By November 2, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

O’Brians Tavern

O’Brians Tavern

By Kate Serpa

O’Brian’s Tavern was, up until this past week, completely off the radar for me. I had never previously been, and being the 95 year-old woman I often feel myself to be, I didn’t feel myself too inclined to try someplace new. How then do I adequately describe the fantastic welcoming feeling I got when I firstwalked into O’Brian’s? Well, it was midday Friday and I was rushing from school to the interview. It was terribly hot outside, and I was feeling burned out to begin with, so, once arriving at O’Brian’s I sat outside to have a cigarette…wait, my parents read this. Backtrack. I was sitting outside O’Brian’s to…not smoke, not smoke at all, and I swear to you it wasn’t three seconds before two regulars had engaged me in conversation. By the time I walked into O’Brian’s, I had met two new people, and by the time I left (and I am not being cliché here, people), I had a chorus of ‘goodbye Kate’ to salute me out.


A bar is what you make it and O’Brian’s does have an incredible set of regulars who are very vocally passionate about their favorite tavern. A lot of laughter was going on while I was there (and no, it was not directed at me) and everyone seems to know everyone, and everyone knows and loves Mary.


The lady who has been owning the lay-of-the-land behind the bar for the past four years is Mary Kline. You wouldn’t know this is her first bartending gig since she manages carrying on conversations with two people at either ends of thebar, while pouring a round of drinks, while looking fantastic, with such ease. I can barely walk in high heels and chew gum at the same time, let alone multitask like Mary. She told me she originally came here as a customer and was then asked if she would like to bartend. Mary is notshort of praise for O’Brian’s. She told about when she broke both of her arms and was out of commission for three months. She told me that every day, people from O’Brian’s would come and help her out. Mary stated, “These are my friends, and these are my family.”


O’Brian’s is incredibly fundraiser-friendly (this is not an exaggeration) and does much to show customer appreciation. Their calendar of events is so packed it could keep even the most introverted drinker busy for the month busy by default. Aside from their usual weekday happenings, cook offs are very common affair(including, but not limited to: ribs, soup, and chili), as are pool tournaments, customer’s birthdays (which I hear are quite the affair), themed costume parties, a semiannual Reno trip…take my word for it when I say the list is extensive. “We like to give our customers lots of opportunities to have fun,” stated Mary. No kidding. A list of O’Brian’s weekly events is included at the end of the article so you can clip it out and stick it on your fridge.


O’Brian’s opened in 1981 and is named for Brian Lee who owns the establishment, alongwith Donoby’s. Aside from the very well-priced well-stocked bar, O’Brian’s has its own pool league, where “the best shooters in Modesto play,” to work their cue-ball magic on the two pool tables, and dart boards, 7 HD TVs, each of which is showing a separate game, and is genuinely laid-back and completely unpretentious. Apparently also, Mary informed me, they make some good Bloody Marys. “She means,” a fellow bar-goer chimed, “the best Bloody Marys.” As a person who knows some really, really annoyingly picky Bloody Mary enthusiasts, I was sure to take note.


In short, I found O’Brian’s Tavern to be very casual, very personable, and a place I fully intend on visiting again.


P.S. Thank you Mary, Brian Lee, Tina Temple, and everyone at O’Brian’s for getting my derailed day back on track. And thank you John for the beer!


Monday Night Madness: 8-10pm, Pitcher specials

Monday Night Football Special: $1 domestics, and free hot link sandwiches during the game

2 forTuesday: Any two enormous drafts for $6

Wednesday- Industry Night: Buy 1 at regular price, the second is $1

Thirsty $3 Thursdays: Anything in house for $3 and karaoke night (an excellent combo if I do say so)

Wild Wacky Weekends: Fri-Sat, 9 pm-11 pm…. too many drink specials to list. Go find out yourself.

SuperStar Sunday: 7 pm- 9 pm, $1 domestic, $4 bombs of your choice. Be sure to come and catch the game; it serves up a fun crowd.


IrishApple – Ever-so appropriate for November, and for an Irish tavern

-Fill up a shaker with ice

– 3 counts of Jameson

– 3 counts of Apple Pucker

– Cranberry Juice

-Shake and strain into your preferred glass.

Honestly, I recommend just putting a straw in the shaker. These apples are so tasty you might as well cut out the middle-man-glass-pour.


O’Brian’s: 3619 Tully Rd., Modesto, CA


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