Raleigh, N.C. was just named by Forbes Travel Guide as one of ‘12 Global Destinations to Visit in 2017’ for its homegrown music festivals, world-class museums, active arts community and a culinary scene that is considered one of the best in the southeast. Part of the notoriety of the area’s food scene is due to the chefs, restaurants and pubs that have stood the test of time and become local favorites and go-to stops for visitors.

The Hibernian Irish Pub and Restaurant in downtown Raleigh’s Glenwood South entertainment district has spent the past 17 years as a thriving neighborhood Irish pub and restaurant celebrating the old-world flavor and the new vibrancy of Ireland. Owner and Irishman Niall Hanley brought the traditional Irish pub experience to Raleigh in 2000 after seeing the need for an authentic Irish social club and a homey gathering space for residents and visitors. Two floors offer friends, co-workers, families and sports enthusiasts an environment full of dark wood interiors, cozy nooks and beautifully sculpted bars. Raleigh’s temperate climate allows for year-round use of a large second floor patio which offers spectacular views of Raleigh. Don’t miss one of the most unique aspects of the pub – one of the country’s only Irish Snugs located at the upstairs bar.

While the atmosphere of this thriving pub is undeniably Irish, so is the food and drink with favorites including: bangers and mash; corned beef and cabbage; fish and chips and Shepherd’s Pie. The restaurant is also known for its Irish whiskey selection, one of the most extensive in the state.

Growing up in County Mayo, Hanley was the youngest of five children in a family that worked both the land of the family farm and the pub they owned, Hanley’s, which gave him the understanding of Irish pub culture as well as a love for plants and horticulture. Heading to Dublin for college, Hanley left Ireland in the early 90’s and landed in Boston where he worked the local bar scene. Making his way to North Carolina he began building The Hibernian Restaurant and Pub with managing partner Gerry McDermott in an area that has grown to house his culinary empire including: The Raleigh Beer Garden which holds two Guinness World Records for largest number of operational taps (currently set at 376 draft taps); Solas Nightlife; XoCo; The Station at Person Street and a North Raleigh location of Hibernian Restaurant and Pub. Two new projects are on the horizon for Hanley: Watts & Ward, a speakeasy-style underground bar and the Morgan Street Food Hall, a 22,000-sq. ft. culinary incubator offering high quality, chef-driven specialty foods with a wide range of diversity opening Spring 2017.

The Hibernian has gained a reputation for atmosphere, food and drink but also as a catalyst for special events in downtown Raleigh. The St. Patrick’s Day celebration brings over 10,000 revelers to the streets in front of the pub for live music, Irish dancers and plenty of Guinness and Irish whisky. In 2017 there will be two St. Patrick’s Day celebrations – the street festival on Sat., March 11 and the block party on Fri., March 17.

The Hibernian Irish Pub and Restaurant is located 311 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, N.C. 27603 and is open daily 11 am – 2 am. www.hibernianpub.com