Watch: New era for The Ponderosa - Ireland’s Highest Bar and Restaurant

The new Ponderosa Bar and Restaurant officially opened its doors on Wednesday, August 11 with over 100 invited guests who sat down to a fine dining five course meal served up by renowned chef Paul Deeney and staff.

Minister Mark Durkan who opened Ireland’s Highest Bar and Restaurant comments said: “When you think of Glenshane Pass you automatically think of the Ponderosa, Ireland’s highest pub.

Official opening of The Ponderosa

Official opening of The Ponderosa

“The redevelopment will contribute to the catering and tourist infrastructure in the Dungiven/ Maghera areas and will provide valuable employment opportunities in the local area.

“Decisions like this support my vision for a stronger economy through the promotion of tourism. I wish the Ponderosa well.”

Also in attendance was Kathleen McBride from Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

She said: ‘NITB welcome this development within the Sperrins. The Ponderosa will offer visitors a great chance to explore our natural environment, enjoy locally sourced food in an authentic relaxing rural environment’

The Ponderosa has witnessed a true renaissance over the past six months with an explosion of life, vibrancy and character to this long established venue. It’s truly is indescribable the genuine energy which can be felt when you visit the venue. Some would call it a wee bit of Irish magic.

The response from the people of Northern Ireland and afar over the last few months on social media has been amazing and now its finally fully operational.

New owner, Karl McErlean, saw an opportunity in the rundown old building when it came on the market late last year and put together an amazing team of professionals who have navigated through all the pitfalls that come with a rebuild project and opening a bar and restaurant and shop. His aim was to breathe life back into The Ponderosa, and re-establish Irelands Highest Bar and Restaurant as a world Class establishment. Serving traditional food, all sourced locally but with emphasis on Quality. He is quoted as “we wanted to create an entire experience when you visit the Ponderosa, there is something about this place which is hard to explain, people just feel better up here! I wanted to create a venue that was full service. Something for the family to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon having a fantastic meal while the Kids enjoy our amazing desert menu, Mullins ice cream is always a favourite for young and old alike. Or just hanging out with a few mates having a pint in a bar watching sport on TV. Its a Night out for couples after a fantastic, romantic meal, simply walk next door into the bar and enjoy live music. Or just hang out with friends and family in our beer garden. I guarantee no other beer garden in Ireland has views like we do.”

Somewhere to stop for a rest and enjoy the stunning landscape while you are having a meal or maybe a glass of wine, or just a Coffee and breakfast from our fully stocked convenience shop which serves Hot food from 6 am daily.

To celebrate The Ponderosa’s Opening we will host an Open Air Concert and Family Fun Day on Sunday 17th August starting at 2pm with Cool FMs Roadshow with Pete Snodden, a live hip hop energetic dance display by Kirsty Kentic Kids, Innova Traditional Irish Dancers as seen on Britain’s Got Talent, live music by the popular Tiny Lions at 4pm and The Band with no name at 6pm. Over 20 Harley Davidson’s will be riding in from the Belfast Hog Chapter at 1pm and kids can enjoy bouncing castle, face painting, balloon modelling and get to meet walkabout characters such as Minion and Olaf from the Frozen movie. Enjoy this fun full packed day with BBQ food and drinks in the outdoor Marquee tent. For more information visit the website at or find on facebook at