When deciding to hang out at a local pub on St. Patrick’s Day, you likely have two routes to choose from. One path leads to green beer and leftover green beads from Mardi Gras, and the other is a more authentic experience of a Irish-style pub.
Sullivan’s Public House in Oxford is the latter. Named one of the 50 best Irish pubs in the country last week by Travel and Leisure Magazine, one of the bar and restaurant’s owners is actually from Ireland.
Restaurant industry veteran Jerry Cremin came of age working in his father’s pubs in Ireland’s County Limerick and County Clare. While he was born in Brooklyn, Cremin’s family moved back to Ireland when he was 8 years old, and there he learned to do every job in the bar, from emptying ashtrays to pouring a perfect pint of Guinness.
In 2014, Jerry and his wife Jamie Cremin (they met while working at a hotel in New York City) opened Sullivan’s Public House. They thought about opening an authentic Irish restaurant in New York City, but, as Jamie’s says “it’s so incredibly crazy there,” so they opted to return to Jamie’s native Michigan.
Sullivan’s is named after one of Cremin’s grandparents, because he says Cremin just doesn’t sound Irish enough. One of the ways he tries to make his bar like the ones his dad owned, is with a proper pint of Guinness.
“My father was always a big stickler for pouring a perfect pint of Guinness,” he said. “The bar could be 10 deep but you don’t take that pint of Guinness away (from the tap) until 119.5 seconds is up.”
According to Guinness, 119.5 seconds is how long it should take to correctly pour the glass and let the beer settle with the proper size head.
The Cremins hired a firm out of Dublin to fly to Michigan to consult them on their bar’s space and design, and the beer tap system. In fact, the Cremins say they have the only bar in Michigan with an authentic Guinness tap system, which Jerry says was designed by the Irish and manufactured in the United States.
They have a member of the Guinness team come in once a year to certify all the staff on how to pour the perfect pint. Jerry says he also imports his Guinness from Ireland, and says much of the Irish stout drank in the U.S. is from a Guinness brewery in Canada.
Sullivan’s also has a homage to Guinness each day in the form of a “happy minute.” At 5:59 p.m. daily, for one minute, a pint of Guinness is $1. The time refers to the year the stout was founded, 1759 (so 17:59 military time). While it takes nearly two minutes to pour a perfect pint of Guinness, so long as you place your order before 6 p.m., you’ll score the discounted price.
One beer at Sullivan’s that you can’t find in Ireland, or anywhere else in the world, is their own Sullivan’s Irish Ale, brewed especially for the Oxford pub by Birmingham’s Griffin Claw Brewing Co.
Developed by brewmaster Dan Rogers, the beer is made with centennial hops and caramel malt and is 5 percent alcohol by volume. It pairs well with Guinness for an Irish-American black and tan.
Beyond Guinness, Sullivan’s has many other Irish offerings to keep your eyes smiling on St. Patrick’s Day and throughout the year.
There’s the expected, like corned beef sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, a bacon and cabbage dish, bangers and mash and Irish soda bread pudding. There’s also on-trend bar food like fish tacos, wine-soaked mussels and calamari battered with buttermilk and Griffin Claw’s IPA.
The Guinness-branded pub also serves an Irish-style brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. and a kid’s menu.
On Friday — the first time St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday in 11 years — Sullivan’s will party 7 a.m.-2 a.m. with an Irish breakfast, followed by live bagpipers, dancers, fiddle players and other musicians. Entertainment runs 9 a.m.-midnight.
Sullivan’s Public House is at 23 N. Washington in Oxford. Call (248) 572-7344.
From Sullivan’s Public House
4 pounds of marmalade
Half gallon of Jameson Irish Whiskey
5 packets of Pure Via Sugar
Infuse the ingredients together in a bottle for 30 hours in a cooler. After 12 hours of infusion, stir to get marmalade cycling through. Stir again 12 hours later. Add five sugar packets to take the bitterness from the marmalade peel out. After 30 hours take out of cooler and strain through a fine strainer and least three times to make it as liquefied as possible. Refrigerate liquid when finished.
To make drink
2 Luxardo Cherries
2 dashes of Aztec Chocolate Bitters
2 1/2 ounces of marmalade-infused Jameson
Splash of soda water
Add cherries and bitters to rocks glass and muddle with a flat-edge muddler. Add Jameson and shake in cocktail shaker. Don’t shake too long if the ice is small as it will dilute the drink. Pour back into rocks glass and top with soda water. Squeeze orange peel over into a flame over drink to release citrus oils. Place drink on wood coaster with smoking piece of peat moss and serve.
Roasted Duck with Sweet Potatoes and Wild Mushrooms
From Sullivan’s Public House
6-ounce duck breast, skin on
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut three slits in the skin of the duck right up to the meat. Meanwhile start heating up a sauté pan with low heat with the olive oil in the pan. Once the pan is warm place the duck breast in the pan skin side down. The goal is to slowly render the fat out of the skin. The thickness of the skin should be cut in half and the skin itself should be a light golden brown. Once you have rendered the duck fat, place the duck breast on a sheet tray and finish cooking in an oven set to 350, to desired temperature. Medium rare or 125 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, unpeeled
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons honey
1/3ounce unsalted butter
2 fluid ounces low-fat evaporated milk
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and place on an oven tray with the unpeeled cloves of garlic and bake for one hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Squeeze the cloves of garlic from their skin and add them to the potato flesh. Stir in the honey and unsalted butter, milk and salt to taste, and mash the potatoes until there are no lumps and the consistency is creamy.
