If you were a fan of Ronald Reagan, you can drink to his honor in his final resting place at the Reagan Presidential Library. If you weren’t a fan of Ronald Reagan, you can drink to the fact that he is dead, also in his final resting place. There’s truly something for everyone at the Ronald Reagan Irish Pub within the presidential library. And if you traveled a long way to visit, the pub probably traveled even farther.
Toward the end of his first term, then-president Reagan and his wife, Nancy, made a diplomatic trip to Ireland to not only bolster ties between the two countries, but also to pay ancestral homage.
With his father orphaned at a young age, Reagan spent much of his life unfamiliar with his paternal lineage. He later learned that his great-grandfather had been born in Ballyporeen, County of Tipperary. He made it a point on his visit to stop into the small village and pay his respects, and the couple was welcomed with the utmost Irish hospitality.
“Thanks to you and to the efforts of good people who have dug into the history of a poor immigrant family,” said Reagan, “I know at last whence I came. This has given my soul a new contentment and it is a joyous feeling. It is like coming home after a long journey.” Love him or hate him, he was an orator for the ages.
The goodwill visit became a media spectacle, with Reagan shaking many hands and even kissing a baby named after his wife. Longtime pub-owners John and Mary O’Farrell went as far as to rename their O’Farrell’s Pub “The Ronald Reagan Pub” to mark his visit. When the O’Farrells shuttered their bar’s doors in 2004, there was only one place for the pub to live on. After the interior was dismantled and shipped to Southern California, the O’Farrells themselves followed shortly thereafter for the grand reopening of Reagan’s pub in his presidential library.
Today, the Ronald Reagan Pub sits under the broad wings of Reagan’s retired Air Force One plane within his Southern California museum. Visitors can choose from a selection of premade salads and sandwiches, fudge made in the library’s kitchen, and, of course, a selection of beer and wine.
You do need to pay admission to the museum to visit the pub; however, you don’t need to agree with Reagan’s policies to enjoy a frothy Guinness at this storied watering hole.