(Elisabeth Richardson) The former owners of Restaurant X, Christina and Christopher Phillips, opened Cornelius restaurant Harp & Crown on Catawba almost two years ago and it has quickly become a favorite neighborhood pub. At night as you drive by its location on Catawba, you can often hear live music playing just over the fence that opens up onto its patio and outdoor bar. The space is about eight feet lower than street level and surrounded by brick walls with three fireplaces nestled within, creating a cozy buffer against street noise. There’s indoor seating, of course, which recreates the feel of a traditional Irish or English pub.

The bartender can pull a perfect Guinness or one of the other beers on tap: Smithwicks, Harp, Stella, Bell’s Oberon, D9 Hakuna Matata, Pernicious IPA Wicked Weed, to name a few. I went with the margarita, which was made with their house sour mix (lemon, lime, simple syrup), tequila, and a splash of orange juice. I may have ordered a second one.

The traditional Bangers and Mash had breaded Irish sausages, onion gravy, and potatoes. My Irish husband said it was amazing and authentic. Because the lunch portion is large, we took some home and finished it later.

I went with the half sandwich and salad: The Turkey, Bacon, and Avocado BLT (served with tomato pesto aioli on white bread) and the Goat Cheese Salad with a savory vinaigrette that complemented it well. I’ve already been back again for the salad. It was that good.

The Pub Murry Curry had just the right amount of heat. My friend ordered it and loved it so much that he ordered it again the following week. I’m always hesitant to try curry if I’m not at an Indian or Thai restaurant, but this laid that doubt to rest.

Another friend ordered the Rueben sandwich, which was traditionally presented with sauerkraut but with a twist: Gruyere cheese. I cut off a corner and sampled it. That is what I’m getting next time.

On another visit I ordered the Salmon Cobb. I liked that the server asked me for a temperature because I prefer medium over medium rare. It was lightly dressed and I had to add more vinaigrette, but this was a perfect option for me because I don’t like salads soaked in dressing.

The varied menu has modern twists on traditional fare, including Irish Meatloaf, Guinness Pot Pie, Irish Spring Rolls, and the Harp Battered Fish & Chips.

Daily drink specials include half off bottles on wine on Sundays and Mondays, $5 Moscow Mules on Wednesdays, $3 drafts on Wednesdays, and $3 Mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys on Fridays and Saturdays. Trivia night is Monday at 8pm, and Friday nights usually have themes, such as 80s Night or Caribbean Night, always with a DJ.

Open Monday–Wednesday, 11am–11pm; Thursday, 11am–12am; Friday–Saturday, 11am–1am; and Sunday, 10am–10pm (yes, open for brunch!). And you may want to check out Oktoberfest this weekend with live music, German beers on draft, homemade brats and pretzels, beer pong, and more.

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