Ah, yes. The million-dollar question. Why are restaurateurs spending millions to import their pubs from the Emerald Isle when some dude named Johnson could do it for a quarter of the price? The answer, dear lads & lasses, is one part restaurant business, two parts Celtic pride.
"Sending the love back to Ireland"
As you surely guessed, most people who open Irish pubs are Irish themselves. Like every other Irish person ever, they’re deeply loyal to their birthright. “Some of our clients have left Ireland two generations ago,” Fagan told me. “But they want to make sure that people [there] get the work. They do it to ensure their dollars make it into Irish pockets. They call this 'sending the love back to Ireland.'"
Irish true, through & through
Not that locally made counterparts are any less real-deal, but with decades of experience, companies like IPCo., GGD Global, & OL can nail the lusted-after Irish pub vibe better, quicker, and cheaper than a proprietor can on his own. And beyond good service, there’s nothing more important than that aesthetic. “The customers don’t necessarily notice or appreciate all the details, but they do feel them,” says McGill. Plus, when the pub opens, the publican can proudly advertise that his establishment was “made in Ireland.” Nothing makes a pint taste better.
When it comes to Irish pubs, authenticity is currency. According to IPCo., “Sales per square foot in ‘authentic pubs’ are exceeding the US average by a factor of two.” GGD’s website claims that the more realistic a pub feels, the more money it can make. Heverin says that per square foot, an Irish pub is more lucrative than any other type of restaurant.
Where are these pubs? Am I in one right now?
Maybe! There’re Irish-made pubs in Indiana, Iraq, India, and a bunch of other places that don’t even start with “I.” From multi-story buildings to tiny storefronts (called “snugs”), these companies can build pubs almost anywhere. Fagan managed a build-out in Halifax, Nova Scotia once. Heverin traveled 15 hours south of Moscow to erect Wright Brothers in Belgorod, Russia. Believe it or not -- and you should go ahead and believe it! -- IPCo.’s biggest office is in Dubai, where 15 employees keep up with a barrage of contracts for pubs, hotels, and even a mock village.