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Universal Studios Florida – New York: Finnegan's


What: Irish pub and sit-down restaurant
Where: On Fifth Avenue across from Revenge of the Mummy
Price Range: $$

Finnegan's has two parts and two personalities. The first is a full-fledged Irish pub complete with live entertainment and walls crowded with beer and liquor ads and offbeat memorabilia. Cozy up to the antique bar and order a yard of ale if that's your pleasure, or choose from a classy selection of domestic and imported beers. Guinness stout, Harp lager, and Bass ale are available on draught. Hard cider and wine are also available. Cementing the "neighborhood bar" feel are unbeatable happy hour specials (typically 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily for $3.50 domestic drafts and well liquor) and first-rate bartenders who'll remember your name.

The other half of Finnegan’s is a full-service restaurant hidden behind the false facades of the New York lot. The decor here is pared down and perfunctory, reflecting the room’s other identity as a movie set. Fortunately, the food is anything but pared down or perfunctory. The theme is Irish and British Isles, with generously sized entrees to match. Appetizers (in the $6 to $8 range) include “Irish Chicken Stingers,” Cornish pasties, and Scotch eggs. The potato leek soup makes a great starter.

Among the entrees ($11 to $13, with sirloin steak at $22), Irish Times fish and chips is traditional, right down to the newspaper it’s served in. The shepherd’s pie is a juicy souvenir from the Emerald Isle, topped with perfectly browned mashed potatoes. There’s also bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes), Irish stew, and (of course) corned beef and cabbage. All entrees are accompanied by hearty steamed vegetables in a light nutmeg-tinged sauce.

For lighter appetites, there are sandwiches in the $10 to $12 range, and salads at $5 to $12. Mini-desserts served in tall skinny shot glasses are $1.75. Bet you can’t eat just one! By the way, these are the same desserts-in-a-glass served over at Mythos in Islands of Adventure.

Reservations can be made by calling (407) 224-3613 or online at OpenTable.com.

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Universal Orlando 2011


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