The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant opened its doors to the public on December 3, 2014. Last month we sat down with co-founder Michael McMahon who shared with us his story and challenges to see his dream come true “My friend and co-founder Rolando Canales and I worked together at another Irish Pub in 1999. We always wanted to have our own business, to be partners…and that was the goal for a few decades. It took us a longtime to get here,” he says.

Michael was born and raised in Ireland, and his partner Rolando is originally from El Salvador. They had both been working in Irish pubs for several years, and together they shared a dream: to own their own Irish Pub. When they were ready, they settled for the corner of 2500 Columbia Pike because “it looked
like an Irish corner” Michael says. It’s common in a lot of towns and villages in Ireland to see corner pubs “to be in the corner of the block or street”, he adds. He also likes that Columbia Pike is an up-and coming area where there’s a mix of people from all walks of life that are reflected in his clientele from young professionals to families, military, retirees, and everything in between. “It’s a great area to be in business,” ” Michael says, and he attributes his
success to the “very happy and friendly atmosphere” that welcomes his customers. “We love seeing people coming in. The drawings there” he refers to a wall with children’s drawings, which we saw earlier…“That’s our proud wall” he adds and smiles.

The last couple of years since the pandemic started have been challenging to most small businesses, but thanks to the community’s support, a lot of local gems have been able to stay afloat. Michael is deeply grateful for his customers supporting his business during the worst months of the pandemic, with take-out and outdoor seating they were able to stay open. He is also grateful for the big impact the County made by easing restrictions, to the government for providing PPP loans, and especially to his staff, as they were key to staying open.

Fish and Chips is the most popular item on the menu, but for meat lovers, there is a variety of options to choose from, these are Michael’s recommendations: Guinness stew, lamb stew, steak and sandwiches, and you can’t miss the prime rib night on Fridays and the corned beef and cabbage, the latest is cooked in house with thicker cuts than other Irish restaurants. Hiring staff over the past few months has been very challenging but once the restaurant is at full staff capacity Michael and Rolando plan to bring back their popular Sunday brunch. To the question about any plans for expansion Michael says, “time will tell….”

The Celtic House is open every day from 11:00 AM to 1:30 AM, you can enjoy live music year-round on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 PM to 12:30 PM and for those looking for something more traditional, visit them every Thursday from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM for an Irish Session.

Visit The Celtic House 
2500 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Virginia 22204
Follow on Social Media: @celtichouse_va and @TheCetlicHouseIrishPubandRestaurant