Keegan’s Irish Pub opened at 16 University Ave. NE on March 11, 2002, and will mark its 10-year anniversary with a month-long celebration this March. Plans for the celebration include live music every Saturday, a two-day tent party for St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness promotional teams, a “polar plunge” sponsorship and $5 Guinness pints (the price in 2002) all month long.
“It’ll be a big month,” said Keegan’s Pub founder Terry Keegan.
Keegan launched the pub after retiring from the advertising industry. “I found out that I was too young to be retired,” he said.
After their favorite hangout closed, Keegan’s friends suggest that he open a bar so they would have a new place. He agreed, and discovered the Guinness beer company had a school for running “Irish Pub Concept” bars. To qualify as an Irish Pub Concept, a bar must be built in Ireland by Irish craftsmen and feature traditional Irish music and food. Keegan completed the Guinness school program, visited Ireland and contracted an Irish company to build his bar. Upon completion it was shipped to Minneapolis, complete with four Irish craftsmen to finish the assembly. Keegan’s Irish Pub was the first Irish Pub Concept in Minnesota.
Times have not always been easy at Keegan’s. Terry Keegan said 2004 was particularly hard, as Hennepin County’s smoking ban sent business to nearby Anoka County. Business recovered after the statewide ban went into effect, and then the recession hit. Fortunately, things have one again turned around.
“2011 was our best year ever in terms of sales,” said Keegan. “That’s really a big swing because 2009 was our worst year ever in terms of sales.”