America’s Watering Holes: O’Malley’s Irish Pub in Weston Missouri
Originally published on Frags and Beer on January 10, 2013
I figured it was time for another beer post and with our upcoming trip to Kansas City what better place to feature than my favorite bar in all the land. Don’t let the logo and title confuse you. Here’s the deal. There’s this brewery that’s been in this sleepy little town called Weston since 1842. Under said brewing company is an Irish pub called O’Malley’s. They’ve also got a restaurant and such, but our real focus is the bar. WHOA…holdon you say? Under said brewing company?! Under?! This is better explained by giving you another bit of useless information first. Back before the convenience known as refrigeration, breweries kept their brew cold by storing it under ground. Some of them dug deep, building vaults to do this and sometimes even bringing in snow and ice if it was convenient enough. Anyway, when modern technology came along the Weston Brewery was left with these huge vaults, three stories deep, under their property.
So after some changing of hands, some moving, stupid laws, and interesting history (under the name Royal brewing, this company sponsored the first KC Royals Baseball team) we wind up with what we have today. Most importantly a bar that goes three stories deep in the stone vaults that used to be used to brew and store lager as far back as the 1840s. When you enter the pub you do so in a door on the side of the restaurant where you see the bathrooms and a narrow tunnel going down into the earth. It’s an odd juxtaposition between modern tile, signs, and plumbing and centuries old stone masonry leading you to the awesomeness below. Stepping into that stone passage is like stepping back in time and instantly you know you are in a place like no other in the country.
The first juncture you come to gives you a choice of a narrow and low tunnel (I have to duck to go down it) that leads to one of the bars…yes, one of the bars. There’s more than one. Anyway, this first bar is much like a traditional Irish pub. Lots of wood work, booths, a central bar, all the works. I haven’t actually drank in there yet, but we stopped in it just to see it our first year. From what I can tell it’s a quieter atmosphere, but not the most popular spot. It’s probably why it’s not open every night of the week, with a creepy old iron gate that closes the bar off when not in use. To your left, we have more stairs leading you ever deeper into wonderland. All around you, keep in mind, is hand cut stones creating these passages and vaults, much like you would expect in some dwarven mine.
As you take the tunnel deeper you come to a turn that drops you off in another small bar area. Wooden floors, stonework, and old wooden tables lend to the feel of being in another time. There’s a large TV over a doorway at the opposite end, a small bar that is manned (or womanned) when the bar is busy, and you can see more stairs and an enticing view beyond. We have had to sit up there a couple of times as the main bar can be packed on the weekends. The doorway draws you inthough, and very few sit up here unless they can’t find an inch to sit or stand further below.
Stepping through the doorway you really do leave this world behind for something right out of a period movie. You find yourself on a middle landing of a wooden stair/balcony area. To your left are stairs going up to a balcony that wraps about half of the main bar area (which is nearly two stories tall itself), complete with stout wooden railing and tables where you can sit and overlook the bar below. To your right are stairs going down to the main floor. There are booths under the balcony, tables in the middle, a stage on the right and at the end…heaven on earth. The main taps of O’Malleys where you can get the best pull of an import like Guinness or a fantastic draft of the house brews. I recommend the Irish Cream ale.
Check out their site (https://westonirish.com/). They have live bands on the weekends, several good specials, and events going on at different times of the year. They do an Irish Fest in October that is simply the most awesome Chaos I’ve experienced in a place so small. Try the house brews, and sit back and enjoy the place. It is by far my favorite bar and sadly I only get to visit it about once a year. It’s well worth it though, take my word for it.