The soul of Irish hospitality is the pub. In Ireland,
that’s where you’ll find “the craic,”
pronounced “crack,” – but there’ll
be none of that! “The craic” in general
means fun, and you will find plenty of that at Mike’s
The BrazenHead’s innkeeper,
Will Fanning, grew up in the Irish tradition where
everyone who came to the pub took part in the entertainment,
whether you told a joke, sang a song, played a tune,
or told a story. That tradition transplants easily
to West Virginia, whose traditional culture also loves
a song, a joke, or a tune. The piano — it’s
in tune! — is ready for anyone who can play,
and Will’s standup bass is usually in the corner,
handy for a thump when the music gets going.
On tap are Guinness Stout, Smithwick's Ale and Killian's
Irish Red. The pint glasses come from Dublin! You’ll
also find a decent selection of liquors and wines.
The BrazenHead’s pub is named in honor of Will’s
father, Mike Fanning, an excellent tenor who in his
day was welcomed in many an Irish pub for the music
he always brought with him. In the late 1950s, when
the Fannings moved to Cleveland, Ohio, Mike Fanning
and his music were once again in demand at the area’s
Irish American clubs.
In the early 1970s, Mike returned to Dublin to
live, but he often came to West Virginia to visit.
He had high hopes for Will’s future enterprises.
“If you need a loaf of bread, you’ll go
down to Will’s store,” he said. “If
you need a pint, you’ll go down to Will’s
place. Whatever you need, you’ll be going to
Will’s.” No one had envisioned an inn
in December, 1997 when Mike died in a house fire,
but Will invokes his father’s music-loving spirit
in Mike’s Pub, where local musicians are always
welcome to start up a jam, and Will hosts the region’s
finest traditional musicians on Saturday nights.