Aisling Bog Pub is the neighborhood spot where everyone knows your name.
Okay, maybe not everyone. But owner Ron Arbino knows it and most likely your brew of choice, as well.
Located in northwest Fresno in a shopping center at the corner of Marks and Herndon, Aisling Bog looks a little hidden, a little unassuming. You’d be forgiven for not knowing it existed, or for being too intimidated to step inside. Maybe you’ve been afraid to venture in because you’re a beer novice. Maybe you weren’t sure how to pronounce the name, and that kept you away.
Aisling is pronounced “Ashling,” and it’s a Gaelic word meaning dream or vision. Ron’s wife Elizabeth came up with it when the couple decided to fulfill Ron’s dream of owning a pub. They bought the place from its previous owner about a year ago. (Aisling Bog Pub was formerly called The Body in the Bog — the Arbinos kept the words “bog” and “pub” in the name so longtime customers would know they were keeping the spirit of the pub intact.)
No Craft Beer Here
As the flag of Ireland hanging just inside the door indicates, Aisling Bog Pub is modeled after traditional Irish pubs. It serves only European beers, with one exception (which I’ll explain a little later). According to Ron, “This is not a craft beer place. The pub’s uniqueness comes from its European-ness.”
When Ron bought it, the pub featured 50 beers. He’s since grown his inventory to include just about 100 beers, ales, and lagers — 11 on tap with plans to add more — as well as 15 wines, mostly from Central California.
“It’s not that the wine is only for women, or that they only drink wine. Of course that’s not true,” he says. “But we have gotten a lot more women in here since we started selling wine.”
Increasing the beverage selection Ron’s only priority. To him, there’s a proper way to serve a beer, and that’s in a proper glass. His goal is to have the appropriate glassware for each of his beers. If you order an Old Speckled Hen on tap, for example, the glass will be the official Old Speckled Hen glass, with the logo emblazoned on it. He’s got a lot of glassware, but is still working on building his collection.
A Traditional Neighborhood Pub
Ron’s joy of owning a pub is about the beer, but more than that, it’s about the people. He really likes to talk with people.
“‘Pub’ comes from ‘public house’,” he tells me. It’s a place to get a drink and talk over the day or current events with others in the neighborhood. “A place where you can feel comfortable.”
There’s no loud music or blaring TV at Aisling Bog Pub — nothing that will drown out conversation. For the most part, there’s no rowdy behavior and few arguments.
Says Ron, “People talk politics, but they never fight. It’s not a bar, it’s a pub, and there’s a difference.”
A Different Kind of Pub Owner
Another difference? Ron himself. He’s just nice. I can’t help but think this has an effect on how customers behave, like they don’t want to disrespect Ron or this friendly environment he’s created.
“I’ve been happy every single time I’ve come in,” says regular Mike Regier. “I like the atmosphere and conversation. First time I came in, I talked to two English gentleman about cricket and rugby.”
I mentioned before that Aisling Bog Pub serves European beers with one exception. Once or twice a week, a couple comes in and shares a bottle of beer that’s brewed in San Diego. While I was chatting with Ron for this story, they walked in, ordered their usual, and sat outside on the patio together.
“They used to come in when the previous owner was here and always got the same thing,” he smiles. “So I keep a couple of bottles on hand for them.”
It’s that friendly and accommodating nature that makes Ron a great pub owner, and Aisling Bog Pub a great neighborhood meeting place.
As a thank you to the neighborhood, Aisling Bog Pub will hold a one-year anniversary party July 8. There will be reduced prices on draft beers and food.
More Info on Aisling Bog Pub
Located at 7089 N. Marks Ave. Ste. 109, Fresno, CA 93711.
Open 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesday – Saturday.
Contact: (559) 261-4994
Follow them on Facebook where Ron introduces a new beer every week.