‘Bushwaller’s is the gathering place in our community in Maryland’

‘Best Irish Pub in the World’ competition entry: Bushwaller’s, Frederick, Maryland, US

The Irish Times' Generation Emigration project is on the hunt for the best Irish pub in the world outside Ireland. The following is one of the entries we've received so far. To read more, or find out how to nominate your favourite Irish pub abroad, click here.

The best Irish pub I know in the US is not located in a big city known for its Irish population. Rather it is in a small historic town roughly 73 km outside of Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland. The city of Frederick in Maryland was founded by Irishman Patrick Delaney in 1745. A scant 236 years later, in September of 1981, two brothers opened Bushwaller’s.

Since then three others have owned the pub and each has put their own mark upon it. But what remains constant is its “Irish pubiness”.

Bushwaller’s is the gathering place in our community. When international news strikes we all head to the pub to get the latest and opine. When a community member passes away, we go to the pub to comfort one another. When someone has fallen upon hard times we organise fundraisers at the pub to help them out. The pub (which is how we simply refer to it) has raised money for friends, local charities and national organisations.


Bushwaller’s gives back to its regular customers too. Every Christmas the owner hands out gift certificates to the dozens of regulars. The amount of the gift certificate always equals the number of years the pub has been in business. The pub is good to us and we, we hope, are good to it.

Of course the food is wonderful. Of course the décor is beautiful. And the televisions are always showing rugby or football from across the pond. That goes without saying.

But what makes Bushwaller’s “the pub” is it’s people. We lovingly refer to ourselves as the “dysfunctional family” and are comprised of both patrons and staff. We come from all walks of life, range in age from 22 to 72, and are as diverse a group as they come.

There’s the 40-something business owner and family man, the 60-something retiree, the 20-something student, the lawyer, the park ranger, the business manager, the nurse, the real estate agent, the teacher, the rocket scientist (no, really, he’s a rocket scientist), the telecom manager, the cook, the beauty queen… the list goes on and on.

And the best part is, if it wasn’t for the pub, this particular group of people would never been friends. Fact is, we probably never would have met. It is the pub, and our love for it, that brings us together and keeps us together.

Bushwaller’s has another nickname. It’s affectionately known as our living room. We come here to laugh, cry, sing, share, dance, mourn, cheer, relax and enjoy a pint (of course).

Twenty-five years ago this month I walked into Bushwaller’s on the eve of my 21st birthday. I since have earned a degree, worked for the federal government, bartended, and traveled the county for my current job, but Bushwaller’s has remained my home. I hope to spend the next 25 years there as well.

Think your favourite pub abroad could claim the title of Best Irish Pub in the World (Outside Ireland)? Tell us about it by entering the competition here.