Restaurant Review: McDonagh’s Pub, Keyport, NJ

I’ve been frequenting McDonagh’s Pub for a little over a year now since I first moved down to Monmouth County, NJ. It’s an Irish pub/restaurant located in Keyport, NJ and it’s very popular with locals – for happy hour, game time, family dinner. I’ve gone here for dinner and drinks and for work happy hours and totally love this place. We were looking to have some good pub food and some cold beers so we headed over to McDonagh’s this past Saturday night. As expected it was quite crowded but we were seated immediately.

For appetizers, the husband had the Grilled Boneless Buffalo Wings (hot, although they may be ordered mild or BBQ-style) which he really enjoyed. It was three very large pieces of chicken served with a generous side of bleu cheese. I went with the Little Neck Clams – a dozen clams steamed with beer, garlic and basil. These were perfect and the broth was so delicious I had to stop myself from slurping it up.

Our entrees came with a choice of soup or salad and husband had the Manhattan Clam Chowder. He thought it was just okay and wished he had ordered the same as me. I had the Cream of Potato Leek, which I’ve had before, and was just as creamy and flavorful as I remembered.

For our entrees I was craving some fried shrimp and I couldn’t have been happier with my choice. It was a generous portion of jumbo, perfectly fried succulent shrimp served with homemade tarter sauce and fries (that were even more yummy with a splash of malt vinegar). The portion was so large, I ended up taking half of it home.

The husband chose an entree from the specials – a Southwestern-Grilled Flank Steak served with peppers and onions, fresh veggies, and mashed potatoes. Again, a very large portion which he thought was very good. He ended up taking some home which he never does!

Somehow we managed to find a teeny tiny space for dessert and went with the Molten Lava Cake. This was a nice-sized dense chocolate cake with a gooey center served with some ice cream and whipped cream. A perfect ending to a great meal.

Service was somewhat spotty but alright. Our entrees were to come with a bread basket which we never received but we really didn’t need it anyway. It was crowded and our waitress seemed rushed and it was hard to get her attention, but she tried.

I love this place and would absolutely go back as I have many times before. If you’re in the area and looking for a beer, some live entertainment (check their calendar), and some good pub food, I recommend McDonagh’s in Keyport, NJ.



  1. Suzette said

    How’s the parking there? I imagine if the pub is crowded, the parking is difficult.

  2. foodiedani said

    Hi Suzette!

    The great thing about Keyport IS parking! I am usually able to find parking right on the street which is unmetered. If not on the street there is a lot behind the pub that you can access by turning into near the Dunkin Donuts. There’s always space there and it’s free as well!


  3. Marilyn said

    Hey Dani,

    I tried McDonagh’s for the first time last Saturday night with a couple of friends for drinks and snacks. It was pretty crowed at the bar so we moved to a table in the dining area. My one friend and I shared some fried calamari. It was very good. Another had the breaded mushrooms and said they were good. I had about 3 beers. My usual Yeungling Lager, but I also tried the Landshark Lager. I will stick to the Vitamin Y – never disappoints.

    Anyways, they had a very loud Reggae band playing that evening. It was interesting. I definitely want to go back to sample some of their dinner entrees.

  4. foodiedani said

    Hey Marilyn,

    Glad you got to try it. I’ve never had the calamari or mushrooms before there. I stick to Blue Moon when I head there for my beer choice. I went twice recently and had the crab cakes (disappointing) and a grilled chicken sandwich (overall pretty good). I think the best dish they have is their burgers. I love them. Especially the Guiness BBQ burger.


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