Nancy's Bar, Ardara, Co Donegal
Banning the term ’gastropub’ generated acres of publicity for a UK food guide last year – and they were quite right; it’s unpleasant and over-used – and, like the ubiquitous ‘eatery’, is not in the Guide’s vocabulary. But we’re all in favour of pubs that do great food, of course – and many of our best had been doing just this for many years before the unfortunate term ‘gastropub’ saw the light of day.
It’s not all about the food of course – character, friendliness, comfort, a sense of community, all those things are part of what makes a great pub – but good food is an important focus for all of our Star Pubs, including Nancy’s Bar, which has been a key part of this little heritage town renowned for its tweeds and handknits for far longer than anyone can remember.
The original Nancy, who ran the pub in Victorian times, was the great great great grandmother of the present owner, Charlie McHugh and, together with his wife Ann (who’s responsible for developing the food side of the business), he has ensured that everything is done just as it should be.
It’s a charmingly higgledy-piggledy place which simply oozes with character and warmth, there’s great live music and the food is traditional Irish cooking at its best: only gorgeous!
No wonder everybody loves Nancy’s, it’s just a perfect Irish pub.