Welcome to the Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar
With authentic Irish and British Isles food made from scratch, a full bar, an extensive Irish and Scottish whisky menu, and a family-friendly atmosphere, McCarthy’s is THE place for a true Celtic experience in the Lehigh Valley. Created to preserve Irish family traditions and memories passed down through generations, it is a perfect place to celebrate life’s special events and everyday happenings.
Since I grew up in Northern Ireland, in the village of Lambeg in County Antrim (10 miles from Belfast) where the influence of both Irish and Scottish cultures, cuisine and humour were fairly equal, it’s appropriate that my pub and restaurant would reflect this upbringing and background. We opened Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room and bakery back in 1997 to share the hospitality, foods and culture that I grew up with. The idea of growing the cafe into a pub was always a possibility in the back of my mind.
For almost 15 years, the Cafe grew from a Bakery & Tea Room into a restaurant — minus the alcohol — following trends of great cafes like Betty’s Tea Room in Harrowgate in Northern England and the Avoca Cafe in Ireland.
Any guest or visitor to my house in Lambeg, County Antrim, had to be served a pot of tea and some kind of home baked treat. My Granny McCarthy, who did a lot of my rearing, made sure I knew the proper way to make the tea.
I was accustomed to providing hospitality (even at an early age) to anybody who came to my house. The origins of hospitality and recipes used at Granny McCarthy’s came from my upbringing, baking, and the personalities of my Mother and Grandmother — all the lessons and priorities I learned from my family.
In 2013, McCarthy’s morphed into McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar — adding the Red Stag emblem from the McCarthy Coat of Arms to the name. The name change indicated our intention to keep our customers’ favourites, but we also had a vision to significantly expand our offerings. We created our menu to become that of a true British Isles style Gastro Pub and Restaurant — retaining the best qualities of the original Granny McCarthy’s Restaurant while adding more great family favourites and dishes inspired by Irish and Scottish cuisines. The evolution is a unique blend of pub and restaurant with the desserts, breads and teas of a traditional Irish Tea Room in the space of a great destination — complemented by an amazing collection of whiskey, beer, and cocktails. Slainte!
A Celtic Destination: No Passport Required
Our vision for McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub was to give our guests an authentic experience of the Irish and Celtic culture that they could not find anywhere else in the Lehigh Valley (or elsewhere!). From the freshest homemade Irish food such as a boxty and scones, to our hand-selected loose tea and whiskeys (not to mention the live Celtic music!). Our mission is to provide a unique, stress-free dining atmosphere where friends come together. Our warm, attentive service in a lively, fun atmosphere makes you feel right at home.
The Origin of Our Recipes
Many of our original recipes came from a bundle of handwritten notes from my mother’s handbag that I found when she died. Many other recipes came from family members or friends.
The Brown Bread Pilgrimage
When Granny McCarthy’s opened in 1997, I felt it was important to make the very BEST Brown (wheaten) Bread (outside of Ireland), so after a week of tasting brown bread ALL OVER IRELAND, we ended up with a recipe from The Lifeforce Mill in Cavan. Their wholemeal and oats were locally grown and ground to make their bread. Eventually we figured out our own mixture of locally grown organic grains right here in Pennsylvania (which we feel is second to none in the U.S.).
Love our bread? We’ve developed our own fool-proof mix — not only for Brown Bread, but Soda Bread, Shortbread and also several of our scones.
In our 20 years of existence, we have developed many great concepts based on traditional ideas, such as out Eggs Paddywac and The Punjab Paddy. These two breakfast dishes, which incorporate the Northern Ireland Potato Farl (in Scotland it’s a Potato or Tatty Scone), are variations on Eggs Benedict (we even offer a vegetarian version). We offer our own Jamison Whiskey BarBQ sauce, and a Guinness Mustard Sauce, both of which are incredible on Chicken Wings or Chips (french fries, the Irish way). We were required (naturally!) as an authentic Irish Pub to serve amazing Fish n’ Chips with a made-fresh Smithwicks’ Beer Batter, Bangers and Mash with our homemade onion gravy, and Cottage Pie (Shepherd’s Pie, made with beef).
Sweet Traditions Made at The Pub
Since my mother’s family loved to bake, I grew up with fabulous home cooking, and especially great desserts. All of our breads and desserts are made onsite, and we use our knowledge of authentic Irish and British Isles Cuisine to develop new dishes and drinks on an ongoing basis. Our amazing selection of teas infuse our Creme Brulees and truffles. Pair anything with coffee from a french press —just as you could get it in Ireland.
The key to our cuisine is that it’s almost completely made from scratch and it’s a unique spin on the nouveau Irish/British Isles style (which has transformed itself completely in the past 20 years). The ideas of great Celtic chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Darina Allen, combined with my McCarthy family traditions, have been allowed us to create a dynamic menu with lots of fresh ideas.