The proprietors of the newly christened CrisNics Irish Pub in Wilkes-Barre are familiar faces at the decades-old establishment.
Mark and Colleen Flaherty first purchased what was then the Barney Inn in 2003 from Lillian and Joseph McCabe, who operated the establishment for 45 years before retiring. The Flahertys partnered with Joe Fisher, eventually turning the place over to him and concentrating on their special event and catering business, A Touch of Class, based in the Parsons section of Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Flaherty also owned Beer Bellies in Hanover Township for about 20 years.
After Fisher passed away in April, his family approached the Flahertys about buying back the Barney Inn. The couple agreed and set about giving the restaurant a face-lift – gutting the inside to start from scratch. They renamed the restaurant after their daughters, Christina and Nicole.
“Everyone’s glad to go to a local place with familiar faces,” said Mrs. Flaherty. “We’re trying to bring a family-oriented restaurant to South Wilkes-Barre.”
The pub brings traditional Irish fare and family dining to a place where owners say everyone is a wee bit Irish. Customers, including many Barney Inn regulars, have received the place well since it opened about a month ago.
The redesigned pub includes plenty of Irish accents, from Gaelic restroom designations – “cailín” for women and “fir” for men – to green wood paneling, booths and bar stools. There’s still more work to be done – the owners plan to add a patio for outdoor dining in the spring.
Their main goal is to foster a comfortable, familiar atmosphere where customers will be happy to call themselves regulars. To that end, they hired a few familiar faces to work behind the bar – bartenders Denise Mendoza and Cheryl Hendrick, who worked for the Flahertys at Beer Bellies.
Fare includes a range of options, from chicken wings to lobster to traditional Irish dishes, Mr. Flaherty said.
“We do it all,” he said. “Everything’s as fresh as we can make it.”
Shepherd’s pie is one of the top-selling specialties. Other Irish staples include corned beef and cabbage and Dublin coddle, – pork sausage, bacon, onions and sliced potatoes.
One of their most popular dinner specials is the 7 ounce lobster tail, served Mondays through Thursdays after 4 p.m., Mr. Flaherty said.
The pub also offers lunch specials daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as food or drink specials. Monday is Old Forge pizza and wings combo night, Tuesday is clam night and Wednesday is Mexican fiesta night.
The pub’s full menu is available Tuesdays through Sundays. A limited bar menu with some specials is available on Mondays. Takeout is also available. For sports fans, the bar carries NFL television packages.