18 Orchard St,
I wonder how many licensed establishments take their name from the nickname of the owner?
Well, right at the bottom corner of Orchard Street is just such a pub, Badger’s Place, called after Hugh McDaid, popularly known as Badger on account of his white hair.
Even if the name were not emblazoned outside you’d not be inside long before you could guess it – badgers are everywhere: on a huge mural leading up to the second-floor bar; in the centre of the lovely stained glass work (done by local girl Sinead Coyle); and even a stuffed one brought in by a customer in a bag just after its demise and presented to the publican.
Badger’s Place operates on four floors, with a restaurant in the cellar, a function room at the top of the house, and two bars in between. It’s hard to realise that at one time it was a tiny, corner, family house bar with living quarters upstairs.
The street climbs so sharply that the ground floor bar is split-level, but this is one of its many inviting features. Others include the distinctive stained glass already mentioned, the lovely Brazilian mahogany paneling, and the display of actual, authentic nameplates of streets that have disappeared in the changing face of Derry today, including Deanery Street, the birthplace of Badger himself.
Former residents of Joyce Street, Bonds Place, Orchard Lane, Charlotte Street and many more can find their old street plates here.
This is very much the pub of the theatre fraternity. The local drama club meets in it at Festival time, and playreadings are held on the top floor. The Abbey Theatre cast, Harry Secombe and Dana are numbered among its many visitors from the entertainment world.
Visit Badger’s Place once, and it’s certain you won’t need to be badgered into a second visit.