By Kara C. Rodriguez

Wild Geese Pub & Restaurant has opened its doors, bringing festive Irish flair to downtown Leesburg.

The Irish pub is operated by Jim Thompson and is located above his popular Yummy Pig restaurant at 4 W. Market St. His timeline for opening Wild Geese lagged a bit, as Yummy Pig just introduced full-service dining six weeks ago. But with that up and running, Thompson now has the challenge of running two different establishments in the same building with two different menus.

The idea for opening an Irish pub belongs to one of Thompson’s business partners, and the upstairs portion of the building lent itself to that look and vibe, Thompson said.

“We feel like when you walk upstairs it definitely has the old school Irish pub feel,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal—to feel like you’re going to Ireland.”

To complete the look, Thompson took advantage of the many restaurant auctions over the past few months to gather a selection of mismatched pub chairs. While it was fortuitous for Thompson, he pointed out the many Irish pubs that have gone out of business during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly ones closer to Washington, DC. Some of those furniture pieces and fixtures now make up the decor at Wild Geese.

Wild Geese’s Irish Onion Soup

“The old school, traditional style [pub option] is lacking right now. If we were going to do one we wanted to do it the classic way. I want this to be the local corner pub where everyone kind of knows each other,” he said. 

In a nod to his landlord and Irishman Michael O’Connor, a flag representing the Gaelic Athletic Association for Kerry is hung in the pub, representing most of the Gaelic sports teams for County Kerry. It’s a passion of O’Connor, who helped to bring the GAA finals to Leesburg last year, and considers himself a proud Kerry man.

Between the two bars in the building, Thompson is able to serve 19 taps of beer, including many from area micro breweries, and of course there are plenty of Irish favorites available like Guinness and Smithwicks. Wine and mixed drinks are also available. 

Thompson has also created a new menu for Wild Geese, where he is able to offer dishes not found on the Yummy Pig menu. It’s been a fun challenge, he said.

“We needed to make sure we had traditional Irish pub fare, like bangers and mash and fish and chips. We did a lot of the classics. Then we created things we couldn’t do on the Yummy Pig menu because it wasn’t barbecue related. But now we have an outlet,” he said.

Some of those special dishes include beer battered fried mushrooms, broiled feta served with toasted bread, and pork belly confit served on braised greens. 

Seating at the bar is still not permitted because of COVID-19 restrictions, but Thompson said there are plenty of high-top and low-top table options for customers. 

For more information on Wild Geese, look for Wild Geese Pub & Restaurant on Facebook. The wildgeesepub.comwebsite is also expected to be up and running soon.