Orlando’s most popular Irish Pub is full of surprises. Raglan Road is a must visit!
A good Irish pub must have the following five elements: good Irish food, good Irish drinks, good entertainment, welcoming Irish staff and authentic Irish design. When I mention Raglan Road Irish Pub located within Walt Disney World Resort, you may think it’s a watered down Irish “themed” restaurant meant to accommodate families with kids. And, not a “good Irish Pub” where you go for a rollicking good time. And, you would be wrong.
Nothing at Raglan Road is “watered down.” From the drinks to the food to the entertainment, it’s as strong as it gets. And yes, it’s still a great spot for families with kids and everyone else looking for an authentically Irish great time. Here are my 9 reasons why you must visit Raglan Road Irish Pub in Orlando.
Let the craic begin…
1. America’s Favorite Irish Pub.
Being in the bustling Disney Springs complex, you can bet Raglan Road is busy. In fact, it’s the busiest Irish pub in America, especially when you consider it sells the most pints of Guinness in the USA! But don’t let size fool you. It’s also warm and welcoming. The staff is friendly and treat you like you hope to be treated at a pub – like family. Their Irish accents get thicker as the night wears on. The place closes at 2am so if you hang out long enough you’ll either understand every word or none at all, kind of like family.
Oh and don’t let the Disney address fool you, Raglan Road is authentically Irish. There’s no Disney imagineering backstory here. Its Lake Buena Vista address makes it more accessible to the 70+million visitors that come to Orlando each year but Orlando locals love it just as much judged by the many “Best of Orlando” awards it has received over the years.
Raglan Road is owned and operated by Irish entrepreneurs John Cooke and Paul Nolan who had the entire bar built in Ireland piece by piece then shipped to America! Now it doesn’t get more authentic than that. John and Paul have hospitality in their blood and are actively involved to maintain every aspect of the highest quality. You’ll often spot them hanging around with a watchful eye – and a pint of Guinness in hand. The way it should be.
2. The Food: Classic Irish with a Twist.
Irish pubs are not known for their cuisine but trust me, you’ll want to go hungry to Raglan Road. The menu features traditional Irish dishes and new creations with a Celtic twist. Using high quality ingredients including local and Irish produce, and fish flown in daily, it’s a bit fancier than you’d expect. The names of the dishes are also fun.
Try the “Boaring” Burger, a giant wild boar patty topped with Cashel blue cheese, crispy onion strings, arugula, port & pear chutney with herb aioli served on a floury potato bun (I told you it was fancy!).
Grab a fork of “The Scallop Forest” – succulent Georges Bank scallops in a golden batter served with citrus lime dipping sauce & chili jam.
Share the “Rack of Heaven” slow roasted Guinness glazed full rack of baby back ribs. Of course you’ll find Fish & Chips – the recipe goes back 3 generations to John Cooke’s grandfather.
You’ll also find “Bangin’ Bangers & Mighty Mash” Guinness & onion bangers on mash topped with traditional onion gravy.
“Gnocchi Sea Gnocchi Do” handmade potato gnocchi, seared Georges bank scallops, crispy pork belly, tomatoes & kale in a white wine butter sauce. The flavor is spot on!
The menu was originally designed in partnership with Irish Master Chef Kevin Dundon when the restaurant opened in 2006. Although Dundon is no longer involved, the quality and creativity has remained. New dishes are introduced throughout the year so there’s always something new to try on your next visit.
3. The Entertainment: Straight from Ireland, Live Every Day.
One of the many things that sets Raglan Road apart is the high quality entertainment. You get live shows 7 days a week, including the Irish house band Raglan Roots Coalition, the Raglan Road Irish Dancers and a parade of guest performers.
The pub scouts talent in Ireland and gives them the opportunity to come perform at the famous pub for guests to enjoy a mostly 100% Irish cast that can at times include 30 performers at once!
If you’re seated in the outside patio, enjoy a more casual style of live entertainment with musicians playing every style of music.
Inside on the main stage, you’ll be drawn in by the lights, the video screen on stage, the band and the skilled dancers – and yes, some have even danced with The Lord of the Dance himself! (although they’ve far surpassed him I think!)
4. The Beer: It’s Cold & Plentiful.
You must talk beer when you talk about an Irish Pub. Raglan Road is no different and of course you will find “the Perfect Pint” of Guinness, Smithwicks Irish Ale, Harp Irish Lager, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, Magners Irish Cider and so much more.
But something you won’t find anywhere else is the selection of local craft Signature beers, some made exclusively for Raglan Road including Miriam’s Irish Coffee Stout by Coppertail Brewing Co, Bloomsday Pale Ale by Orange Blossom Brewing, Tri Wishes Grand Irish Red Ale by Crooked Can Brewing, Planted Strawberry & Lime Hard Cider by Keel & Curley Winery, Blagger Organic Blonde Larger, and Kings of Shoals NE Style IPA. Get a flight. You’ll want to sample more than one!
5. The Cocktails: Crafty & Creative.
There’s plenty of whiskey – over 30 Irish whiskeys alone plus American, Scotch, you name it, more than 100 total! Get a flight. But, vodka and gin lovers can enjoy Irish spirits too, most which you will likely not find elsewhere. Gunpowder Irish gin and Dingle gin, named the World’s Best Gin in 2019 – are rare to find in Orlando.
Raglan Road shines with their creative cocktails. Some of my favorites: “PJ’s Poison” is like a screwdriver and gin tonic got married and gussied up for a party. Gunpowder Irish Gin, muddled orange, rhubarb bitters, lemon juice, orange whiskey marmalade & fever tree tonic with an orange twist.
