Orlando, Fla. — I just left the coolest pub in Ireland.
It was tiny and cramped — cozy by Irish standards. The bar countertop was made from a chestnut tree planted in 1756 in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim and felled by Hurricane Ophelia in 2017. Do the math, that tree was 261 years old at its demise. In other words, even older than Larry King on his final breath.
A faint smell of peat filled the pub. What could be more Irish? There was a mirror behind the bar, nooks filled with bottles of Ireland’s best. The pub had four seats, that’s all. No fivesomes, please. Cozy.
The wall decorations that weren’t aged spirits of some kind in traditional bottles (like Jameson, say) included a picture of the late actor Sean Connery. Never mind that he was a Scot, he loved golf (which makes him at least part Irish) and he played a tough Irish-American cop in “The Untouchables,” another movie that Kevin Costner ruined. That’s good enough. Plus, Sean Connery looks like he belongs in an Irish pub.
Pubkeeper and Pub Og founder Cormac Artt, he of the Emerald Isle itself, showed me the pub’s secret compartment. (But pssst! Don’t tell anybody!) He folded down the countertop that closed in the bar, then pulled on a framed picture of some fetching lass and swung it open. There, in a hidden cubbyhole, was a bottle of Ireland’s finest. You can only be told its name and see it if you prove worthy. That’s my rule, not Cormac’s.
I’ve never been in a more authentic Irish pub in my life… so far. And this one sported a unique location:
In Orlando. At the PGA Merchandise Show. In the middle of the Orange County Convention center’s massive exhibition floor.
Retrieve your lower jaw from ankle height, just as I did when I stepped into the place. It is called Pub Og and it is a custom-built, mini-Irish pub that is a size of a gazebo (approximately 10 feet by 10 feet but octagonal in shape). It has a beer tap, room beneath the bar for two kegs, refrigeration, plus assorted shelf space in the back bar for your other adult beverages of choice. Please don’t spoil the atmosphere by storing a liter bottle of Pepsi Zero unless you want to reveal yourself as a heathen, savage American.
Pub Og is the hands-down winner as the best product at the 2022 PGA Show.
A fellow golf journalist and I stepped into Pub Og and gasped, almost in unison, “Oh! My! God!” It’s that cool.
The best part is, this little corner of heaven can be in your backyard, next to your pool, in your garage or at your golf club. Or it could be your new, coolest-ever man-cave office. The cost is $80,000, including shipping from Ireland.
Pub Og is authentic down to the smallest detail. And it will be fitted to your exact wishes, thus no two Pub Ogs will be identical. The special wood in your countertop will have its own origin story.
Even the name is authentic. Og, in Gaelic, means “Son of” or “Young.” So if a blacksmith’s shop was called “Shane Og,” it would mean Young Shane or Son of Shane. Pub Og is the offspring of a full-sized Irish pub. Cheers, lad.
To enter the cozy confines of Pub Og is to be sucked into the vortex of another world. One step in and you suddenly feel different. Not even the international-themed rides at nearby DisneyWorld do that.
“This is a huddle space,” our man Cormac explained. “Or a 19th hole.”
Pub Og is a modular octagon with a custom finish. “Our reputation is all about the craft,” Cormac said, looking very at home behind the bar counter. “That’s all part of it.”
Your pub, once ordered, will be meticulously built in Ireland. The lead time to finish the mini-pub is 12 to 15 weeks. Each week, a customer will be sent a video showing the current state of the construction process. Once it is finished, the pub will be disassembled, shipped and reassembled by a Pub Og contractor on your site.
Then you can travel to a real Irish pub without going to Ireland. Or even leaving home.
The inspiration for Pub Og was the pandemic. “I couldn’t get in for a pint,” Cormac said.
Any true Irishman would find that maddening. Ducking into the basement for a Guinness or a buddy’s basement for a pint of ale or something stronger just isn’t the same as the neighborhood pub. So Artt went to work and, with some design help, founded Pub Og.
“I wanted my own dedicated spot,” he said. “I put it in my garden.”
Artt didn’t miss any small touches. That aroma of peat in Pub Og? It’s from a small piece of peat discreetly hidden to serve as Irish pub air freshener.
The ultimate endorsement came from an Irish doctor I happened to meet later Wednesday. I heard his brogue and asked if he’d seen this Irish pub replica about 50 yards away. Aye, he had, “And if I didn’t know better, I’d say it looks just like Frawley’s,” said the doctor, who lives in Dublin and whose first name is Conor. “Frawley’s is a pub just behind the second green at Lahinch, and after you putt out, you can nip into Frawley’s for a quick one before you play the third.”
Conor’s eyes twinkled as he added, “If you’re so inclined.”
If you’re Irish, you’re visiting Ireland or you drop 80 large ones for your own private honest-to-Seamus pub, you’re probably so inclined.
“Slainte!” is Gaelic for “Cheers,” an authentic Irish phrase you should learn.
An American phrase you should learn as a new Pub Og owner: “Honey, I’ll be in my office.”