When Monaghan's in the Marina opened up ten years ago, it made perfect sense to cater to the young party crowd that lived in the neighborhood. Saturday nights at this local watering hole were guaranteed to be rowdy with spilled beer and a popcorn fight or two. Now, ten years later, those kids have grown up and Monaghan's is following suit with a fresh look, custom cocktail menu, and craft beer can program.
Patrick Connely, who managed Monaghan's for ten years and bought the bar with co-owner John Dampeer (Caskhouse, Hamlet) in January, explains the decision behind the remodel. "The Marina used to cater to a young party crowd, which was great for a long time, but that's shifted with rising rents." Now, it's home to either people who have lived there for a while or can afford $3,500 rents. Of the latter, Connely says, "Those aren't 21-24 year olds."
Connely doesn't want to alienate the younger crowd by any means, but says he "also wants to cater to a more sophisticated crowd and try to recapture the old regulars." To do that, he and Dampeer did a total remodel that shut down the bar for five weeks. The transformation included adding a lot of reclaimed wood, opening up the back bar and bricking the wall, redoing the bathrooms, fresh paint, and all new lighting to create a "rustic modern look" with a "neighborhood comfy cozy" vibe.
Monaghan's regulars will be relieved to know the things they loved are still there: the nine TVs, pool table, Golden Tee, and juke box all made the cut. Connely says, "We still wanted to keep the elements that make it a good neighborhood bar. We definitely don't want it to be stuffy."
In order to attract young professionals, they created Monaghan's first-ever cocktail menu, which includes drinks like Golden Gate Glance (Ketel Oranje, Aperol, grapefruit, lemon, prosecco) and Misdemeanor on Chestnut (Altos respoda tequila, green chartreuse, jalapeno syrup, lime, pineapple). They are also serving two barrel aged cocktails (Marina Old Fashioned and Monaghan's Manhattan) as well as a batch cocktail (Barrel on the Bay). There's also a brand new craft beer can program, in addition to many craft options on tap.
Monaghan's unveiled the new look when they opened their doors back up on Tuesday and Connely says the response has been great.
"Everybody loves it so far. The regulars say it's new and clean, but feels warm and comfortable. They still feel like they're at Monaghan's."
And the question on everyone's mind: What about the popcorn machine? Good news: it's still there. They just moved it behind the bar so people can't grab it, throw it, or treat it like an eating trough. "The one thing people didn't want us to get rid of was the popcorn machine," Connely says. "But now it's more of a snack as opposed to a game."
Monaghan's is open Monday-Friday from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 a.m.