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 Main Dining Room
This room is the perfect space for all special occasions.The giant window overlooking Market Square and ornate decor provide an extraordinary unforgettable atmosphere perfect for any event. This space features a raised stage area for entertainment and a TV for slideshows or presentations.
The McMorrow Vault
A unique and beautiful space carved out of the old bank vaults. The original steel, brickwork and vault door has been retained to provide an intimate gathering spot for all dining occasions.
The Speakeasy is a newly converted, private dining space for up to 12 guests. Once the location of a bank vault, this modern industrial setting with pub style seating and exposed brick walls ispoerfect for smaller parties. This room features a 65″ TV with live streaming and gaming capabilities.
The Mezzanine, located on the second level, is ideal for private parties or a viewing area for any big sporting event.
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.
Mike Babcock joined the Rí Rá team in July of 2018 as a Pub Manager. He is from Western New York and has been a transplant in New England for the last several years, recently moving from Southern Vermont. Mike’s enthusiasm for beer is only rivaled by his adoration for his cat, Poofy and his undying commitment to the ailing Buffalo Bills. He enjoys hiking, running, skiing, swimming, drinking beers and reading cumbersome books about science and space.
Sales & Event Manager
Originally from the Midwest, I’ve called New Hampshire my home for 15 years. I’ve had the privilege to experience the numerous facets of the hospitality industry, from guest services to catering and sales, to event planning and most recently, teaching. Upon joining the Rí Rá team earlier this year, I’ve been impressed with their values to be genuine, stay true to their Irish roots and to simply have fun!
I have a love for organizing events, so much so, that I chose to get my CMP (Certified Meeting Professional)! Whether it’s a birthday party, corporate dinner or wedding reception, I enjoy meeting new people and helping them to create a memorable event for their guests. My intention is to help take the stress out of planning an event at Ri Ra. We look forward to hosting you soon!
Outside the pub, you’ll find me indulging in my addiction to donuts, relaxing at one of the many beaches along the New Hampshire/Maine coast, working on my amateur cooking skills and spending time with my husband and daughter at our home in Dover.
You would think that with a bachelor’s degree in history, and a minor in education, the very last place I would have found myself was working in a kitchen. Yet here I am!! When I started off with Rí Rá, I instantly became hooked with the family environment, and the thrill of putting out delicious food for people to enjoy time and time again.
From humble beginnings here at the Portsmouth pub as a part-time dish pit employee, to line cook, to a year in the very busy Las Vegas pub, I am now delighted to be back running the show here! It has been an exhilarating couple of years ride so far, and I cannot express the excitement I have for my future here with Rí Rá!
Jobs and Training
Rí Rá is a busy and exciting place 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 email@example.com.
For International inquiries regarding J-1 training opportunities with Rí Rá in the USA, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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!