The Pride of the Peninsula, odd name but one of best GT’s around. Dingle Gin, Fever Tree Elderflower tonic, fresh mint and lime. Guaranteed you’ll drink more than one of these, especially on a hot Florida day.
The “Rosemary & Maple Whisky Sour” takes that simple concoction to a new level with Dickel 2 Tennessee Whisky, crushed rosemary, dark maple syrup, egg white & fresh lemon sour.
If you like Moscow Mules, you’ll have to go for the “Dublin Donkey” made with Teelings small batch Irish Whisky.
And if you need a coffee drink, they got two to give you a nice java jolt: The “Iced Irish” is “Ireland’s answer to Starbucks” – a dessert coffee shake with a boozy kick. Paddy’s Irish Whiskey, butterscotch schnapps and Baileys Salted Caramel with iced coffee topped with whipped cream. I’ve tried all the cocktails, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
6. The Desserts: You’ll want to save room.
Sweets at Raglan Road deserve their own category in my book. Disney Springs is a prime hotspot for a progressive night of dining. If you hopped around and dined elsewhere, you may want to finish up with heavenly desserts, drinks and live entertainment here. Raglan Road is a place to linger. The dessert flight is the way to go! Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding is like no other. There’s no words that would do justice to the taste of home-goodness. You may want to ask for more of the creme Anglaise and butterscotch sauce.
Chocolate Heaven flourless cake is exactly what the name implies – heavenly! If you love lemon desserts, don’t miss the Fluffy Lemon Clouds topped with a lovely meringue. Oh, did I mention the Raspberry Trifle and the Pavlova, they’re killer too! Like I said, get the flight!
7. The Design. Authentic, piece by piece.
The restaurant’s warm interior of aged walnut and mahogany woods was created from old Irish bars and churches, built in Ireland and shipped to Orlando. The pictures and artifacts throughout the restaurant belong to the owners or was curated by an Irish collector. You’ll find family photos and heirlooms, special inside jokes and collectibles from their Irish heritage. The small stage you see in the center of the dining room is the old pulpit from a church in Ireland (when I say old, it’s over 100 years old!).
Take the time to stroll around and take a closer look. The Music Room is full of unique finds such as music manuscripts pre-dating WWII. This may be at Disney but it is NOT just built for show, it’s as authentic as it gets.
Don’t miss “the snug”. Irish tradition dictated “the men drank in the bar, the women sipped in the snug.” Today, the snug is for everyone and it’s especially fun for groups.
There’s a few other hidden areas worth reserving. This semi-private booth is another area full of history to explore. The big portrait above depicts the inspiration for Raglan Road.
8. The Rollicking Raglan Brunch: a weekend must!
Every weekend, Raglan Road hosts The Rollicking Raglan Brunch from 9am – 3pm. You’ll enjoy live bands, the Raglan Road Dancers and a special brunch menu in addition to lunch dishes. For a traditional taste, go “Full Irish” breakfast with sausage, black & white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fried eggs with roasties.
For a lighter fare, the “Crab Attitude” will pick up your mood with handpicked Jonah crab benedict, soft poached eggs, wilted spinach on a toasted English muffin with a harissa spiced hollandaise.
The best name for avocado toast I’ve ever seen “Hipsters Lament” features generous amount of smashed avocado, Irish bacon & poached eggs on sourdough with chive butter.
You can’t have brunch without a Bloody Mary. And, Raglan Road has a mighty cure for the morning after blues. You can read more about it here in my list of Best Bloody Mary and Weekend Brunches in Orlando.
9. The Festivals & Celebrations!
Raglan Road knows how to throw a party! You know everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and if you can’t be in Dublin for the celebration, then The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival in Orlando’s Raglan Road is the place to be. The festival runs through the weekend and features round the clock lineup of talented musicians and dancers imported from Ireland together with the best of America – The Young Dubliners.
One festival per year is not enough for Raglan Road so on Labor Day Weekend, they host “The Great Irish Hooley Celebration”. More bands, more dancers, more food and drink! New Year’s Eve is another special time when you can ring in the New Year twice, first at 7pm (Midnight in Ireland) and then at our midnight.
Every year, Paul Nolan and John Cooke try to outdo themselves. Surprisingly, they succeed, making these festivals a reason alone to plan your trip to Orlando. New specialty beers and dishes are introduced as well as new shows with amazingly talented performers from Ireland. I loved The Byrne Brothers, a group of 3 young boys and their dad who were discovered on YouTube.
Lisa Canny, a dead-ringer for Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine, serves up killer vocals and a special mix of Irish folk and pop.
This year in time for St. Patrick’s Day, MACA, a trio of beautiful and talented sisters recently named “Ireland’s Most Talented Family” are engaging audiences with youthful energy.
Irish superstar Ben Gunnery makes his first appearance at the Mighty Festival. He’s toured internationally with every mayor Irish act including Riverdance, the Calgary Philharmonic, Celtic Legends and Dance Masters.
Of course, you can’t have Irish music without U2 and the tribute band ‘Elevation’ is a crowd favorite during the Hooley!
Have you visited Raglan Road? What’s your favorite reason to visit? My list only includes 9 but there’s room for much more.
If you haven’t been, go check it out. Stop in for a pint or a cocktail, share an appetizer or two and enjoy the entertainment. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself caught up in the craic hours later. It’s tough to beat the friendly, fun atmosphere. Ireland is at the top of my travel bucket list but until I get to #MakeSomedayHappen, I will enjoy every bit of Irish fun at Raglan Road.
Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at Disney Springs in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Visit www.raglanroad.com or call 407/938-0300.
Disclosure: I’ve been hosted by Raglan Road during media preview events, however I frequent this restaurant often at my own expense. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!