New owner plans to convert Dub’s into an Irish pub

Hayley Odom

It was a relatively quiet Saturday night for Dub’s Pub and Grill last weekend, where a few die-hard patrons came to say goodbye to one of their favorite bars.

The popular Dinkytown hangout might close this week for remodeling under new ownership.

Local entrepreneur Mike Mulrooney said he and his business partner, Kevin O’Connor, expect to finalize their deal to purchase the pub Tuesday, but Dub’s manager Mike Pritchard said the closing date has been pushed back three times.

Pritchard said increasing rent caused the possible sale.

“Dinkytown will be missing something,” Pritchard said. “We cater to everyone from Gopher hockey fans, to the people who live around here, to the regulars that are over 30, to students.”

A few of the student regulars sipped cocktails and chatted in a booth Saturday night while the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones played in the background, to pay homage to their favorite hang-out.

Megan Johanknecht, a criminal sociology and psychology senior, and Jessica Fleischmann, a former University student, said they have come to the bar almost every day for the past week because of rumors about the bar closing.

“We call this place our home,” Johanknecht said. “If this place closes, I’m not sure where we’ll hang out.”

Fleischmann said she likes the uniqueness of the bar.

“We know everyone here,” Fleischmann said. “It’s like ‘Cheers.’ “

Evan Bolden, a barback and former University student, said the turmoil over the possible closing is difficult because he wants to stay to help out, but, at the same time, needs to find another job.

“It’s so hard,” Bolden said. “I don’t know what to tell people because I don’t know what’s happening.”

Bartender Casey Hennessy is also distraught about the possible closing.

“This is my family,” he said. “I’ve been working here for five years and I’ll miss it horribly.”

Hennessy said he sees the difficulty of keeping the bar open in an increasingly corporate world.

“If First Avenue, which is a legend in this town, is having difficulties staying open, how can anyone else compete?” he said.

When the deal closes, Mulrooney and O’Connor plan to take out the wall that separates the bar from the adjacent space formerly occupied by CD Warehouse.

Mulrooney said they plan to upgrade the menu and atmosphere, adding an Irish theme to the pub.

He said he expects the place to reopen within a month. As of Saturday, Mulrooney had not made a final decision regarding staff for the new pub, but Pritchard said the new owners would like to keep the same staff.

Mulrooney is currently applying for a city liquor license.

-Dan Haugen contributed to this report.