Irish pub makes its way to Washburn

Kristi and Danny Doman, Irish pub landlords and creators of The Snug.

Welcome to the Doman family who for nearly two months has been sawing, hammering, painting, and plumbing together on W Bayfield St. in Washburn. Their mission: completing The Snug, an authentic Irish pub and opening it by June 8.

The dictionary definition of snug is: “comfortably sheltered; cozy; small but well arranged; closely secured and well built; seaworthy.”

The Snug will be all of these things, just not quite yet.

May 30, the place is in shambles.

The beer truck arrives to make its first delivery. It’s rained for days and the tires slurp and slide all over the dirt road leading up to the backdoor.

Boards and clear plastic are laid down in hopes of keeping the mud out. Beneath the coverings brand-new hardwood floors glisten.

There’s an Irish pub in there somewhere behind the drop-cloths, ladders and buckets, and the Domans aim to find it by June 8.

“Kristi wanted an Irish Pub,” says Danny speaking of his wife, “and we said, ‘Heck, let’s do it.’ Hope it works. Hope it’s a good enough economy for it.”

Economy is the Doman family’s middle name. They do everything themselves.

Danny is a contractor and lives in Washburn, and Myron, his father, a master plumber from Milwaukee – two professionals worth having on a gotta-get-this-place-open-in-a-week team. Also, Uncle Melvin’s up from Milwaukee doing just about everything in between.

Two friends, Steve Guski and Jared Baribeau have joined the team. Guski helped build the back-bar cabinets and Baribeau the basement cooler.

Even local businesses have chipped in bringing food to the crew after hours.

“I really appreciate my community,” says Danny.” Dave Nickels of Nickel’s Worth Bar & Grill even gave me an old mirror to put behind the bar.”

Everyone’s moving at lightening speed trying to get the job done in time.

The deliveryman slops through the mud and hands over cases of imported and domestic beer. The crew joins him in a tag-team effort to load them into the basement cooler reached only by a trap door in the floor.

It’s a ship getting ready to sail.

Captain and Co-captain Kristi and Danny are the pub landlords. They met while attending Northland College in 1995 and made several trips to Ireland where they conducted a lot of pub “research.” (They all say that, but in this case it was true). Their favorite was in Dingle, County Kerry.

“After the last trip it dawned on us that there really wasn’t any where like that to go here,” reflects Kristi who’s grandparents are from Ireland.

“We just wanted to bring a little bit of that culture here,” croons Kristi, “the good tap beers and the quiet, cozy atmosphere. We also hope to encourage some musicians to play without having an actual gig.”

On June 8 there’ll be two musicians on tap– Stevie Matier and Andy Noyes, who’ll strum and drum some Irish favorites.

The true stars of the evening, however, will be the ten different kinds of beer on tap, including Guinness.

“By July we’ll have some Shepherd’s and Fishermen’s Pies, soups, salads, sandwiches, and some good soda bread,” adds Kristi.

The breads will be sailed over from Coco’s “and we’ll see what else we can source locally,” says Kristi.

The Snug will serve both luncheon and dinner. Thus, more family members will climb on board.

“Danny’s sister, who’s a caterer in California, is moving out here and wants to do the cooking,” says Kristi.

Nora, Kristi and Danny’s ten year-old daughter, “desperately wants to cook” and their twelve-year-old Kira “can’t wait to sing and do dishes.”

There’s a job for everyone in the Doman family, and after all is said and done, “we still like each other,” chuckles Danny.

Even when the pressure’s on, the workers are unusually considerate with one another. Shoes come off each time a carpenter goes outside and comes back in making sure not to damage the newly varnished floors.

It’s refreshing to such this barn-raising camaraderie between friends and family.

The Snug will lower its gangplank at 308 W Bayfield St. in Washburn at 4 p.m. on June 8.

Besides the flowing well of beer, “we’ll have some snacks for people to munch on,” says Kristi, who’s at last taking a wee break from her long day.

She sets her paintbrush down after putting the finishing touches on a church pew that’s going to be sliced up and made into booths – part of the authentic Irish décor.

Behind her, moss green walls suggest the verdant hills of the Emerald Isle. In contrast, an oak bar and cupboard matched with oak ceiling trim and floors intimate the interior of a ship. This ship is sailing to Washburn.

In a few more weeks there’ll be a deck out back, a perfect place for starry night communions or a sunny afternoon with a frothy mug of Guinness or Shepherd’s pie in hand.

In the old days a snug was a private room with access to the bar that had a frosted window no one could see into. Rich folks, clandestine lovers, or women who didn’t want to be seen in a bar could have a quiet pint in peace. This Snug, however is right out in the open ready to be seen and enjoyed by everyone.

Who needs to travel abroad when Ireland is coming to Washburn?

Source: Hope McLeod,


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