Morrissey's Irish Pub opens in Uptown

MICHAEL RIETMULDER | Updated 3/14/2013

Just in time for March 17, Morrissey’s Irish Pub opens on Lake Street.

Manager Paul Crilly is planning an extensive whiskey program when Morrissey’s opens on Tuesday.
Photo by JEFF WHEELER

In the past five years, four different restaurant concepts have floundered in the small space that once housed Favor Cafe. But the Lyn-Lake joint’s jinx wasn’t enough to scare off the owners of the incoming Morrissey’s Irish Pub.

“We’re Irish,” said co-owner Roy Connaughton with a confident grin. “We’re about to break that curse.”

Two weeks before Morrissey’s planned March 14 opening date, co-owners Connaughton, Paul Crilly and Scott Schuler stood in the middle of its 1,270-square-foot seating area. Renovations were far from complete, but Schuler was jazzed about the location’s potential. “The space, for all the talk of its curses and whatever, it’s got great bones,” he said.

Remodeling the room formerly occupied by Restaurant Miami and more recently Viva Brazil and Los Lagos, has been a mix of addition and subtraction. Stripping apart the interior, they discovered rustic wooden beams in the ceiling and a brick wall behind the bar suitable for what chief operator Crilly (an alumnus of downtown Minneapolis Irish bars Kieran’s and O’Donovan’s) says will be Uptown’s first and only Irish pub. Morrissey’s will have a small stage and host live music — a mix of traditional Irish acts and singer/songwriters — at least four nights a week.

Despite its name, don’t expect a slew of Morrissey tribute acts. The pub’s moniker is actually a “tip of the cap” to Crilly’s grandfather, not the Irish-blooded frontman of U.K. indie-rock greats the Smiths. “It was a name my grandfather used back in the early ’20s,” said Crilly, a Northern Ireland native. “He was a commanding officer in the old IRA. He was on the run once or twice, so he used Johnny Morrissey as his alias.”

Slated to open just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the pub will open at noon March 17, with live music from 4-8 p.m. including the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band at 6 p.m. ($5 cover). Here’s a look at some other St. Paddy’s Day weekend happenings.

Kieran’s Irish Pub (85 N. 6th St., Mpls.) is throwing a two-day bash, opening at 9 a.m. March 16 for the Team Ortho Get Lucky 7K. Live music starts at 6 p.m. ($5 cover after 5 p.m.) on the main stage, with Irish pipe bands passing through and a heated-tent dance party. On March 17, Erin Rogue, Sweet Colleens, Reverse Cowboy and others will perform from noon until 2 a.m. ($5 cover all day).

Keegan’s Irish Pub (16 University Av. NE., Mpls.) is also doubling down on the festivities. The bar will open early for an Irish breakfast and hosts tent parties from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. March 16-17, with performances from the Minnesota Police Pipe Band and Four Pints Shy (March 16) and Erin Rogue (March 17).

The Dubliner Pub (2162 W. University Av., St. Paul) puts on its tent party March 16 from noon to midnight. Gastrotruck will provide food, while Tom Dahill, Paddy Wagon, the Langer’s Ball and others perform. March 17’s indoor-only party features music from Reverse Cowboy (5 p.m.) and the Two Tap Trio (9 p.m.).

Patrick McGovern’s (225 W. 7th St., St. Paul) kicks off its massive tent party at noon March 16. The Minnesota Police Pipe Band will swing through around 1 p.m., with DJs soundtracking the green sea of revelry.

Though its 22nd annual World’s Shortest Parade breezes by on March 16 (3:30 p.m.), O’Gara’s Bar and Grill (164 N. Snelling Av., St. Paul) is celebrating St. Paddy’s Day twice. Live music runs in an outdoor tent from 3-9 p.m. March 16-17, with DJs and other acts indoors from 3 p.m. to close each day.

Morris­sey’s Irish Pub

Where: 913 W. Lake St., Mpls.

Info: 612-465-8555 or www.morrisseysuptown.com.