Paul Crilly, formerly of Kieran's, and partners to open Uptown's first Irish pub, Morrissey's

  • Article by: MICHAEL RIETMULDER , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 7, 2013 - 4:53 PM

The guys behind Morrissey’s pub defy a jinxed Lake Street location as they race to open by St. Patrick’s Day weekend.


Morrissey’s Irish Pub will be the first Irish bar in Uptown, or so they claim. Manager Paul Crilly is planning an extensive whiskey program once the pub opens, which of course will be before St. Patrick’s Day.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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In the past five years, four different restaurant concepts have floundered in the small space that once housed Favor Cafe in south Minneapolis. But the Lyn-Lake joint’s jinx wasn’t enough to scare off the owners of the incoming Morrissey’s Irish Pub.

“We’re Irish,” said co-owner Roy Connaughton with a confident grin. “We’re about to break that curse.”

Two weeks before Morrissey’s planned March 14 opening date, owners Connaughton, Paul Crilly and Scott Schuler stood in the middle of its 1,270-square-foot seating area (a fourth partner, Guatam Pai, was absent). Renovations were far from complete, but Schuler was jazzed about the location’s potential. “The space, for all the talk of its curses and whatever, it’s got great bones,” he said.

Remodeling the room formerly occupied by Restaurant Miami, Viva Brazil and Los Lagos,has been a mix of addition and subtraction. Stripping apart the interior, they discovered rustic wooden beams in the ceiling and a brick wall behind the bar suitable for what chief operator Crilly (an alumnus of downtown Minneapolis Irish bars Kieran’s and O’Donovan’s) says will be Uptown’s first and only Irish pub. Morrissey’s will have a small stage and host live music — a mix of traditional Irish acts and singer/songwriters — at least four nights a week.

Despite its name, don’t expect a slew of Morrissey tribute acts. The pint-sized pub’s moniker is actually a “tip of the cap” to Crilly’s grandfather, not the Irish-blooded frontman of U.K. indie-rock greats the Smiths. “It was a name my grandfather used back in the early ’20s,” said Crilly, a Northern Ireland native. “He was a commanding officer in the old IRA. He was on the run once or twice, so he used Johnny Morrissey as his alias.”

Slated to open just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the pub opens at noon next Sunday, with live music from 4-8 p.m. including the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band at 6 p.m. ($5 cover).

913 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-465-8555,

Parades and parties

While St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, both Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s parades are on Saturday the 16th (6 p.m. and noon respectively), making weekend-long affairs alluring (and potentially lucrative) for local Irish bars. With shamrock-lovin’ pubs across the metro celebrating in style, here’s a look at some St. Paddy’s Day weekend happenings.

Kieran’s Irish Pub is throwing a two-day bash, opening at 9 a.m. Saturday for the Team Ortho Get Lucky 7K. Live music starts at 6 p.m. ($5 cover after 5 p.m.) on the main stage, with Irish pipe bands passing through and a heated-tent dance party. On Sunday, Erin Rogue, Sweet Colleens, Reverse Cowboy and others will perform on two stages from noon until 2 a.m. at the downtown Minneapolis mega-bar ($5 cover all day).

85 N. 6th St., Mpls. 612-339-4499,


Across the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, Keegan’s Irish Pub is also doubling down on the festivities. The bar will open early for an Irish breakfast and hosts tent parties from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with performances from the Minnesota Police Pipe Band and Four Pints Shy (Saturday) and Erin Rogue (Sunday). Stop in for free Guinness and Bushmills samples from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.

16 University Av. NE., Mpls., 612-252-0880


The Dubliner Pub — the resident Irish joint of St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood — puts on its perennial tent party Saturday from noon to midnight. Gastrotruck will provide food outside the kitchen-less corner bar, while Tom Dahill, Paddy Wagon, the Langer’s Ball and others perform. Sunday’s indoor-only party features music by Reverse Cowboy (5 p.m.) and Two Tap Trio (9 p.m.).

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  • Paul Crilly, manager of the soon-to-open Morrissey’s Irish Pub, says the establishment will be the first Irish bar in Uptown Minneapolis. He plans to offer an extensive list of whiskeys.

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