Renovated Kildare’s bringing multiple Irish themes to Gateway

A crew unloads the overhang that will sit above the bar at Kildare's Irish Pub. The restaurant imports its furniture and decor from Ireland to bring an authentic vibe to the restaurant.

When Kildare’s Irish Pub opens its doors in early March at South Campus Gateway, it isn’t promising an Irish dining destination – it’s promising five.

Owner Dave Magrogan prides his West Chester, Pa.-based chain on its authentic Irish elements, which include furniture, fixtures and decor acquired in Ireland (he visits several times a year and maintains a warehouse in Pennsylvania). But the atmosphere is more than the traditional pub most diners may be familiar with. Magrogan said the two-story Gateway restaurant will feature five different sections, each inspired and outfitted like an Irish environment.

The first floor is the “shop pub,” which is the style most recognizable to diners and drinkers with its heavy woods and Guinness paraphernalia. The main floor upstairs will be divided between a brewery theme with plenty of copper elements and brewing barrels, plus a Gaelic section marked off with real tree trunks and traditional tribal murals. There also are two private rooms upstairs, one that will have a Victorian design and the other, called the Cottage Room, meant to evoke a rural home.

“We know we can create the atmosphere,” he said. “We have to execute on the hospitality.”

It’s that commitment to concept that created the two-stage rollout of the pub in the Columbus market. Technically, Kildare’s arrived at South Campus Gateway in August, when it took over for McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon with a temporary operation dubbed the Pub.

Magrogan said they couldn’t pass up the chance to cater to the rabid Ohio State football crowds, so they did minimal interior work, brought in a sampling of the full Kildare’s menu and went with the temporary name in time for fall. Once the season ended, the doors were locked and the full renovations began.

“Business was moderate,” he said of the temporary period. “We had a successful lunch business but we just scratched the surface. It made us excited for the renovations.”

The menu includes sandwiches, salads and burgers as well as a slate of Irish dishes, including Guinness Stew, Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers & Mash. The beer list will have options for the college-age discount drinkers, but will offer upper-end brews too. Beer will be served in real glasses, not plastic cups.

“We want to put a quality product out there,” he said.

Magrogan, who declined to share sales, owns 11 restaurants, including seven Kildare’s, three Doc Magrogan’s Oyster Houses and one Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. The Kildare’s are predominately in college towns like Chapel Hill, N.C. and State College, Pa. Magrogan said he’s scouting Ohio for locations for Harvest Seasonal.

Source: Dan Eaton, bizjournals.com

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