After months of importing its decor directly from Ireland, Rochester’s newest downtown watering hole — the Olde Brick House Irish pub — started serving on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, customers won’t be able to sit at the bar for a fresh draft of Guinness beer or even a glass of Jameson whiskey, which will also be on tap.
The Olde Brick House at 19 First Ave. SW in the downtown Kahler Grand Hotel complex opened only for takeout and delivery … for now.
From 11 am. to 8 p.m., customers will be able to order Celtic meatloaf, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and other traditional fare from the Olde Brick House menu, as well as items like the Brown Sugar Brick House Burger, the Jameson Burger or a bowl of seafood chowder, among other things.
Everything on the full menu on the pub’s website can be ordered for takeout or delivery, including bottles of beer and wine.
While excited about finally being able to open, bar manager Steve Fortner said it's disappointing to not be able to show off the traditional 6,750-square-foot pub.
“It’s heartbreaking, for sure. It’s been a labor of love. And we wish we could share it with people in a different way, but we understand the reason that we can’t,” he said.
The Old Brick House is the sibling of a pub in St. Cloud. Like that one, the plan was to have a team of Irish workers fly in from Ireland to build it. The Ol Irish Pubs design firm also designed The Liffey in St. Paul and The Local in Minneapolis.
However, the pandemic grounded the Irish team, forcing them to go to Plan B.
Fortner explained that the bar, its façade and its interior were all built in Dublin, then dismantled and flown to Rochester to be re-assembled here. All of the decor also came from the Emerald Isle.
“The restaurant itself is gorgeous,” he said. “It’s as authentic as you can get.”
Of course, the bar is the centerpiece. In addition to traditional Irish beers on tap, the Olde Brick House has 100 whiskeys on the menu.