Aelred Gannon says his stints
behind the bar at The Pub have grown less frequent as he
spends more time in the kitchen. But regulars at the
establishment enjoyed chatting with him when given the
opportunity Tuesday. Topics range all over, he says, and the
bartenders at his bar are constantly chatting with patrons.
Josh Perttunen/Enterprise Staff
OCONOMOWOC - St.
Patrick’s Day is on Monday, but Irish heritage is celebrated
year-round at The Pub in Oconomowoc. Pub owners Aelred and
Bernadette Gannon came to the United States by way of Sligo
Town, Ireland, and say the establishment is as close to what can
be found in Ireland as possible.
All of the decor
in their restaurant and bar, located at 114 N. Main St., comes from
their native country, Aelred Gannon noted. He visits Ireland at
least once a year.
He offered the
Enterprise a peek into the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations of his
Irish past and his present as an Oconomowoc’s resident publican (the
title bestowed on Irish pub owners).
ENTERPRISE: How authentic is The Pub experience?
GANNON: It’s as
close to an Irish pub as you’re going to find. Though you can find
many “Irish pubs” out there, it’s not the same. You can build a
building to make it look like an Irish pub, but if it doesn’t have
an Irish soul, it’s not really an Irish pub.
ENTERPRISE: What is a patron likely to find at your
GANNON: We have
pints of Guinness, Murphy’s, Harp and Smithwicks. Guinness is the
biggest seller of all. We have authentic Irish food. My wife serves
as hostess and people enjoy her accent. We also provide traditional
Irish music every Thursday night.
ENTERPRISE: Does that mean you could someone could
break into a jig?
GANNON: A jig has
been known to happen, but not from me. I might play the whistle for
one, but won’t dance it.
ENTERPRISE: What do you do to creative a festive
atmosphere on St. Patrick’s Day?
GANNON: We open at
11 a.m. and provide corned beef and cabbage to anyone who wants it.
You have to do corned beef and cabbage and you have to do a lot of
it. The Pub is just a good place to come and let your Irish hang out
for the day. St. Patrick’s Day is our biggest day of the year.
ENTERPRISE: How is the celebration of St. Patrick’s
Day here different than what you experienced growing up in Ireland?
GANNON: When I was
in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was more of a religious holiday. St.
Patrick’s Day and Easter were of similar importance. You’d go to
church, have dinner with your family and then go see the parade if
your town had one. It wasn’t the 18-hour drinking fest that it is
Though I go back
often, I haven’t actually been in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day . . .
it may be that it is more of a drinking holiday there now.
Also, corned beef
and cabbage is an American Irish dish. The authentic Irish dish is
actually boiled bacon and cabbage. When you think about it
historically, it makes sense. The small farmers in Ireland couldn’t
afford beef. The cows they had were kept for milk. The United
States, on the other hand, has enough space and enough beef to feed
ENTERPRISE: Are people curious about your accent?
GANNON: Yes. They
still have a lot of questions. If they want to know the history, we
will go through the history. Most people want advice on where to