I confess that bangers and mash is not something I had ever craved. A pint of Guinness, or perhaps a black and tan, to wash down a corned beef sandwich, sure. But bangers and mash–it just sounds, well, gray and bland. But then my husband switched his allegiance from the Irish stew, and I heard the words “bangers and mash” come out of his mouth. Now that I’ve had a taste I can assure you they are neither gray nor bland. At Coleman’s, the locally made sausages (bangers in Irish speak) are flavorful and spicy, perfectly complementing the homemade mashed potatoes covered with dark, rich onion gravy. I’m hooked.
Of course, I’m hooked on this Irish pub, one of Syracuse’s oldest, for a lot of reasons. Nestled on Tipperary Hill, Coleman’s remains close to the heart of the neighborhood it’s been part of since 1933. However, it’s also grown up, and out, as it passed from generation to generation. No longer a small little working man’s bar, there is now a full restaurant, a lovely inside porch (hey, this is Syracuse, the weather we’re known for is not particularly balmy), and for those brief summer days, there’s a small patio. I have to say, in the warmth of summer nothing beats a cold pint on the patio, overlooking Syracuse’s West Side skyline in the distance.
Coleman’s atmosphere morphs depending on the time. Weekday meal times you’ll find the restaurant, a cozy space around the back of the bar area, is the main attraction. Stop by on a Friday or Saturday evening after 10 pm and the bar is rocking with some excellent bands and a mostly 40-and-under crowd. I find Coleman’s at its best on Sunday afternoons when it’s comfortably populated with people of all ages—grandparents with their children and grandchildren are not uncommon—listening to Irish music and hoisting an ale or a stout, or a milk. When my son was young we often followed up a Sunday visit to the nearby Burnet Park Zoo with a snack at Coleman’s. He even taught the bartender, recently arrived from Ireland, how to make a vanilla milkshake.
Whatever time you go to Coleman’s, pull up stool at the long wooden bar, always staffed by friendly bartenders and stocked with an excellent choice of Irish beers and whiskeys, and you’ll be made to feel at home. For a bite to eat, their menu runs the gamut from pub fare including fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Reubens and burgers, to full dinners of Guinness beef stew, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish roast chicken. Appetizers include a meat and cheese platter, smoked Irish salmon and Guinness onions rings, all delicious choices. There’s also plenty of options for those who want the Irish atmosphere but American food, including wings, mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders (freshly made), onion soup and pasta Primavera.