Before landing in the city’s new and first-ever authentic Irish pub, owner Joe Griffin’s 110-year-old mahogany bar traveled down historic Route 66 all the way from Cincinnati, OH.
Channeling the Americans who traveled west during the 1930s and also his great-great grandfather’s migration to Canada during the Irish Potato Famine, Griffin’s journey to opening his new business was both emotional and physical.
“The whole thing has been a lot of memories,” Griffin said.
Though Griffins of Kinsale, 1007 Mission St., has no opening date set, Griffin said it could be any day now.
The Montreal native said he hopes his addition to downtown will incorporate his traditional Irish heritage – his family hails from Kinsale – and also the storied history of South Pasadena.
“I want it to be a place that people can feel is theirs,” said Griffin, who has lived in South Pasadena for 14 years since moving there to become an actor.
Griffin also appealed to the community with his Kickstarter.com fundraising campaign, with the help of his friend Bill Goodwin, of Pasadena. The pub’s site garnered 143 “backers” and $17,204, and donors who gave $25 or more will have their names up on the pub wall.
“It was a fantastic outpouring of community support and I think it was really gratifying,” Goodwin said.
The pub will serve traditional Irish foods, beers and whiskeys, but above all Griffin said he hopes it can be a place for community members to reconnect.
“Traditional pubs in Ireland were kind of an extension of a family’s house,” Griffin said. “I wanted to sort of recapture that.”
And to add to that public house feel, Griffin’s pub has another unique factor: no TVs.
“We spend so much time in front of the computer so I wanted to get away from that,” Griffin said.
Though the pub had a sneak preview during the Eclectic Music Festival, locals are itching for more.
“Daily I’m getting harangued with people calling me up saying, `When is the pub going to open?”‘ Chamber of Commerce President Scott Feldmann said. “Obviously he has tapped into something that is going to be pretty popular.”
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