Buddy’s Tavern brings Irish charm to Trenton area

Beer has been on tap at 100 Homecrest Avenue for as long as the self-proclaimed “resident leprechaun” of Buddy’s Shamrock Tavern can remember.

Bob Delaney, the pub’s bartender, has been serving drinks in the building for 17 years and three owners.

He says a bar has stood on the corner for longer than he has been around, and Delaney is 75.

“It is like going to an accident every day, you come to work and you don’t know what to expect,” Delaney said, laughing over the bar, to his afternoon regulars.

Jennifer Dowiak, the tavern’s general manager, who likes her current job much more than her old gig of managing Perry’s Club 14, said that Delaney was closing the bar that night. He joked, “Well this bar is closing at six p.m. then!”

Such is the friendly atmosphere of the Irish style pub, a location that is now frequented by just as many college students as Ewing and Trenton locals.

The Williams family, originally from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, purchased “The Shamrock” in 1995, with a vision based on their native neighborhood, a place dotted with saloons or churches on every corner.

The brother sister pair of James Williams and Susan Scott named the tavern after their grandfather, William Patrick “Buddy” Williams.

From pool and dart leagues, to 21st birthday celebrations, where those turning legal hop behind the bar to serve their friends complimentary shots and come away with attire reading, “I turned 21 at Buddy’s Shamrock Tavern and all I got was this lousy T-shirt,” the Williams strive to make The Shamrock a fun and comfortable spot, where all feel welcome.

Management even offers a safe ride. The big green Shamrock school bus, painted with the phrase “Follow me to Buddy’s,” will transport a minimum group of 10 people to and from the bar at no charge.

“I said I would paint my ass green before I’d drive that bus,” Dowiak said. Now she is a frequent designated driver for students at the College.

Tricia Kane, a senior elementary education major at the College, stopped at the Shamrock as part of her 21st birthday Ewing area bar crawl in September.

She ended the night Irish stepdancing in front of a room of patrons, including a few of her closest college friends and some Ewing area locals that helped her celebrate the milestone.

“It was an unexpected good time,” Kane said, whose favorite aspects of the bar are the pick-up dart games in the back room and the electronic quiz wiz video screen.

Scott’s two school-aged children hang out in the bar too, and according to their mother, they like to play Quiz Wiz just as much as Kane.

While most kids are told not to play ball in the house, the bar is such a home to the Williams family that when Scott’s son walked in the door, sporting a back pack and bouncing a kick ball, his Uncle James, who lives above the tavern, scolded him with, “What did I say about playing ball in the bar?”

The Shamrock is modeled after a classic Irish pub, a place people enjoy not just for its food and beer, but also because it is a neighborhood center to gather and socialize with friends and family.

“In Ireland, you can just get drunk and be yourself,” Scott said. “Even dogs go to the bar, because the floors (in Irish pubs) are made of stone, people bring dogs to keep their feet warm.”

The Williams family has brought a piece of Irish charm to the Trenton area. The Shamrock boasts an Irish drinking team nicknamed “The Green Mile”. About 100 members have been inducted into the club for downing an extended list of whiskeys, creams and beers.

Patrons are taught the team’s secret handshake, and are awarded a T-shirt during official inductions, which are held on the 17th of each month.

Friday nights are college nights at the bar. Domestic pints are on tap for $1. During the pub’s happy hour, domestic pitchers cost $6.50. After a few rounds of dollar beers and cheap pitchers, students from the College can be heard singing karaoke in tune with the locals.

“I like Shamrocks because it gives you the local bar feel while still having the college student atmosphere,” John Gross, a senior secondary education biology major, who can often be spotted on a Shamrock barstool, said.

The tavern also features mid-week all-you-can-eat nights. Tuesday is pasta night, Wednesday is barbeque rib night and Thursday is Mexican fiesta night.

The Shamrock is open 11 a.m.- 2 a.m., seven days a week. The Williams also own the only Irish bar in Hamilton, Buddy’s Shamrock Pub, on 2 Elmwood Ave. in Hamilton.

For more information on The Shamrock, or to request a safe ride on the Buddy Bus, call 609-406-0260.