Red & Lauren Gemmell, owners of the newly open Barley Republic

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Lauren Gemmell

St. Augustine – Forget shamrocks, leprechauns and other kitschy suedo-Irish pub décor, the newly opened Barley Republic Irish Public House on Spanish Street has the authentic atmosphere and ambiance of a local pub in any homey Irish shire.

Located at 48 Spanish Street in the heart of America’s Oldest City downtown (former site of Kosmic Bluz Pizza), owners Red and Lauren Gemmell have worked several months to renovate the 1890s house, tearing out wall board to reveal the original brick fireplace, restoring woodwork and mahogany wainscoting.

The bar features a wall mural of an Irish pub setting by local artist Dean Quigley (See slideshow).

The Gemmels say they wanted a homey, neighborhood atmosphere for the pub, and have been amazed so far at the public response.

“We’re so grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received from the neighborhood. For weeks people passing by have been stopping to ask when we’d open and to welcome us to the city,” said Lauren.

Chef Ian McWilliam said during their test opening this past week, a lot of support has come from other downtown businesses and restuarants, with staff and even some fellow Chefs coming in to try the food.

The menu by McWilliam uses all fresh and locally purchased ingredients, and features traditional Celtic fare like Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers and Mash, but also an amazing Shrimp & Crawfish Boil, wings, salads and a hearty sandwich menu. Seating is indoor, outdoor or at the bar.

This weekend’s Grand Opening features Happy Hour specials all night tonight and tomorrow night; 50-cent wings, $1-off beer, $3 house wine and Champagne by the glass.

Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sun – Thurs, and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fri & Sat. Call 904-547-2023.

Barley Republic website: http://barleyrepublicph.com/

Menu: http://barleyrepublicph.com/pubmenu.html

Source: Rhonda Parker, St. Augustine Politics Examiner

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