In April of 2014, Tim and Jade Meagher opened Meagher’s Irish Pub. Located at Charles Pointe, the restaurant was inspired by Tim’s Irish ancestry and the tradition of pubs – short for public houses – being the gathering places for family and friends.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit so abruptly in March of 2020, there was no gathering of people. The Meaghers had to make a tough decision.
“Business was slow from the date the governor closed indoor dining till the day we temporarily closed,” said Jade Meagher. “We were only making enough to pay our employees. It didn’t make sense to stay open financially. However, it was mainly a safety issue for our employees.”
The days leading up to the March 28 closure – including St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally the Meaghers’ busiest time of the year – were stressful.
“To say we were emotionally stressed would be an understatement,” Meagher said. “We were feeling the pain with the entire nation – not knowing what our future would hold.”
But after being closed for 51 days, Meagher’s Irish Pub reopened May 18, equipped to accommodate a changing world.
“We were blessed on the day we reopened. The weather was gorgeous, and we had a wait for guests to eat on our updated patio,” Meagher said. “At that time, we were only allowed outdoor dining. We had added planter barrels with posts to string outdoor lighting and hook hanging baskets on them. We gave our black iron tables a pop of color by painting them green. The upgrades make the patio very cozy. We still have items to add to it and have received many compliments on its atmosphere.”
The Meaghers were thrilled to welcome back their patrons, as well as their employees, which over the years had grown to a family of 40-plus.
“We missed seeing our staff and our amazing guests that we consider family,” Meagher said. “The love we felt to see them all walk in on the first day was overwhelming. They walked in with big smiles on their faces and told us how much they missed us. Also hearing them say they didn’t realize how much they missed something until it was gone made us extremely happy!”
Meagher’s also incorporated a new menu, debuting items like Pub Poutine, Dubliner Chips, Dubliner Burgers and Pub Tacos, but also including classic favorites such as Celtic Fish and Chips (pictured), Irish Corned Beef, pepperoni rolls and various other burgers (pictured with cheddar cheese, bacon and pulled pork).
“What makes us unique is our selection of hearty Irish dishes that are equally popular and our selection of rotating craft draft beers, along with the variety of craft bottles we offer,” Meagher said. “The local West Virginia breweries are really putting out a great product and we love supporting them.”
Meagher’s is now offering indoor dining, but various restrictions – as per order of the state – are in place.
Things continue to evolve. Special events and live music, which had been part of the Meagher’s signature gatherings, are on hold for now.
The Meaghers thank the community for its support and continues to encourage everyone to support locally owned businesses.
“We have all taken a huge hit financially and it will take many of us a while to recover,” Meagher said. “I’m sure I can speak for many local owners that we hope everyone will continue to show their support. Community support is essential, no matter the situation. These businesses are always giving back whether it’s a family in need, kids’ sports teams or a community club/organization … These owners have put their livelihood on the line and taken huge risks to follow their drams along with providing many jobs and opportunities for the community. They have built their and our surrounding neighbors.”
The Meaghers said their hearts go out to every small business owner who has felt the same heartbreak and hardships they have endured. They pray they recover and get back to normal very soon.
That May 18 reunion – when they saw their customers and staff for the first time in several weeks – was the first step in that journey, Meagher said.
“It really makes you feel like you’re doing something right and encourages you to keep at it because it’s all worth it.”