Oh my Guinness 

A random sampling of the black stuff around Orlando

Blame it on the season: It was midafternoon and we were looking for a good excuse to get out of the office and have a beer. It's nearly St. Patrick's Day, so why not embark on a mini pub crawl to compare pints around town? Below you'll find our very unscientific survey – a random sampling of the world's most famous Irish stout at a smattering of Irish (and one English) bars not far from downtown. Sure, there are plenty more places you could go to enjoy a proper Guinness – Claddagh Cottage, anyone? – but we can only drink so much in one afternoon. Read our ratings below to get a taste of what's out there, then go to orlandoweekly.com and tell us your favorite place to tip back a pint.

The Harp and Celt Restaurant - 4 Glasses

and Irish Pub

25 S. Magnolia Ave.

407-481-2928

harpandcelt.com

Guinness temperature: 43.3 degrees Fahrenheit

Is beer allowed to rest before pint is fully pulled? Yes

Does bartender pour shape of shamrock into beer foam? No

Is beer served in a tulip-shaped glass? Yes

Can I get a shot of whiskey on the side? Yes

What's on TV? Soccer

Is there music? Loud '90s alternarock: Offspring, Rage Against the Machine

Price of a pint: $4.25

Bar ambience: Traditional Irish public house meets downtown watering hole. Wooden booths, long tables and lots of natural wood make the space feel warm and low-key, even when the music gets loud and aggressive.

Comments: Nice, neat pint; perfectly domed head; creamy and satisfying.

The Bull & Bush Pub - 3 Glasses

2408 E. Robinson St.

407-896-7546

thebullnbush.com

Guinness temperature: 41.4 degrees Fahrenheit

Is beer allowed to rest before pint is fully pulled? Yes

Does bartender pour shape of shamrockinto beer foam? No

Is beer served in a tulip-shaped glass? Yes (one with a Halloween pumpkin, one from St. Patrick's Day 2009)

Can I get a shot of whiskey on the side? No – this bar is beer and wine only

What's on TV? ESPN plays quietly on two unobtrusive TVs behind the bar

Is there music? Not on this visit – only the sounds of people playing games, talking and drinking

Price of a pint: $4 during Tea Time (their happy hour: roughly 4-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday)

Bar ambience: Cozy English pub known for its properly poured Guinness pints, which don't disappoint. Real darts in the back of the room, freshly laundered towels on the bar and a friendly bartendress.

Comments: This may be an English pub, and that might be considered sacrilege on St. Patrick's Day, but the pints are perfectly poured, the barroom is comfortable and intimate, and the atmosphere is just right for savoring a Guinness. The only thing that kept this from being a perfect Guinness-drinking experience in every way is that the room was a bit smoky for our liking.

Finnhenry's - 3 Glasses

34 N. Orange Ave.

407-648-0100

finnhenrys.com

Guinness temperature: 40.8 degrees Fahrenheit

Is beer allowed to rest before pint is fully pulled? Yes

Does bartender pour shape of shamrockinto beer foam? No

Is beer served in a tulip-shaped glass? Yes

Can I get of a shot of whiskey on the side? Yes

What's on TV? Basketball

Is there music? Nonthreatening, album-oriented, sing-along pop-rock: John Cougar, TLC

Price of a pint: $5

Bar ambience: A spacious, pretty room with very cosmopolitan set-dressing: 1950s-style black-and-white tile floors, faux-tin ceilings, chalkboards in the bathrooms. Feels almost like a bar you'd come across in a train station or a movie.

Comments: There's no such thing as a bad Guinness, of course, but this one just wasn't quite as satisfying. Perhaps it's because the beer was a bit colder than we like or the pour was a bit sloppy, with foam running down the side of the glass, and no coaster or towel was provided to soak up the condensation that accumulated on the table.

Paddy Murphy's Irish Pub - 2 Glasses

and Restaurant

4982 New Broad St.

407-622-4700

originalpaddymurphys.com

Guinness temperature: 41.5 degrees Fahrenheit

Is beer allowed to rest before pint is fully pulled? Briefly

Does bartender pour shape of shamrockinto beer foam? No

Is beer served in a tulip-shaped glass? Yes

Can I get a shot of whiskey on the side? Yes

What's on TV? Baseball, mostly, though a couple are playing what looks like ESPN or Sports Center

Is there music? Live band: older guys playing classic rock covers

Price of a pint: $5

Bar ambience: American sports bar with Irish pub theme. It's pretty hoppin' on a Friday night, and the crowd ranges from baby boomers out for a night on the town to clean-cut 20-somethings meeting for drinks.

Comments: This is a nice, creamy Guinness that seems to have been correctly poured, though the head foamed over the glass on the trip from the bar to our table a few feet away. The barroom is celebratory, but it lacks that authentic pub feel that makes a Guinness feel that much more satisfying.

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