So You Want to Run an Irish Pub

So You Want to Run an Irish Pub

You’ve had a stressful day at work. To unwind, you stop by your local watering hole, Flannigan’s Irish Pub. Sitting there, poring over the details of your day, the idea hits you: you should own a bar. But not just any bar, and Irish bar. Who wouldn’t love the cheery music, purchasing kegs at a dime a pint but charging $8? It’s a profit waiting to happen.


But the reality is more than that. While for the customer, an Irish pub may seem like fun and games, but for the owner, it is still a business and requires all of the same hard work and effort as any other type of business.

Running a bar or pub is especially challenging and being successful while doing so is even harder. In fact, the editor of Bartender Magazine, Ray Foley, has said that nearly 75 percent of bars fail in their first year. Pubs also serve Irish food as part of the standard of service, adding in another question into the scheme of it all. And Irish pubs are especially known for their entertainment.

Owning a business of any kind means that you are always on-call. You cannot play hooky or call in sick the same as you could as employee. As an owner, if you cannot be there, you have to pay someone else who can. And if anything goes wrong while you are not there, you will be the first call to make and the first to clean up the mess. You are 100% accountable for anything that happens in your pub, from staff to customers, so you have to ensure that whoever is managing the pub while you aren’t there is reliable and trustworthy.


You also want to keep in mind the individuality of your pub. While being an Irish pub is fun, yours will also not be the only one out there. An Irish pub may stand out against other bars, but it will also have to stand out among the other Irish pubs. You will want to generate and maintain the feel of Irish culture through not just food choice and beer, but through the appearance, lighting, and even the staffing. Creating an Irish pub that is memorable will allow yours to stand above the others.

Here is a list of the most important things to consider when opening your pub:

Location, location, location
Where would an Irish pub most likely be located in your city? Most Irish pubs do best in traditionally Irish neighborhoods, but if you live where there isn’t much in the way of Irish heritage, go for where people like to go out at night. It would also be ideal to renovate a vacated bar or older building. They would already set for kitchen ventilation and save you a lot of headache.

Know your beer
Anyone going into an Irish pub is going to expect Guinness on draught and you cannot disappoint. Also learn to master the 45-degree pour to minimize the amount of head on the top of the pint.


People go into Irish pubs to feel like they are in another world. Keep up with the Irish culture and ambience of a pub. Use traditional Irish furnishings. The Irish are known for their warm wood furnishings and brick accents. You will also need to hire a staff that is enthusiastic about Irish culture. You also need to serve traditionally Irish food, like Shepard’s pie and fish and chips.

An Irish pub can be a possibility. Just be smart about your plan and realistic to your goals.


Like millions of Americans, I am from a proud Irish heritage. My family came over to the United States in the nineteenth century. After a couple of generations of struggle, my great-grandparents were able to pull themselves up and become successful entrepreneurs

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