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O'Skis celebrates Irish side with shotskis, green beer
by Michelle Zewin
Mar 17, 2008 | 2258 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Michelle Zewin</a> Cindy Pisiewski, "Mom" and Lee Pisiewski take a shotski. The Pisiewskis own O'Skis Pub and Grille, "the world's only Irish-Polish pub," on Victorian Avenue.
Tribune/Michelle Zewin Cindy Pisiewski, "Mom" and Lee Pisiewski take a shotski. The Pisiewskis own O'Skis Pub and Grille, "the world's only Irish-Polish pub," on Victorian Avenue.
“Shotski!” Lee Pisiewski, his sister Cindy and their mother, affectionately referred to as “Mom” by all, call out as they raise a ski over their heads. The pub breaks out into cheers and applause.

The trio had just taken shots out of glasses mounted into a short ski. Known as a shotski, the event has become a sort of signature for O’Skis Pub and Grille at 840 Victorian Ave. O’Skis has shotskis with two, three and five shot glasses mounted in them.

“It’s a real neat tradition here,” Mom said, who wore a name tag with the same moniker.

Lee and Cindy are co-owners of O’Skis, what they call the “only Irish-Polish pub in the world.” The siblings opened the pub after Cindy and Mom came back from a trip to Ireland.

“She told me that there was so much fun to be had at Irish pubs,” Lee said. “And we’ve always had fun.”

Monday marked the pub’s seventh year but O’Skis began its birthday and St. Patrick’s Day celebration Friday.

“Green beer was flowing all weekend,” Lee said.

On Saturday, Blarney Band played a three-hour show at the pub. Made up of Keith Shannon and his son, Dan, the duo treated patrons to non-stop traditional Irish music.

“We don’t take breaks,” Keith said. “That’s how you keep a crowd. The crowd in Irish music truly becomes a third musician.”

While the Shannons are Irish, looked Irish – complete with newsboy caps – and sang with Irish accents, Irish music sure wasn’t a part of their past.

“I was never into Irish music before,” Shannon said. “I was a rock ‘n’ roller.”

But that all changed when Malone’s Irish Tavern in Truckee wanted Irish music several years ago.

“I learned a few songs, we rehearsed once and we’ve been building our repertoire ever since,” Keith said.

That repertoire now consists of hundreds of songs. The Shannons share vocal duties and play guitar, mandolin, banjo and the bodhran, an Irish drum. They play about once a month at O’Skis, Keith said.

But there wasn’t room for a band Monday.

“It’s just too busy to do anything special on St. Patrick’s Day,” Lee said. “You can only have so many people in here.”

If Monday afternoon was any sign of the crowd that was to come later that night, it would be a safe bet to say O’Skis would be packed. At the lunch hour at noon, the tables and bar were filled with patrons decked out in green. From beads and hats to the clothes on their backs.

Mike and Steve Saunders, who come to O’Skis multiple times a week, were two such customers.

“We love it here,” Mike said. “It’s the service and the atmosphere.”

Angela Horning and Kevin Listman echoed Mike’s sentiment. The pair said they like O’Skis because it’s not a typical bar.

“It’s homey,” Listman said.

“It’s not your Bully’s,” Horning added. She then looked around the pub at the knick-knacks Lee has lining the walls. “I just like the atmosphere.”

Lee decorated O’Skis with years and years worth of souvenirs and antiques he’s garnered. He said he loves the conversation these pieces start.

“People will tell me, ‘My grandmother had one of those,’ or ‘I remember that’ ” Lee said. “When you walk into the pub, you’re walking into a quaint atmosphere.”

Aside from the atmosphere, Lee esteems the food O’Skis offers.

“Anything that we can make homemade, we do,” Lee said. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our food.”

A specialty of O’Skis is the corned beef sandwich.

“We cook it in Guinness and that’s what makes it different from any other place,” Lee said.

...In case an Irish-Polish pub wasn’t different enough.

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