If you’re looking for a night of classic Celtic cheer, the Irish Times Pub in Victoria is your gateway to the Emerald Isle. “Irish or not, it’s a nice place to be,” said one visitor. On tap seven nights a week is an authentic Irish experience from traditional dancing, live music and kegs of Guinness. Now, the pub holds the title as North America’s best. “We were shocked and over the moon,” said Irish Times Pub owner Matt MacNeil. This week, the pub was crowned North America’s Irish Pub of the Year at the Irish Pubs Global Awards. More than 16,000 bars from around the world were nominated for the awards. “Four [people from] our management team are over in Dublin to accept the award” explained MacNeil. The news has regular customers raising a glass in celebration. “This is a great place to come and have few drinks,” said one customer. “We come here probably once a week.” “It kind of reminds me of a pub that my dad used to bring me to in Galloway,” said waitress Deir Bhaile who moved to Victoria from Northern Ireland. Bhaile says the win is making headlines back at home. “One of the biggest news articles,” explained Bhaile. “Irish Times Pub won best in North America. My ma sent it to me so it must be a big deal.” The Irish Times, Ireland’s largest newspaper, dubbed the Irish Times Pub one of the top Irish bars outside of Ireland in 2015. “We put a lot of work into making it authentically Irish,” said Bhaile. “There’s lots of places you can get a beer and a burger, but it is about that Irish culture, that smile and that welcome,” said MacNeil. MacNeil says the staff will celebrate the win with a ‘Ceilidh’ – a traditional Irish gathering. “We’ll raise a pint of Guinness and celebrate,” MacNeil said with a laugh.