After an eight-decade run on the corner of Selby and Snelling Avenues in St. Paul, O’Gara’s is heading into its final weekend of service. At least, O’Gara’s as we know it.
The watering hole, restaurant and music venue is being downsized as part of a redevelopment of the entire 110-year-old building owned by the O’Gara family.
The new bar, which is aimed to open late next year or early 2020, will be a quarter of the original size, freeing up space for an apartment building, parking lot and co-working space. But first, the sprawling watering hole must say goodbye.
“This weekend is going to be a little tough, emotionally,” said owner Dan O’Gara. “It hasn’t really hit me yet because it’s been so busy.”
Extended O’Gara family members who worked at the pub over the years will gather Thursday. And then on Friday and Saturday, two final shows will close down the Shanty stage. Food-wise, the menu has been pared down and limited bottles of liquor are available.
So what’s on tap for closing weekend? G.B. Leighton plays Friday. On Saturday, the Farewell to the Shanty Concert Series winds down with Martin Zellar & The Hardways, with openers the Billy’s and the Goombas (a band made up of a couple other big St. Paul restaurant names, including a Cossetta and a Mancini).
After the pub shutters, the owners will be removing the cherry wood panels from the bar and the tin ceilings to save and incorporate into the new space. Other items that aren’t being salvaged will go for auction next summer.
Dan O’Gara hopes to host an off-site St. Patrick’s Day event in 2019, with plans to be back in the new-old space in time for March 2020.
“They guaranteed me I’d only be closed for one St. Patrick’s Day,” O’Gara said. “And it’s an Irish builder so he better get it right.”