McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House opens its doors

McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House owner Dave Nelson. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

“Patience is a virtue that causes no shame,” an Irish proverb states.

McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House is finally open for business, nearly seven months after owner Dave Nelson announced plans to establish a Williston-based counterpart to his existing Irish pubs in Montpelier and Barre.

As far as Richmond resident Jim Remsen is concerned, it was well worth the wait.

“It’s cool to see it open,” Remsen said at McGillicuddy’s Oct. 10 grand opening. “There’s nothing really like it in the area.”

Located on Walnut Street in Maple Tree Place, McGillicuddy’s is a purveyor of such traditional Irish pub grub as beef stew and fish and chips, as well as the Irish and American hybrid of bangers and mashed sweet potatoes and its signature Guinness-marinated burger. Its 22 televisions are outnumbered only by its 28 beers on tap, including such draft rarities as the Oregon-brewed Henry Weinhard’s IPA and Smithwick’s—Ireland’s oldest ale.

Nelson, who used the words “comfortable” and “casual” to describe his new establishment, thinks it will attract a diverse crowd of locals and tourists. He also suggested that it will give Majestic 10 moviegoers a place to congregate after an evening show.

“I think in general, there’s a market for what we’re doing,” Nelson said. “Our place is a hang-out kind of place.”

Judging from the turnout on opening day, when every booth and table was filled by 6 p.m. and patrons milled around the fully occupied horseshoe bar, Nelson might be onto something.

“I’m amazed at how many people are here for the first night,” remarked patron Brenda Collins, between sips of Stella Artois. “It’s a very nice atmosphere in here.”