Fire didn’t stop pub owners

After a nearly two-year wait, Bernee Cain and Beth Laufer are ready to open McMonagle’s Irish Pub on Union Street.

The tavern and adjacent pizza shop were destroyed in a Christmas morning 2009 fire that started in an upstairs apartment.

“We knew immediately that we were going to rebuild,” Cain said.

“She put her arm around me and said, ‘well, it looks like we’ll be getting that new bar we’ve always wanted,'” Laufer said of Cain.

McMonagle’s will reopen 6 p.m. today, the owners said.

“There were so many obstacles leading to this day,” Cain said. “The worst part, though, was the waiting.

“We were trying to get everything in order, then right after the fire, the borough decided to get rid of the code enforcement officer and other people that we needed to speak with.”

Cain said she is impatient, and didn’t feel as if progress was being made on rebuilding efforts until the first brick was laid.

“There was a lot of waiting around for drawings and approvals,” she said. “The engineers had to make two or three edits to the drawings.

“It really wasn’t until building started that we really could see the progress that was being made.”

Final touches are still being made to the establishment, which has seen the occupancy limit double.

“Everything is so much bigger and better now,” Cain said.

McMonagle’s now features a larger backstage area adjacent to the outdoor patio. Inside, there will be plenty of room at the 51-foot bar.

“It’s really turned out to be a beautiful place,” Cain said. “We couldn’t have done it without the constant support and motivation of everyone. Our families and friends were critical to us being able to get this place open.”

The owners are well aware of the war California police are waging on underage drinkers and disorderly behavior.

“I really think that we’re opening at a good time,” Cain said. “I’ve seen a lot of reports of people being drunk wandering the streets. We’ve always had a good relationship with the police here.

“We’re providing a controlled environment. We want to ensure the safety of our patrons, while still being strict on our policies of who we serve.

“We love being where we are here. People respect us a lot. We’re offering a nice place for people to come and have some fun.”

Cain said opening the pub is just the first phase in a broader plan.

“We want to get the pizza shop up and running next,” Cain said. “We’ve got to have some income coming in.

“We’re going one floor at a time. The shop next, then we’ll work on rebuilding upstairs.”

Source: Jeremy Sellew, pittsburghlive.com

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