1/2 pound portabella mushroom caps
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean mushrooms under cold water. Slice mushrooms into 1/8-inch slices. Heat oil up in a sauté pan. Once pan is hot, add mushrooms and seasoning. Sauté mushrooms until the mushrooms are tender but not mushy.
1 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces chives
Combine chives and oil in a sauce pot and bring oil up to a boil. Immediately turn off heat once oil comes to a boil. Pour oil and chive into a blender and cover with lid. Blend the oil and chives together on high for 1 minute. Strain the oil with cheese cloth and a china cap. Save strained oil and discard the rest. Garnish plate with chive oil.
Port wine cherry reduction
750ml port wine
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredient in a sauce pot. Bring the liquid up to a low simmer. Let the reduction reduce by 1/2 of the original liquid.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Combine ingredients in a sauce pot and reduce by half at a low simmer. Garnish plate with balsamic glaze.
Irish Egg Cream
Created by New York City mixologist Meaghan Dorman
1 ounce Baileys Original Irish Cream
1 1/2 ounces chocolate milk
1 1/2 ounces soda water
Whipped cream and green mini doughnut for garnish
Shake Baileys and milk in a shaker with ice. Pour soda water into bottom of glass. Strain contents from shaker on top of soda. Garnish with whipped cream and doughnut.
More St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Old Shillelagh: An award-winning Irish bar in a Greek neighborhood, this Detroit mainstay goes wild for St. Patrick’s Day. Party starts at 7 a.m. 349 Monroe, Detroit. (313) 964-0007.
Downriver Irish Celebration: Billed as one of the biggest parties in the area, this new party features a 10,000-square-foot tent with bands, games, food and more starting at 8 a.m. at Market Center Park. $5 admission. 13545 Eureka, Southgate. (586) 498-9791.
Watermark Bar and Grille: The first St. Patrick’s Day party for this new-ish downriver spot includes live entertainment inside and out, beer specials and Irish food. Opens at noon. No cover. 24420 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. (586) 777-3677.
O’Mara’s Irish Pub: Live entertainment from noon-midnight with Madigan’s Attic, comedian Rod Coden, Brothers of the Sea and Blackthorn. A special St. Patrick’s Day menu has Irish stew, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie. 2555 12 Mile, Berkley. (248) 399-6750.
Hamlin Corner: Wear green to match the beer and other green drinks at this evening party that kicks off with the George Brother Band 5-8 p.m., followed by DJs. $5 cover. 386 N. Main, Royal Oak. (248) 607-3127.
CJ Mahoney’s Sports Grille: Green beer, Irish food and giveaways starting at 10 a.m. No cover. 2511 Livernois, Troy. (248) 273-4600.
O’Connor’s Public House: Billed as the longest-running and biggest St. Patrick’s Day party in Oakland County, this bash includes two stages of entertainment, six bars and a free Irish breakfast buffet 7 a.m.-10 a.m. The first 100 guests will get a custom-engraved Guinness pint. $10 cover. 324 Main, Rochester. (248) 608-2537.
Vintage House: This indoor and outdoor event has live bands, DJs, and award-winning corned beef sandwiches. The all-day party starts at 6 a.m. and there’s no cover charge before noon. 31816 Utica, Fraser. (586) 415-5678.
Pat O’Brien’s: Fill up early with a free Irish breakfast starting at 7 a.m. The tent party begins at noon and there’s no cover before 2 p.m. 22385 E. 10 Mile, St. Clair Shores. (586) 771-5715.
Dooley’s Tavern and Wild Woody’s: Take a free shuttle bus between these two bars, which will both have tented parties. Dooleys, 32500 Gratiot, Roseville. (586) 294-5331. Wild Woody’s, 45660 Mount, Shelby Township. (586) 200-6722.
O’Halloran’s Public House: Opened just a few months, this new pub will offer a $10 buffet all day, plus a beer tent that opens at 9 a.m., and live music from the Diggers noon-4 p.m. 112 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. (586) 329-1252.
Shamrockin’ Mount Clemens: The downtown area will be taken over by party people 10 a.m.-9 p.m. with live bands, bagpipers and DJs. The day starts with a “kegs and eggs” breakfast. Macomb Place between Pine and South Gratiot, Mount Clemens. wcsx.com/party.
St. Patrick’s Day Square Dance at Gaelic League Irish American Club of Detroit: Beginners and pros alike are welcome to join in the dancing, and no partner is needed. The evening starts with a potluck dinner at 5 p.m. followed by dancing. $10 suggested donation. 2068 Michigan, Detroit. (313) 964-8700.