Paying Tribute to Irish Pubs and Restaurants

Category: Blog

Nashville says goodbye to Mulligan’s Pub

Nashville, TN may have lost a local watering hole on Second Avenue in 2010, but the memories of Mulligan’s Pub and Restaurant are immortalized online.

The Irish Pub was, at the time, located across from the Wildhorse Saloon. A popular spot for tourists and locals, the news of its closing was met with an outpouring of responses.

“VERY SAD [sic] to see this has closed,” wrote Zee M., of Huntsville, AL, on Yelp in 2011. “I loved it here and, after having tried their colcannon, learned how to make my own.”

The user went on to say that they were prone to visiting whenever “we could brave the Second Avenue crowds.”

The pub announced its closing in a post on their website in early December 2010. The note thanked patrons for the pub’s 20 “wonderful years” and for their “support and love.”

The post also expressed the hope that it became a part of its patrons’ lives.

Although the news came as a shock to some, one man knew it was time. Tony Lyons was the operator of the restaurant for nearly 23 years. Now almost 10 years ago, Lyons was ready to retire. The operator’s goal was to sell Mulligan’s to another restaurant operator, with the hope being that another Irish Pub would open in its place.

Former patrons described the pub as the sort of place it was impossible not to enjoy oneself. The bar and music were downstairs, which according to one patron also included a band who played traditional Irish drinking songs. The same patron, David S., of Nashville, TN, posted on Yelp in 2008 that there were parts of songs that the band would teach patrons.

David S. added that despite downtown tourists and his propensity of avoiding the area, he did not mind braving the crowds to go there for a “Whiskey in the Jar.”

“This is a great Irish pub and quite a welcome change of pace from most of the scene on Second Ave.,” he wrote.

That “scene” changed over the years, Lyons said. The biggest change? They could once play frisbee in the street at 2 a.m.

A Personal History of Mulligan’s Memories

Earlier this year, Landon, Chloe, Juniper, and myself (Kyle) went out to a double date in one of those rare and random attempts to make friends that you’re afraid is most likely to end up as a boring night of trying to force a human connection where one simply doesn’t exist. We met at the French Market Creperie in Knoxville—a semi-famous local place for sweet, savory, and breakfast crepes in downtown Knoxville. For the first 15 minutes, we were mostly feeling each other out, small talk, what do you do for a living, stuff like that.

Then, Landon made a comment about how crepes sound like craps, unless you say it with a really high voice like you have a stick up your butt and then, well, you get the idea. “I always love having a good crepe when I sit down,” he said. “Is it highfalutin or high flatulent?” I asked in turn. “Give me some Irish culture, good down-to-earth folk.” Our wives went from pleasantly surprised that we were hitting it off to mildly annoyed that we were being immature about pronunciations and French cuisine. Which was all in good fun. And not at all true. I eventually admitted that the crepe was delicious as well as their special LavAzza coffee. Possibly, Juniper and Chloe would have gotten more than mildly annoyed had they not banded together and found in each other a receptive audience for their chronic complaint about us.

But this was also how we discovered that both Landon and myself had, at different points in our lives, a favorite Irish pub named Mulligans. By itself, this isn’t that much of a coincidence since Mulligans isn’t exactly a rare Irish name, but each of these pubs had also closed down. These were two very different Irish pubs in two different cities halfway across the country.

Landon’s favorite Mulligan’s was in Nashville and was, arguably, much more in line with the traditional Irish pub as well as the town’s local culture. Something of an anomaly in a downtown that’s too often overrun with tourists and more trouble than it’s worth, Mulligan’s was the place. You could sing along with Irish drinking songs and find a mix of locals and out-of-towners.  

My own Mulligan’s was in Fort Collins, which closed down just earlier this year. In truth, I had left Colorado several years earlier, but was there when it temporarily closed in 2013 due to mismanagement and tax liabilities. Yes, it had a great selection of beers and a full bar. Yes, it had a traditional Irish pub menu, but my Mulligan’s was also, and some would say first and foremost, a sports bar. One year, my friends and I rented out the back room for a Super Bowl party.

Both restaurants had traditional Irish fare that included bangers and mash, vittles, fish n chips, and plenty and plenty of beer. Not to mention Irish car bombs. So, anyway, we got to talking and reminiscing and mourning the loss of “Mulligan’s” while also being appreciative of the fact that the Irish pub culture and even the name Mulligan’s is still very much alive and well.

Thus, when we saw this domain name from the old site become available, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to launch a fan appreciation site for everything we love (and loved) most about Mulligan’s Pub and Restaurants. We also wanted to pay homage to our own Mulligan’s Memories. Our biggest obstacle right now is that we seemed to have missed the food-photo-insta-posting culture and so don’t have really any good pictures to post. Stay tuned.

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