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Durty Nelly's: Gainesville's authentic Irish pub


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Durty Nelly’s, founded in 1994, is Gainesville’s only traditional Irish pub. While there are other pubs in town--even pubs whose owners are from Ireland--Durty Nelly’s boasts a perfect union that none of the others can claim: a cozy dark wood bar and interior, traditional Irish music, and a proper pint.

In fact, Nelly’s pours the best pint of Guinness in Gainesville (perhaps even in north Florida). They accomplish this rarely tasted achievement by using two designated Guinness taps (i.e., they are separate from the rest of the taps on the bar) and keeping the kegs directly under the bar so that the lines remain as short as possible and the beer remains as fresh as possible. A common foul in most bars, long lines to the keg from the tap allow beer to sit in the lines and spoil lending a skunky flavor to the drink. When a Guinness is ordered at Durty Nelly’s, the glass is first filled ¾ of the way and left for a bit to settle, at which point it is filled the rest of the way and served; the process generally takes 2-3 minutes. Originally, when Guinness was stored in casks, this double pour process served to mix some of the older stout with the newer ensuring a fresh taste while not putting any beer to waste. Today, the double pour method guarantees a creamy, tasty head atop the pint.

Of course, Durty Nelly’s has many other beers available as well as a full liquor bar. The Bass Ale is especially fresh, flavorful and surprisingly fruity. Ordering a Black and Tan will get you a glass filled with Bass on the bottom half and Guinness on the top. The pub is one of the few places in Gainesville to offer Magners Irish Cider on draft. This fantastic cider is great on its own or mixed with Harp in a Snakebite. Additionally, Magners and Guinness (known as a Black Velvet) make a very tasty combination especially when a shot of Chambord raspberry liquor is added upon request.

On most Friday and Saturday nights, Durty Nelly’s features live traditional Irish music. There are about a dozen performers who rotate through the calendar each year. Many of these very talented musicians travel throughout the southeast (or the entire east coast) playing at Irish pubs along the way—Durty Nelly’s is their only stop in Gainesville.  On select weekend and weekday nights, the pub brings in locally or nationally acclaimed Americana and rockabilly groups. There is generally a cover of between $3.00-$5.00 on the nights when live music is performed, but patrons can usually avoid the cover by arriving before 9:00 PM.

A first time visitor to Durty Nelly’s will notice a stark difference in the clientele there compared to many clubs and bars in downtown Gainesville. The crowd is on average a bit more mature which lends to a more laid back, neighborhood-pub feel, and the bartenders are professional, friendly, and well acquainted with the regulars and their friends.

For more info: Visit Durty Nelly’s located at 208 W University Avenue.