“Many people die of thirst but the Irish are born with one.”

-Spike Milligan

There are great drinking establishments all across the world, but none is so welcoming as the Irish pub. Local entrepreneurs Matt Geiger and Jim Poolman noticed this during their jetset lifestyles, as no matter where they landed they always found themselves in one. That’s why they decided to open up Blarney Stone in Bismarck ten years ago. It’s not the most Irish city, Bismarck, not so much as Dublin or Boston at least, but as a jewel in the Midwest’s landscape it too deserved a fine Irish pub.

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Walk into Blarney Stone and you’ll feel like you’ve actually set foot in Ireland. Its dark stained wooden furniture, flickering fireplace, brick archways, and warm, authentic decor make precisely the kind of setting in which you could write Ulysses or plot the Easter Rebellion. Bismarck’s weather is far nicer than Ireland’s, where it’s either raining or just about to. That’s why Blarney Stone’s courtyard is open year round. (Although needless to say its door is closed this time of year.)

To imagine a building in Ireland, let alone a pub, without great drink would be impossible. Picking one draft to enjoy out of Blarney Stone’s 30 on tap seems unfair, so it’s better to have more than one. Blarney Stone’s house beer Finnegans Irish Amber is a good place to start, after which you can experiment with new drafts like Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale, Surly’s Todd the Axe Man, or Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar. (Guinness, naturally, is ever present at Blarney Stone.) The pub has got every variety of the stronger stuff, including a vast, if not almost daunting, selection of whiskeys. Their whiskey sampler can help you to hone in on your new favorite brown liquor. And if you would prefer a cocktail, a freshly blended elixir such as the Irish bulldog, the Irish trash can, and the Celtic cooler is certain to curl your toes.

Great drink without great food would be a crime, but Blarney Stone doesn’t commit it. Everything on their menu is prepared from scratch, and includes traditional fare as well as dishes with a more familiar American twist to them. Purists will love Blarney Stone’s cheesy shepherd’s pie, beer battered fish and chips, bangers and mash with authentic Irish sausages, and corned beef and cabbage, a requisite for any self-respecting Irish pub. Irish nachos made with waffle fries instead of corn chips make a great start to a meal, or a meal in and of themselves, and delicious Irish egg rolls represent one of the rare fusions of Celtic and Chinese cuisine. They are one of Blarney Stone’s most popular dishes!

Nothing Blarney Stone serves, however, quite tops the tender prime rib they put on every Tuesday from 5:30pm until they’ve run out. Served au jus with creamy horseradish dijon and choice of side, it’s well worth going in early to reserve your plate.

A place like Blarney Stone is obligated to pull out all the stops in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. This March the pub will festoon itself in green decorations, treat celebrants to live music and lucky charms, and offer the food and drink specials one needs to properly honor the man who drove all the snakes out of Ireland. It’s a barn burner of a party!

Blarney Stone Irish Pub is located at 408 E Main Ave in downtown Bismarck. You can learn more about the area’s only authentic Irish pub at blarneyirishpub.com.


Happy Hours at Blarney Stone Irish Pub

Early Happy Hour

3pm – 6pm Monday through Friday 

$2 off drafts                      

$1 off bar pours

$1 off house wine          

Discount select appetizers

Late Happy Hour

All day Sunday! 9pm – close Monday through Saturday 

$1 off drafts

$1 off bar pours

$1 off house wine     

Discount appetizers


By David Scheller