Rí Rá comes from "Rí Rá agus Ruaile Buaile", a phrase translating roughly as divilment, good fun or any sociable activity that improves with fine food, a nice pint of Guinness or dram of Uisce Beatha (whiskey).
The two separate bank buildings of 22 and 26 Market Square, actually started as one building called The New Hampshire Bank, back in 1803, making it the oldest bank building in The United States. The New Hampshire Bank occupied the site since 1782, but the current building was constructed in 1803. In 1869, the building was divided with the Portsmouth Savings Bank taking the north half and The First National Bank occupying the south half of the building. When the Portsmouth Savings Bank needed to expand in 1903, it did so by incorporating a saloon to its north into the building. When the Bank opened in 1904, incorporating the neighboring saloon, it did so with a newly constructed huge glass dome depicting the Great Seal of New Hampshire; this remains the focal point for when Rí Rá opened its doors in March 2009. In 1977 the building(s) were admitted to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Main Pub
Stepping through the door at Rí Rá is like being transported to another era; immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the beautifully restored building. The authentic Victorian Bar, crafted in the warm pub style of 19th century Dublin and custom-made with salvaged material straight from Ireland. A comfortable neighborhood environment where conversation flows as smoothly as Guinness ebbs in the glass. Sit and enjoy a pint and a chat and you will be transported back in time. The pub is a hotspot for locals and visitors alike, offering an impressive line-up of live music, a comprehensive drink list and fare that defies pub standards.
The Dining Room
This room is the perfect space for all occasions; lunch, dinner or a private party. The Victorian colors of deep red and gold create a richness to the room overlooking the square. With its large window and open kitchen it is a perfect spot for a quiet meal or special occasion. The room includes a stage, large TV screen, full sound and lighting system creating a home away from home environment.
The McMorrow Vaults
These rooms are a perfect space for large or small occasions. They are truly unique and beautiful spaces carved out of the old bank vaults. The vault doors are extremely valuable and have their mechanical systems on display. The original steel and brickwork has been retained to provide an intimate gathering spot for all occasions.
This raised area is a perfect spot for a quiet meal or drink away from the main bar areas. This area is ideal for private parties or a viewing area for any big sporting event. It’s a perfect spot to watch sports with friends and family.
Rí Rá in the Community
Here at Rí Rá, we love to bring our sense of family to the community and enjoy being involved with local community to make our neighborhood a better place to live, work and socialize.
We are particularly proud of our outreach work with sports groups and with local charities to try to give back to the community that so graciously welcomed us to the neighborhood. We host an annual golf tournament in aid of HAVEN, formerly known as A Safe Place and SASS, officially merged in July of 2015, becoming the largest violence prevention and support services agency in NH.
I want to ensure that all you need to do is show up and indulge, I will take care of the rest!
After spending seven years in Lake Tahoe and Denver, I now have the privilege of calling New England my home! With the desire to put my event management experience to work and to become ingrained in the fast-paced community of Portsmouth.
I joined the Rí Rá team in the fall of 2015. In my short time here, I have truly come to appreciate the values of hard work, teamwork, and genuine community involvement. I enjoy meeting and communicating with customers and members of the community. Our goal is to make your experience at Rí Rá one to remember.
Let the craic begin, I hope to meet you soon!
Chef Matthew Jones
Matthew Jones, a local chef with over 20 years in the culinary industry, joined the Rí Rá team this past fall and has enjoyed every minute getting to know Portsmouth. Matt combines his extensive experience and knowledge in Mediterranean, French, and American cuisine with Rí Rá’s classic Irish fare to create the ultimate dining experience for his guests. When he isn’t writing his next recipe he spends his time cooking for his wife and two sons at their home in Massachusetts.
Jobs and Training
Rí Rá is a busy and exciting place to work. We are always on the lookout for motivated quality Managers, Bar & Wait staff, Kitchen Team and other hourly positions.
If you’re interested in working in a fun and highly rewarding atmosphere, within a great team, then email your questions and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For International inquiries regarding J-1 training opportunities with Rí Rá in the USA, please send an email to email@example.com for more details.
Food & Beverage Director
You can visit Rí Rá’s all over the country & know that you’ll experience something new, yet still know you’re going to be somewhere familiar where the Guinness flows & the craic will always be 90!