Lebanon’s historic Whipple Building, which dates to the 1880s, has traditionally been known as a doomed place for a business, with plenty of them coming and going over the years. But Salt hill Pub just might be rewriting that history, entering its 12th year as one of the most celebrated—and successful—spots in the Upper Valley for a pint and a bite, accompanied by excellent live music.
A traditional Irish bar, Salt hill Pub was opened in 2003 by brothers Joe and Josh Tuohy and is named after Salthill, the area where their grandparents hail from in Galway, Ireland (where people also know a thing or two about good beer and live music). Reflecting that family reference, the Tuohy brothers decided to keep the letter “h” from hill in the pub’s name in lowercase form as homage to its original name.
The brothers’ business, which now includes four Salt hill locations in the region, started small, with a simple mission: to offer honest food, perfect pints, and living music (which is now the pubs’ tagline). On a shoestring budget, they designed their menu on a picnic table in Colburn Park, prepared food on a single 10”x14” Panini grill, sometimes stored their food in a Coke machine, and had just four draft beer offerings initially.
But the formula worked, and within a year, they needed more space, creating the comfy, casual Galway Room for more seating and private events. In 2007 and 2010, they added locations in Newport and Hanover, and in December 2014, opened a pub at the foot of the Mount Sunapee Ski Resort.
Patrons love the menu full of traditional Irish fare, guaranteed to draw out the Irish in everyone and prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Favorites include beef and Guinness stew, the Celtic Egg, and bangers and mash, with hearty portion sizes and prices that are wallet-friendly (like the half-pound burger and fries for $9.)
The beer menu is equally impressive, with 15 taps that host a bevy of New England microbrews, including the limited edition Salt hill Pale Ale and beers from beyond—like the requisite classic of all Irish pubs, Guinness.
The pub also has developed a following for its lively events, including more than 5,000 live music performances and popular trivia events. Mondays draw a crowd, too, who take advantage of $3 pints.