The official SBDomer Downtown South Bend
Pub Tour is designed to be
easily walkable and include a wide range of venues. The tour has a
little something for everyone, but starts off at the higher class
places downtown and generally gets a little less so as the tour
progresses. You can skip 3 through 5 if you're not in the mood or not
dressed for a classier joint
All of these establishments except the last one are basically on
one city block, bordered by LaSalle, Main, Washington and Michigan
Streets. This tour works great on the Friday of a home football
weekend, but also works well enough on any other Wed - Sat night.
1. Sean O'Casey's - Marriott Hotel, NW corner of Colfax and St.
Joseph Irish pub located across the street from the College Football
Hall of Fame. Indoor/outdoor seating in a bar designed and constructed
in Dublin and shipped to South Bend. All of the usuals you'd expect on
tap, with a full Irish food menu. This is a great place to start a
football friday if you skip the pep rally.
2. Football Fridays Tent Party - middle of Michigan Street by the
Hall of Fame Live music, food, beer, mixed drinks and wine from 7 to 10
pm on home game Fridays (starting at 6 for the PSU game). A huge tent
(heated in cold weather) is erected over Michigan Street. This is a
great place to fill the gap between the pep rally and the time the bars
start to get going. Licensed Notre Dame apparel is on sale in case you
didn't bring the right clothes from home for our unpredictable weather.
This event only happens on the Friday night of home football weekends,
so on to stop 3 on any other night. Ask for me at this event for
updates on things going on downtown.
3. Club Noma - walk N on Michigan (opening late 2006) Asian fusion
restaurant/jazz and martini bar. Same ownership as Siam on N. Main St.
Currently under construction in the old Senor Kelly's location,
expected to open after the jellyfish for the giant tanks arrive later
in '06. More info to be posted after the opening.
4. The Vine - NW corner of Michigan and Colfax (Pass up McCormick's
for now - we'll get to that later.) This is our local wine
bar/restaurant, in its second location after a successful start-up near
the Hall of Fame. The bar area is small, but a good place to kick off
your tour. Very popular on the distaff side. Reasonable selection of
beer, mostly in bottles, full dinner menu available.
5. Club LaSalle - walk W on Colfax This is on the third floor above
LaSalle Grill. It's our brick wall, cigar bar, couch-filled jazz club
nightspot. Great place to relax and get a tremendous appetizer or light
meal. A favorite Thursday night spot for celebrities in for football
weekends or other events. Smithwick's on tap.
6. Madison Oyster Bar - walk W on Colfax, cross Main, walk S on
Main You may remember a place by this name near the East Race. The only
thing this shares with that is the name. The first floor is one of
those long-bar, narrow room neighborhood type joints. Reasonable bar
food and beer selection. Don't miss the cool third floor. It has pool
tables up there for early evening but is better later when the crowd
fills the room.
7. Fiddler's Hearth - walk S on Main This is our public house. A
good place to spot young Irish dancers or local bands playing Irish
folk music. Plenty of good beer and food from the British Isles
available. Its true character is not apparent on crowded football
weekends, but at other times a relaxing and pleasant place to pass the
time with friends and family (kids welcome).
8. BW-3 - walk S on Main, cross Main, E on Washington You probably
have one of these in your town. The only "chain" in the group. Skip it
if you want local or authentic places, or stop in for lots of
televisions, wings and a decent selection of draft beers.
9. McCormick's - N on Michigan This is still the nasty dive you
remember from your college days, although it has been expanded. It has
no redeeming qualities other than large cheap beers. A true classic and
worthy of a stop at the end of any self-respecting pub tour.
10. Corby's - walk N on Michigan, E on Colfax, over the river, over
the East Race, N on Niles to LaSalle No this is not THE Corby's,
formerly located at the fabled Five Points intersection, but it IS the
Corby's featured in Rudy. As crowded, drunken, dirty and shameless as
any truly great college bar could hope to be. If you go in for that
kind of scene, you'll love it here. Outdoor tents expand capacity
during football season.
That last walk over to Corby's is not as long as it sounds (about 4
blocks), but it's not as short as the other walks on the tour - I just
can't, in good conscience recommend that you drive at this point. We
don't have roaming cabs in South Bend, but if you make it through this
pub tour in one piece, keep these numbers handy: Yellow Cab (574)
233-9333, Checker Cab (574) 288-7777
Have fun in downtown South Bend and don't forget to tip your bartenders