By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- Cool, quiet and comfortable, McGarvey's Pub in downtown Vero Beach is an excellent place to catch up with friends and chow down on good food.
The restaurant opened last November and has listened to its clientele, developing a solid basic menu with a few specialty items that are filling and tasty.
Stepping into the pub from the busy street is like stepping into a place where time doesn't matter and the only agenda that exists is to relax and enjoy. The restaurant ambiance is enhanced by smooth jazz, rhythm and blues, and other music.
The décor of deep purple paint and wallpaper, framed art, black tables and cushioned booths do not compete for attention, making it very easy to focus on the people in your dining party.
A unique aspect of McGarvey's Pub is the absence of television screens, something that was entirely purposeful, said co-owner Mike O'Laughlin.
"We wanted it to be a nice meeting place for people to come, eat dinner and have conversation and enjoy the craft and European beers we have on tap," he said.
Many other bars, restaurants and pubs in town have television screens that show sports or news shows, and even if the shows are muted, they distract people from having conversation with the people they came to the restaurant with, Mr. O'Laughlin said.
With various genres of music piped in for subtle background noise, interacting with dinner guests becomes much easier, he said.
Good food has a lot to do with having a good time at any restaurant and McGarvey's Pub is no different.
A fun starter is the Hungarian cheese spread, which is served with sliced vegetables, such as cucumbers, peppers and carrots, olives and crackers. For an extra fee, liverwurst can be added to the appetizer.
Frankfurters, grilled cheese and a Hungarian Rueben are among the items on the menu, as are the unique items goulash and mushroom paprikas.
Fresh mashed potatoes, German sauerkraut, pickles and spaetzle noodles are also on the pub menu.
None of the dishes offered at McGarvey's Pub are fried, so instead of French fries, homemade coleslaw is offered as a side with sandwiches.
Salads and chili are also available at both lunch and dinner.
Dessert at McGarvey's Pub is made by Phyllis Kelsey, co-owner.
A generous slice of apple cake topped with whipped cream is the perfect ending to a casual meal. The cake was moist and sweet and not too heavy for a fruity dessert treat.
Happy hour specials are offered from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Beer and wine are served until 1 a.m.
McGarvey's Pub is located at 1925 Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach. For more information, call (72) 774-8646.