DINING: Sandwiches are aces—and the fish is golden—at Irish pub

McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn

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Dining - A&E

About 2-1/2 months’ worth of St. Patrick’s Days ago, what is now McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn (2533 E. Washington St., 632-0696) opened for business.

ae-goldenace-apb-15col.jpgQuality and price are right at the legendary Irish bar McGinley’s Golden Ace Inn. (IBJ Photo/ Aaron P. Bernstein)

That was 1934 and, by the looks of it, the menu hasn’t changed much—at least, price-wise. Factor in quality, and you’ll agree that limiting your Golden Ace visits to that wearing-o’-the-green holiday is foolish.

At the Golden Ace, you don’t have to spend much time thinking about what you are going to order. You’ve got five sandwiches, a trio of soups and fish (on Friday only, of course) to choose from. Come on the right night and you’ll have to order over live Irish music—Paddy Reilly, Brigid’s Cross, The Mickey Finns and many more have played through.

Come when we did, though—on a midweek lunch hour—and you are more likely to find pleasant conversation or comfortable quiet as recorded music gently, evocatively, plays. “Goodbye, my Boston beauty/Farewell my Boston rose …”

The music seems to come out of the walls, not the speakers—from the framed posters that could be from 1965 or last year, through the stained glass McGinley coat of arms, or from the World War II V-for-Victory sign behind the bar. That same authenticity permeates the justifiably praised, hand-formed, generously topped Hamburger ($3.75) or the piled-high Beef Bar B Que ($4).

Preceding them, we enjoyed the brothy Bean Soup ($1.50/$2), with plenty of floating onion shreds, and a meat-focused Chili ($2.25/$3.25). Sodas are poured out of a can into your glass. Cash is the only form of payment accepted. And the last Friday of the month means a conversion of the bar into the most intense trivia contest in Indy.

I returned on a Friday for the Fish Sandwich ($4.50), a perfectly cooked filet lightly breaded, fried and served hot with just enough lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce to accentuate without getting in the way. Like the burger, it put to shame most double-the-cost sandwiches elsewhere, even if the Golden Ace sides its versions with only a sprinkling of unpretentious potato chips.•

—Lou Harry


Last in a month-long series of game-piece restaurant reviews (OK, we know—“Ace” is a stretch.) Next week, we explore new eateries in area malls—and chow down at the Indiana State Fair, of course.


  • Duke's right!
    I have also really enjoyed your restauarant reviews...I have several places to try thanks to you. Much appreciated.
  • Salute to Lou
    Have much enjoyed your recent reviews of such dining spots as this one.
    • Golden Ace
      Great (although different) bowl of chili. The excellent cheeseburger goes well with it. A real landmark in Indy. I am always amazed when telling someone about the Ace and they already know of it.

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    1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

    2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

    3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

    4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

    5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.