After more than two decades of St. Patrick's Day celebrations at a local watering hole, today will be its last at its current location.
O’Brien’s Pub and Grill will close its doors in eight days after 21 years of operating in Carrollwood.
The RMC Property Group who owns the main Street Shopping Center refused to renew the pub’s lease, making way for a the Cinema Paradiso and Bistro. Nearly 11 years ago, the Carmike Cinema closed its doors at the same location due to lagging sales.
Despite an upcoming move, nothing’s been spared for today’s celebration, beginning at 10 a.m. Live traditional Irish music – including bagpipers, Irish step dancers and vocalist Denny Justice from Dublin, will help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Jimmy James of the famous song "Jenny/867-5309" will also entertain the crowd.
Seniors will get a 50 percent discount on everything from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
On Wednesday, as owner Bernie O’Brien was out setting up tents with his staff, he noted there would be performances both inside the 2,000-square-foot pub and under a large tent out back. Irish-inspired dishes and drinks will also be served. Revelers can fill up on creamy Irish potato soup, traditional corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, sausage and corned beef sandwiches. Burgers and hot dogs served with chips will also be available.
“We’ll have Guinness, Harp and Bass ale for dessert,” quipped O’Brien.
O’Brien’s owners have vowed to remain in the area and recently secured a spot at 15435 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. in the Northdale area - right behind Friday’s. Some construction work will be needed, and zoning issues are currently under consideration, but owners say they hope to reopen by June.
The new location will also have a thatched roof tiki hut outside, dubbed the island hut."
That’s music to the ears of its loyal following who enjoy the live music, Irish-inspired food, and cheery, neighborhood atmosphere.
“For 21 years, these folks paid the rent, anchored this shopping center and developed a strong clientele,” said Jim Little.
On the other hand, Little said he lives closer to the new location and thinks the new pub will be a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.
O’Brien’s mother Rita has been flying down from New York with her husband and other children for the past two decades, and is on hand to help with festivities. She had a positive take on the move.
“We’re saddened, but hoping for good things - bigger and better things,” she said.
Staff were also hopeful about the new place.
“I was disappointed in the lack of professionalism in how things ended,” said Brian Elliott, a nine-year veteran of O’Brien’s staff. “But I think a facelift and a fresh start will be good and we know our customers will follow.”
Support was offered by loyal, longtime patrons.
“It’s just a fantastic place, friendly and welcoming,” said Bernadette Young. "I’m glad they’re staying in the area."
O’Briens Pub and Grill in Carrollwood is located at 11744 N. Dale Mabry Highway. For information on today's festivities, call (813) 961-4092. You can follow construction progress at the new location on their Facebook page, or at www.o’brienspub.com.