Scoring some "craic" in Fishers 

Pub favorites and fun on tap at Fionn MacCool's

Terry Kirt

Pub favorites and fun on tap at Fionn MacCool’s

Terry Kirts
An appetizer of black pudding ($7.50), a type of blood sausage
Family-friendly Fishers isn’t exactly the locale you’d peg for the next authentic Irish pub to set up shop. With row upon row of spiffy strip-malls built to emulate small-town street scenes of yore, this is more the province of genteel window shopping than raucous taverns meant for beer quaffing and stick-to-your-ribs eats. Indeed, a number of kid-oriented businesses dot the block where Fionn MacCool’s, the aggressively genuine new alehouse on Indy’s far Northside, opened to great fanfare and buzz a month or so ago. Clearly, the locals are in favor of a venue for a bit more mature behavior. The place was literally crammed to the gills on a Friday night, and the hostess said we’d have to take a bizarre vibrating pager with us and wait upwards of 45 minutes or fend for ourselves at the bar. Luckily, we were able to muscle into a couple of seats near the tap that, while putting us close to throngs of happy smokers, allowed us a surprisingly swift meal with friendly, no-nonsense service. It’s hard to believe this place isn’t a chain. Logos on the plates, a whole line of MacCool’s merchandise and a graphics-intensive Web site ( had us asking our bartender if this was, in truth, the only eatery of its kind. Buttery yellow walls, a judicious number of framed signs for Irish whiskeys and lagers and TV screens broadcasting some pretty obscure college soccer games showed how much energy had gone into making this an honest-to-goodness pub like any you’d walk into in Belfast or Dublin. The menu even schooled us in some Irish slang, promising plenty of “craic” (pronounced like “crack”), which loosely translates as “merriment” or “fun.” Thankfully, the lively clientele did lend the place a good measure of “craic.” True to form, this “public house” allowed for a lot of random but good-spirited conversations, as fellow diners turned to ask us just what we were eating and how we liked it. Hoping to taste some bona fide Irish victuals we couldn’t get anywhere else in town, we headed first for an appetizer of black pudding ($7.50), a type of blood sausage, even though the bartender’s face dropped when we asked about it. “Some people like it” was all the encouragement she could offer. Far from a culinary curiosity, this starter offered a few thin slices of the quite mild sausage with sort of odd bedfellows for accompaniments. Deep-fried apple fritters were fine on their own, as was a sweet-tart red onion marmalade. But the somewhat jangling combination was a little dry and wanting a sauce or some other element to bring everything together. Good thing we had our pints of Bass and Boddington’s, a super-creamy pub ale. A cup of Causeway clam chowder ($3.50) with a good whiff of the sea provided an interlude that was a little less heavy with cream and butter than most chowders. A hint of sherry and perhaps a frond or two of dill showed that the kitchen at MacCool’s wasn’t just heading for the typical recipe here. With that in mind, we went for two classic pub-grub standards for entrées to see where MacCool’s might depart from the ordinary. The winner here was clearly the fish and chips, which for a mere $10 provided a whopping half pound of cod that was quite creamy and rich inside a crisp Bass ale batter. Tartar sauce with a distinct flavor of horseradish helped to add a gentle kick. “Chips” here were actually more what we’d think of as chips on this side of the ocean: flat, fried rounds of sliced potatoes. Unfortunately, these were inconsistently crisp, with some almost crunchy and others quite limp. Shepherd’s pie ($11) promised a hearty stew with plenty of kicked-up champ, a spicy Irish version of mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, the shepherds in Fishers tend flocks of cattle, not sheep, and the meat was rather mealy ground beef with little flavor, save for some sweet parsnips and carrots in the mix. The champ came as a big dollop in the middle of the crockery dish. A bit stiff, though quite piquant and well-seasoned, it provided the bulk of the flavor in this freeform “pie.” Despite all of the professional touches, desserts are courtesy of the fine folks at Atkins, famous for its cheesecakes. The bread and butter pudding ($5.50), though a bit variably warm and cool from re-heating, was sweet and dense with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a gooey topping of chopped nuts. By this point, Hog Eye Navvy, one of Indy’s most beloved Celtic and early American bands, had the place brimming over with an intoxicating mixture of harmony and “craic.” The wait staff even took the time to change the channels on omnipresent TVs to broadcast images of the band to all corners of the bar. Maybe the folks of Fishers did get this whole pub thing after all. Fionn MacCool’s 8211 E. 116th St. 317-863-2100 hours Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Sunday: 10 a.m.-midnight Food : 3.5 Stars Atmosphere : 3.5 Stars Service : 3.5 Stars

Around the Web


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

This Week's Flyers

About The Author

Terry Kirts

More by Terry Kirts

Today's Best Bets | All of today's events

Around the Web

All contents copyright © 2016 NUVO Inc.
3951 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Website powered by Foundation