Just like a visit to Barton Springs on a warm Saturday afternoon or a stop at Hot Topic in the mall, you know exactly what to expect when you walk into an Irish pub. There’s a formula that generally involves some combination of a long wooden bar, a laid back atmosphere, and pints of Guinness. B.D. Riley’s is a mostly typical Irish pub, but it’s one with much better food and a nicer patio than you might expect.
There’s a pretty large menu of classic Irish staples—including some very good fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash—that pair just as well with a pint of Smithwicks or with something local on draft. But there are also dishes like a Guinness and steak poutine that’ll have you knuckles-deep in a mountain of thick-cut crispy potatoes, gravy, and melted cheese curds before you can piece together how this Canadian-Irish fusion even came about.
The inside is modeled after classic Irish pubs—like many others around the world, it was built in Ireland, and assembled locally—and it’s a dark, cozy escape from a sunny afternoon at Mueller Lake Park. There’s also a large patio that sprawls out onto the sidewalks and walkways on either side of the pub, while the largest fan we’ve ever seen spins overhead and provides a light breeze for all 365 days of the year that they’re open. It’s a relaxed place on most evenings, but both the inside and the patio become pretty lively during soccer matches and football games (they’re a Patriots bar).
Grab a pint of Guinness, order some snacks for the table or a full Irish breakfast at any time of day, and enjoy one of our favorite patios in Mueller. There might not be a giant spring-fed pool to cool off in, but we’ve found a cold pint to be a decent alternative.
Fish & Chips
One of our favorite versions in town. Every piece of fish somehow manages to be the thickest cut, with a shockingly thin and crispy fried batter on the outside. No surprises here, just a really well done (and massive) plate of a classic pub staple.
Guinness & Steak Poutine
This vaguely Irish take on a classic Canadian staple is a strong contender for best in Austin (there’s not a ton of competition). Thick cut, crispy potatoes act as a bed for stretchy curds of melted cheese and a rich Guinness gravy. And some thick slices of steak on top of it all are just the savory icing on the proverbial poutine cake.
Bangers & Mash
The mashed potatoes are made in house, the sausages are seasoned well, and the Guinness and onion gravy adds a savory, almost sweet element to it all. It’s a massive portion–order this when you need some energy to build a deck later in the day or want something to soak up all the pints you just took down.
This is a pretty standard Reuben, with all of the components you would expect out of one. It’s a solid sandwich all around—it’s not our favorite Reuben in Austin, but fans of corned beef will still be left satisfied.