An American man in Utah loves Irish pubs so much that he spent thousands of dollars building one in his basement.
Brian Govatos said that while there are some good pubs in Salt Lake City, it is a long drive from his hometown where the pub scene is not so great.
Having been ‘genuinely struck’ by the pubs in Ireland when he spent time there ten years earlier, he decided to create one during the pandemic.
He jokingly referred to his €13,000 project as a ‘midlife crisis’ – and even a ‘marriage stress test’ but despite such worries, he has achieved fantastic results.
It features several typical Irish pub classic flourishes such as a dart board, a stage, a piano, guitar and banjo, a portrait and quote of Oscar Wilde, a Guinness clock, Guinness posters, a globe bar, traditional barstools, leather furniture and dark wooden fittings.
The walls are painted green to resemble a Jameson’s whiskey bottle, while the toilets are painted red to match the bottle tops.
He found a supplier in Westmeath for the majority of the décor and furniture. The bar itself was shipped in specially from Indonesia and there is an extensive collection of Irish whiskeys and spirits proudly on display.
It took eight months to complete and Brian can be proud to have created something very special.
He said: “I’ve travelled to Ireland 6 times and fall more and more in love with it each time I visit. An Irish Pub is so special, it facilitates conversation, connection, and authentic experiences thanks to its warmth and inviting nature.
“The problem with American bars, in my opinion, is that with all the bright lights, loud music, sprawling seating, and countless TVs, it becomes impossible to have meaningful engagements with friends and/or strangers. A proper pub seems to remedy this problem.
“I knew I had to source legitimate pub furniture and fixtures.
“I was extremely fortunate to stumble upon Used Pub & Hotel Equipment in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, and chatted with Carol via WhatsApp over the course of many days.
“She and I would review images of stools, chairs, tables, and even Guinness barrels that she had in stock. All of which I ended up grabbing from her.
“I drive to the neighbouring state of Nevada every few months to stock up on Guinness, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Murphy’s Stout, Smithwick’s Red, and Bulmer’s.
“Whiskey-wise, I try to keep as much Jameson on hand as possible, like Black Barrel. And for the visitors who really take an appreciation to whiskey, I keep Red Breast 12, Green Spot, Tullamore Dew 12, Connemara 12, Powers, and couple hidden bottles of Jameson Distillery Reserve and Jameson 18.”
Brian’s house has become popular in his neighbourhood since he built the bar.
As for his worries that the project was a marriage stress-test – he needn’t have worried as his wife and kids all enjoy spending time in the bar hanging out with Brian and listening to music.
He said: “The pub is used almost daily. Either for my wife Allison and I to just sit back, recap the day and listen to music, or with a small group of friends who sometimes drive upwards of an hour to visit on weekends.
“It isn’t uncommon for there to be several happy faces chatting, sipping, throwing darts, singing along to the nonsense I’m playing on the piano, or smoking a tobacco pipe (Irish tobacco smoked on Peterson pipes, naturally). Even in Utah, it’s just damn good craic.”
Great work Brian, we hope you enjoy the fruits of your labour for many years to come.
Take a look at the Brian’s video below.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling