A lot of the regulars at Danny’s Celtic Pub tend to call Lorraine Sather “Mama.”
“She doesn’t tell anyone to call her that, they just do because that’s how they feel about her,” said Sather’s husband, Keith. “How many places can you go where you can say ‘The owner is a friend of mine?’”
Among the characteristics the Sathers wanted in the bar and grill they opened in Bedford was an atmosphere like the TV show Cheers, where customers and crew know one another. But the place that Lorraine named after her father, Danny Moffett, also had to live up to his Celtic heritage. So the Sathers decorated the club’s 2,500-square-foot dining and bar area to reflect Irish, Scottish, British and Welsh cultures.
The walls are covered with pictures, posters and maps from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and such artifacts as antique golf clubs and scattered promotional signs for libations.
They furnished their pub with dark wood tables, chairs and barstools to create warm and welcoming seating for about 100. An adjacent patio that accommodates 50 more patrons features a giant Jenga game. Serious darts players find a space partitioned off for them. There’s also a stage for entertainment ranging from Tuesday night’s karaoke to Wednesday’s guitar-playing singer to Thursday’s Team Trivia game to Saturday’s live band.
There are flat screens on a couple of walls, but the Sathers went only so far to please sports fans.
Over the bar is a 100-year-old mirror that helps bridge the gap between the 21st century and the ancient heritage of neighborhood pubs.
“People have suggested that we replace it with a big TV,” Keith said. “We’ve said no because it’s a centerpiece of the bar. It’s like an old saloon. That’s just what we are.”
True pub food
Foods from the pub’s 1,000-square-foot kitchen are similar to the simple fare Lorraine’s parents — descendants of Irish immigrants — made when she was growing up.
“My wife came up with 90 percent of the menu based on what she was brought up on in an Irish neighborhood in Hartford, Conn.,” Keith said.
That means bangers-and-mash, shepherd’s pie, Scottish eggs and “the best fish and chips around,” Lorraine said. “I’ve tried to keep everything simple and use something from all four Celtic cultures. I invented something called Sheppies, which basically is a shepherd’s pie in a potato skin.”
There also are such American items as build-your-own burgers, fried bologna sandwiches and chicken fingers.
Every Wednesday and Thursday customers find “the best corned beef and cabbage I’ve had in Texas,” Keith said.
Guinness has a prominent place among the several beers on tap, and desserts include the Sweet Ditty: vanilla ice cream drizzled with Irish cream.
Popular with patrons
Regular customers vouch for the pub’s genuine Celtic flavor, including some who should be considered experts.
A quartet of British expats spends many evenings bending elbows together at the pub they’ve been loyal to since the day it opened in 2012. Pete Connor, 61, of Manchester, Ralph Simpson, 52, from Wolverhampton, Bobby Roberts, 75, from North Liverpool, and Peter Hendley-Hall, 49, of Dudley, were attracted to the pub by its familiarity.
“This is the closest to a real pub that any of us have found in America,” Hendley-Hall said.
That was the goal when the Sathers took early retirement from their airline industry careers so they could pursue their true passions.
Both Lorraine and Keith had experience in the bar and restaurant business from their youth, and Lorraine’s dad had a 50-year career in the liquor and food-service industry before he died at 82.
“When we retired, we didn’t have kids at home, so we decided to take a shot,” Keith said. “We wondered, where can people of adult age go where the music isn’t loud and crazy, but it’s still fun?”
Brooke Baits has found Danny’s to be perfect for the past year.
“I’ve been to other bars that are too quiet or too noisy; this one is just right,” said Baits, 23, a Haltom City native who’s at the pub about five nights a week.
Lorraine rewards such loyalty by putting the names of deserving regulars on brass plaques that are mounted to the bar and bar stools. Asking for that honor is not the way to get it.
“When I feel it’s right, I’ll ask them to make a charitable donation in exchange for a plaque,” Lorraine said. “It’s my way of paying it forward.”
If you go
Danny's Celtic Pub is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. at 2824 Central Drive in Bedford. Call 817-571-9999 or go to dannyscelticpub.com.