Sometimes you just need a local space where you can gather with friends, forget about your worries and feel a part of the community. When Mark McGready, a native of County Derry, Ireland, opened Brian Boru on Madison Street last year, he wanted his Irish pub to be that spot to bring a bit of the old country to Forest Park. Over the past year, Brian Boru, named for an eleventh century Irish King, has become that neighborhood gathering spot, and McGready is eager for more people to come see what the buzz is about.
With four distinct spaces in the snug, the tower, the priory and the patio, Brian Boru offers room for eating, drinking, music and dancing. McGready thinks the great setting and his staff make Brian Boru more than just a bar.
“It’s a terrific space with dedicated car park. With plenty of room downstairs and private party area upstairs, we have plenty of space for gathering friends. There aren’t too many places like this in the area. My goal is to make it convenient for people to have community events and get together.”
McGready says that in opening shortly after Thanksgiving in 2014, he had a quick learning curve during the busy holiday season that followed, but with a year of service and time for his staff to work together, the kinks are worked out. Now, the operation runs smoothly whether it’s a quiet night at the bar or a special event for 300 people.
Events are Brian Boru’s specialty, and McGready and his staff like to show everyone a bit of Irish hospitality. From weddings and memorials to birthdays and holiday celebrations, Brian Boru is set up to handle groups from 20 to 300. McGready works with clients to make the event what they envision. Creating specialty cocktails or providing favorite beers on request, he aims to be accommodating in selection and provides what he calls the best pricing on the street.
Notes McGready, “If you can get everyone together, and everyone can eat, drink and be merry, and you don’t have to clean up afterwards, and it doesn’t cost much more than hosting at home? That’s ideal.”
While the kitchen offers a full menu, including homemade Irish favorites from fish and chips to sheperd’s pie, McGready says that flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to food offerings. The staff works with clients to make dishes that suit each event. Music is an important part of many evenings, and customers can bring in their own band or d.j. for an event, or ask McGready to provide the musical entertainment.
Another key part of the business for Brian Boru is giving back to the community. “It’s very big in Ireland for bars to support the local charities. When charities host their events here, we give back some of that night’s take as a donation, and we also give them a good deal on pricing. Helping local charities achieve their goals is our way of giving back.”