Monday, 27 May 2024

Ireland comes to Clearlake at the Corkman's Clipper

Irishman Will Roll opened his Corkman's Clipper Irish Pub in Clearlake, Calif., in May of 2009. Photo by Tera deVroede.

CLEARLAKE – Ireland is nearly 5,000 miles away from Clearlake, but a little bit of the Emerald Isle can be found nestled in a corner of the city.

That taste of Ireland is courtesy of Will Roll, who owns the Corkman's Clipper Irish Pub.

The authentic Irish pub offers music and spirits, a home-cooked meal by a true Irishman and a beautiful view of Clear Lake and its sunsets.

Roll left his home in County Cork, Ireland 45 years ago to come to the United States. He moved to Lake County 10 years ago and currently resides in Hidden Valley.

“We have a real commitment to providing a wonderful experience for everyone, and not just from a culinary standpoint,” said Roll.

Roll makes all of the food from scratch. “I don’t buy anything bagged, boxed or premade,” he said. “We provide our customers with the best of everything.”

He explained, “I learned to cook at the knees of my grandmam and my mam. Everything on my menu is 20 years' worth of dinner parties at my home before ever opening my first pub.”

A wide variety of drafts also can be found at the pub, from the Corkman’s Clipper Irish Pub’s own pale ale to Smithwick’s Authentic Irish Ale, imported from Ireland.

The Black Rose was another pub Roll owned in Santa Rosa which he had to close on March 27 due to health problems and a long commute.

He chose Clearlake for the site of the Corkman’s Clipper because he wanted a beautiful place close to home and Clearlake was the best of the areas he had visited. Plus, Clearlake didn’t have an Irish pub before Roll’s.

Roll opened his doors in May of 2009 in the building that once was Kathy Zinn’s.

“I wanted to stick with a nautical theme for my pub’s name,” said Roll.

He explained that he's a “Corkman” – someone from County Cork – and clippers refer to ships in the 1800s that Irish brought Irish immigrants to America during the famine.

Roll said that his pub has been very well received by the people of Clearlake; he expressed his affection for the town for its support. He feels the best advertising is word-of-mouth between friends, so don’t expect to see any ads for the pub anytime soon.

Even though many people read the word “pub” and immediately think alcohol, an Irish pub is much more than that, said Roll.

“This is a public house, and I am the publican – the owner of the public house,” said Roll. “We offer a very unique experience with family fun, good, hearty food and a place that still feels like home.”

He added, “The whole pub experience is a gathering spot for families to both celebrate ad drown their sorrows as well as share their experiences with their neighbors.”

The pub also has become a performance venue. They regularly host the local band, Uncorked, as well as a recent performance of the Celtic and world music duo, Four Shillings Short, comprised of Roll's friends Christy Martin and Aodh Og O’Tuama, the latter a fellow Corkman.

The Corkman’s Clipper is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and has live, but soft, music every day except for Mondays and Wednesdays.

The pub also has a Web site,, where Roll offers this invitation: “Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the lost art of conversation!”

E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .




The Corkman's Clipper Irish Pub is located on Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake, Calif. Photo by Tera deVroede.





The pub's dining room overlooks Clear Lake. Photo by Tera deVroede.

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