Located just off the main stretch in the heart of Kettering, Harrigan’s Tavern is a neighborhood bar specializing in the simple and traditional Irish bar experience. It’s a real dive bar, with a simple menu of food, a wide selection of beers, and an intentionally gruff demeanor Between the dark, dank interior and the vomiting-green website proudly counting down the days, hours, and seconds until St. Patrick’s Day, the place really succeeds in establishing a certain mood for customers. This is the kind of place locals flock to for drink specials and socializing.
Founded in 1967 by a local Irishman and former police officer, Harrigan’s menu of bar food consists of a lot of the old favorites; chicken tenders, cheese sticks and wings to start, and plenty of burgers, sandwiches and pizza to fill up the belly.
- Pizza: The pizza is decent; it’s Columbus-style thin crust, square cut. While the pizza will have a decent number of toppings, the crust is also a little dry and the end result is a little bland for lack of seasoning. It’s the kind of pizza you’ll like for its familiarity; it’s not the best you’ve ever had, just good enough.
- Chili: Extra meaty, spicy, topped with a ton of chili powder and cheese, this chili is fantastic. A bowl of this stuff will fill you up.
- Salad: A pretty simple salad as they go, this one is pretty simple, packed with veggies and a savory vinaigrette. I like it though, because it is familiar.
- Onion Rings: The fried goodies are sort of the same thing; I do enjoy them because they’re good and comfortable food, but the flavors are simple. You get them for convenience or for a no-frills meal. While I’m still saying the food is good, and I wouldn’t call the experience negative, the fact is I’ve been wowed by a lot of the other community bars in this area; some of them really do have food that is worth a return in and of itself. Here, it feels more like an afterthought to the other things going on in the bar.
- Philly Cheese steak: A massive sandwich heaping with seared steak meat and some veggies. This one is great with a little mac and cheese or something. Very filling.
- Grilled chicken sandwich: Pretty simple stuff, but good. A grilled chicken patty with a little bit of Parmesan in a sandwich.
The interior of the bar is sort of a rough-around-the-edges concept, with a dark interior lowlit with neon lights and covered to the brim with various decorations from all over the place. I like going there to relax with a drink with friends, it definitely has that low-impact feel of a comfortable place where you don’t feel stressed by big crowds. At the same time, the Irish pub concept is a little gruff; it’s dark and musty inside; the front porch furniture is dirty and worn out. While these things do sort of lend to the pub feel, they also point to a more run-down look that hurts the overall attractiveness of the place. And that’s a shame too, because once you get past that, Harrigan’s really is a neat place to hang out.
- Come here for the atmosphere. It’s a nice place to relax with a group of friends, and tends to be lively even on weeknights, but if you’re just looking for bar food I might point you elsewhere.
- Give the burgers a try, I prefer them to the other menu items.
- There are also carry-out and catering services available.