The Celt Pub and Grill is the newest eatery/bar in Idaho Falls, and has been hyped up for the better part of a year.
Finally, FINALLY they opened, and were instantly packed. So much so they had to limit the amount of people coming in, and received some backlash.
I decided to wait a few weeks before doing, so the crowds can calm down and the restaurant can find their groove. I'm wondering if I didn't wait long enough??
I checked first, and they recommended reservations. My girlfriend and I were doing a double-date on Friday night, so I made the reservation for us. Four people, seven pm. Easy peasy. (...right?)
We showed up, the place was packed, and they didn't have a table for us. The owner/manager (or the oldest host I've ever met) came up to us, welcomed us and basically told us it's a free-for-all, get in where you can.
I told him we made a reservation for a table. His answer? "Well, a lot of people make reservations." After seeing us glare at him, he went to go look for a table.
As we were seated, we noticed two major things:
- No queue area, where you can easily wait to be seated. It went from door to madness instantly, with about 3 feet of foyer. The second we stepped inside we were in people's ways.
- HORRIBLE crowd noise. It's a hardwood floor, hardwood bar and high ceilings, with very poor acoustics. You could hear everyone's conversation but the people right next to you.
...meh. We grinned and beared it.
Kilts in Ireland, Wales etc didn't catch on until the 20th century, so I see kilts as a Scottish thing...
The reception was poor (being brushed off as you walk in the door? NOT cool). The service was below-average. The food was good (4 out of 5 stars) but their menu selection was very minimal. I had a 'Cajun Jameson Burger,' marinated in Jameson Whiskey, covered in cajun spices and topped with kroeger-brand shredded cheddar cheese (big pile in the middle, wafer-shreds on the sides). The burger tasted good, but the Jameson was the only 'Celtish' thing about it. I was expecting something more... I dunno... Irish? Pasties, Stew, Bangers, not burgers and pastrami sandwiches.
The Celt is more bar than bar & grill... If there's a next time, I'm just going for drinks.
On a bar level, there are better choices in town. The mixed drinks here are WAY overpriced and the bar atmosphere is a half-assed copy of other places in town.
"We have bigscreens like a sports bar!" Yeah, but not many and they were all turned to obscure sports nobody cared about.
"We have a dartboard like a pub!" Yeah, one. Other bars in this area have at least three, because some people in town are big on darts.
"We have a pool table!"
Unless you're a rude drunk douchebag...
Meet PWT, who looked a LOT like Christina Aguilera pictured here. She had big boobs, bleach-blonde hair, and you could tell she had on some Spanx to suck that gut in.
Man oh man, she looked like a can of biscuits ready to burst... and she thought she was the hottest person in the building.
She wants to make a shot, but our table is in the way. She says "sorry" and tries to work around us. After a few seconds, she turns around again and says "I said I'm sorry, now are you going to be rude about it or are you gonna move out of my way?"
|Oh no you di'int...|
The vibe was getting more and more tense, and I was expecting one of the girls at my table to start a chick fight. Her date, Mr "Miller High Life" felt the tension too but didn't care. She keeps talking trash about us, we keep talking about her, and finally we left before hair was pulled and Spanx burst from a pressure overload...
While she was absolutely rude about the situation, I blame The Celt for not planning their layout any better than they did. Stack a full table of diners next to a pool table, add booze, and it's a recipe for disaster.
Especially since you had such a skewed customer base there... There were well-to-do people eating there, enjoying wine and a (semi) nice meal to the tune of $75+, but you also had drunken hillbilly bar-hoppers trying to start fights.
Bad, bad mix.
All in all, I have to rate The Celt as 'meh.' 2.5, MAYBE 3 stars out of 5. It's in a historic spot and the food was ok. My girl and I had a decent meal and 2 beers each, and the ticket (after 20% tip, I don't know why...) was still under $40. If they expand their menu, maybe make it a little more authentic, and figure a way to keep the diners and the drunkies happy (and separate) they will do a better job. Otherwise, when the allure of a new hangout fades, their business will too.
As for me, if I want a pub done right I'll head over to the Stone of Accord in Missoula. Irish food, Irish spirits, and a much much MUCH better experience overall. Sadly, The Celt doesn't compare to a good Irish pub... but a lot of Eastern Idahoans probably don't know what they're missing.