local restaurateurs (and cousins) Donovan Schmit and Troy Larkin. In 2001, the two opened Schooner’s Wharf, a seafood restaurant in Cayucos, followed in 2004 by CafÈ Dia Via, an Italian eatery also in Cayucos. They’ve gone back to their roots with the opening of the Crooked Kilt. Pappy McGregor, Schmit and Larkin’s great-grandfather, built bars in Ireland. “We travel, and wherever we go we end up in an Irish pub,� says Schmit. “They are so much fun. It’s what Paso Robles needs.�

The reworked interior, with open beam ceilings, exposed brick walls, and tall stately tables is a blend of Irish pub and contemporary dÈcor. The 2,500 square foot enclosed patio, complete with stage, is definitely the place to check out live entertainment on the weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights dance to rock and roll music or head to the lounge for a little one-on-one conversation. Remember to come early; usually there are lines by 10 p.m. The kilt-sporting wait staff specializes in making traditional Irish coffee, or an Irish Martini made from Boru Irish vodka. Sundays are reserved for blues, jazz, or reggae bands. On Wednesdays and Thursdays soak up a little dance music as a DJ spins tunes from the 70’s and 80’s.

The pub features a wide selection of Irish whiskeys and brews, and also an extensive collection of SLO County wines. The food is equally top-shelf. Executive Chef Chris Becket offers a seafood bounty that includes oysters Rockefeller and Santa Fe salmon quesadillas. Often hard-to-find Irish fare ranges from Shepherd’s pie to the corn beef sandwiches. Few diners will complain about the prices that range from $9 to $25 for appetizers and entrees with most items falling below $20.

“The people who walk in the door make it special,� Larkin says. “My friends and family, new people to meet ... it’s a gathering spot.�

Located at 1122 Pine Street, the Crooked Kilt is open for dining from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. The bar closes at 1 a.m. For more info call (805) 238-7070.

Staff writer Karen Velie compiled this weeks Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to kvelie@newtimesslo.com.

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