My Fave Irish Pub Owner Is In QC

This Postmedia-owned/Leader-Post-operated fake indie insert-thing isn’t exactly my favourite Regina publication, but QC did something right with this profile on much-loved pint-pourer Niall O’Hanlon. Andrew Matte’s piece tells O’Hanlon’s story, starting in Ireland with his dad, then moves on to Niall’s tedious university days and happy pub nights. From there it relates Niall’s early experiences in the pub biz and finally describes how he met his future wife, moved to Regina and founded and developed the city’s best pub.

The writer gets out of the way and lets Niall’s story speak for itself. From the article:

“People thought we were crazy for opening up downtown. People told me ‘why don’t you go to the south end’ or ‘the east end is really going to take off.’” And I am sure that was true,” he said. “But I have always been a downtown kind of guy. And this was a different kind of venue.”

His gamble paid off. In the 11 years O’Hanlon’s has been open, it’s become more successful every year. He has expanded several times, hosts live music on the weekend and has been known as a place for all people. He estimates sales have increased 30 per cent every year. Today, O’Hanlon’s sells as much draft as biggest-selling pubs in Canada, and ranks second for sales of Guinness alone.

Now, I’m not sure Niall’s going to be thrilled by the fact that there are six — six! — photos of him in QC, including the cover, contents page and four-page story. It’s a little much.

But I’m glad QC published this piece about my favourite pub owner. Prairie dog — already downtown and O’Hanlon’s-centric — couldn’t have. It would’ve felt waaay too inbred.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

13 thoughts on “My Fave Irish Pub Owner Is In QC”

  1. The typo’s in the online version but not the hard copy. The article is good, and very positive.
    BTW, I like QC for the NY Times crossword puzzle.

  2. I read that this morning. I was sad when I read this:

    “He hopes to revamp his menu and turn O’Hanlon’s into a gastro pub that serves high-end fare.”

    I am a huge O’Han’s fan, but this would make me mad. Let’s make downtown super expensive so that nobody but the suits can afford it yay!

    I’m already generally grumpy at O’Han’s for always having shows at 11pm. Fridays that’s fine, but I’ve left weeknight shows because they also don’t start until well after 10.

  3. Moon Daddy, well define old. I’ll be 34 in January. So, maybe, kinda?

    But mostly I just think it’s stupid, mean, and rude to have a band begin to play after 10 on a weeknight. It’s unfair to the band if its fans can’t go watch them. I figure the bar does it to make more money on beer, but I’d go to more weeknight shows if I thought they’d start before my bed time. My bedtime, by the way, is 11 or so. I’ve left because bands haven’t hit the stage by 11.

  4. I really don’t think anyone would care if you did a story on Niall. I don’t know if anyone outside the Dog thinks or knows that you’re incestuous. How would they? Just because your office is up the street?

    It’s okay if someone else has a good idea, right? Downtown isn’t the PD’s exclusive domain, though I can understand why you guys MIT be protective of it.

  5. I’d like to see bands start earlier on weekdays too, at all bars and clubs. Sometimes it’s 11:30 p.m. before the back-up band gets going. If you have to get up early the next day and put in a full day at work, it can be tough. Yet you still want to support live music (and the venues) as much as you can. I’m not sure if its a call the bar always makes, or it’s the band sometimes.

  6. Yes Jeremy, it’s okay if someone else has a good idea. And like I said, I’m glad QC published this piece.

  7. I’ve been to excellent shows in Vancouver that start at 8 and are over by 10. Some venues even schedule bands for AFTER the headliners, so that they can still hold on to the people who can/want to stay late on weeknights.

  8. What seedy bars were open downtown around 1999? I can’t remember the name, but a second-level place on Scarth existed once upon a time that served us booze when we were 17 and 15 (meets definition I believe). Any others?

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