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, www.morrisseysuptown.com
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.).
2162 W. University Av., St. Paul, 651-646-5551, www.thedublinerpub.com
Coinciding with the St. Paul parade, Patrick McGovern’s kicks off its massive tent party at noon Saturday. The Minnesota Police Pipe Band will swing through after the parade around 1 p.m., with DJs otherwise soundtracking the green sea of revelry. The tent shuts down at midnight, but the party continues indoors.
225 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-224-5821, www.patmcgoverns.com
Though its 22nd annual World’s Shortest Parade breezes by on Saturday (3:30-3:35 p.m.), O’Gara’s Bar and Grill is celebrating St. Paddy’s Day twice. Live music runs in an outdoor tent from 3-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with DJs and other acts playing indoors from 3 p.m. to close each night.
164 N. Snelling Av., St. Paul, 651-644-3333, www.ogaras.com
More for North Loop
After months of rumors, co-owner Stephanie Shimp confirmed her Blue Plate Restaurant Company’s plans to open a “food-forward” brewpub next fall in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. Shimp said a lease has been signed on a more than 8,000-square-foot space at 701 Washington Av. N., and they hope to begin construction in June. The plan is to distribute the yet-unnamed brewpub’s beers to other Blue Plate restaurants, which include the Lowry, Longfellow Grill, Edina Grill, Groveland Tap, Highland Grill, Scusi and 3 Squares.
Uptown arcade Rusty Quarters is in financial trouble again. After seeking donations last spring to help keep the retro gamer’s paradise afloat, owners have launched an Indiegogo fundraiser to help mitigate a decline in business and a “high-rent lease.” Without a fiscal life jacket, the arcade will be forced to close June 1, according to its website.
818 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-823-0551, www.rqarcade.com
Michael Rietmulder writes regularly about bars and nightlife.