In Ireland, pubs are as important to local communities as churches. With origins as a meeting place for beers and casual conversation, Irish pubs grew to become extensions of their communities and reflections of the fun-loving culture.

The Irish brought these pubs to America—and it’s no surprise that they’ve become destinations for revelers of all nationalities. It’s also no surprise that we feel every town needs an Irish pub! Check out our top four reasons why.

1. It’s about camaraderie, not being Irish

While the mention of an Irish pub may stir up images of Celtic crosses and pints of Guinness, that’s not all there is to see and enjoy. Centuries ago, public houses popped up to fill people’s natural need for a space to casually converse and drink with peers. After a long workday, these watering holes became a meeting place for the working class to hang with friends and forget their troubles. While the idea of an Irish pub has drastically evolved since its inception in the early 1100s, you favorite pub is instantly recognizable by the laid-back patrons of all nationalities found within.

2. It’s a place to escape

Regulars tend to frequent traditional Irish pubs. With friendly banter between bar staff and customers, the vibe at Irish pubs is much more laid back than most American bars. In Irish pubs, bartenders and drinkers can be buddies and talk about anything freely, from the weather to sports to local chatter. It’s not only a place where people can forget their troubles, but a place where they can find an escape in new people and new friends sitting next to them at the bar. In fact, in traditional Irish pubs, it may be considered rude if you join a group of friends and do not buy a round of drinks.

3. The hearty food is representative of the culture

While Irish pubs are marked by Irish cuisine, a true Irish pub will adapt to its surroundings. Irish pubs didn’t always serve food, but the ones who did always made sure guests left with a full belly. Large portions and generous entrees sourced locally please patrons (and go great with a pint). At Kildare’s in West Chester, we serve classics such as Shepherd’s Pie alongside new spins like our Irish Craic Nachos, always made fresh.

4. You can count on great drinks

This one seems obvious: A great Irish pub serves up great drinks that go beyond pintsWhiskeys are a must, but so are seasonal cocktails and coffee, plus ciders. Those friendly bartenders we mentioned will point you in the right direction, and knowledgeable servers will help you pair your meal with just the right libation. Toast your friends—old and new!

At Kildare’s in West Chester, we love putting new spins on our Irish roots. Our menu is composed of Irish classic and modern favorites, we show soccer or rugby on the telly whenever possible and host live music and entertainment several nights of the week.

Kildare’s in West Chester is a destination: an authentic Irish pub that has something for everyone. We’re a place to bring the family for weekend brunch; cheer your favorite soccer (or American football) team; enjoy next-level fare at a business lunch, dinner with friends or special event; spend happy hour (questionable dance moves and all); and, of course, imbibe great beer, whiskey and other adult libations. Join us and find out why we’re not your average Irish pub.

Jay Breslin