Quigley's Half Irish Pub has been a long time coming.
Owner James Quigley bought the building on Portland Street five years ago and started rehabbing. Running a restaurant was always his goal, and he's still working on that. But the pub, which opened in March, is well on its way to becoming an elegant addition to Ridgely's Delight.
At first, Quigley's looked like it was trying to be another pregame watering hole. Quigley wrapped tacky beer-sponsored banners around the building and hung dozens of small Red Stripe signs inside. But a couple of weeks after Opening Day, Quigley took down the exterior and most of the interior signs. I'm glad he did -- that circa 1900 red-brick building shouldn't be hidden under beer-company swag.
The place's name pays homage to Quigley's half-Irish and half-Peruvian heritage. He did most of the renovations himself, learning as he went and taking odd jobs to foot the bills, he said.
Quigley bought beautiful wood for the bar and some of the thick support beams from the old Sunny's Surplus store on Baltimore Street. He found the bar back in Second Chance and added the inlaid marble. Other interior decorations, such as the metal chandeliers, were salvaged around town.
"I like old stuff because it lasts a long time," he said. "I try to utilize everything I get."
Quigley tore down a wall near the back of the building and found a large brick fireplace. The large windows with green trim allow for plenty of fresh air and add volumes to the place's turn-of-the-century look.
The pub still is not nearly finished, Quigley said. He plans to rip up the floor tiles and replace them with hardwood and add new furniture. Right now, most of the chairs look like they're probably carry-overs from the building's former incarnation as the Strike Three Lounge.
The two brews on tap -- Guinness ($4) and Pabst Blue Ribbon ($2.50) -- are priced fairly cheap and cover both ends of the beer spectrum. During game days, three cans of Natty Boh go for $5, which is also a good deal.
The three times I went to Quigley's, the crowd was half neighborhood folk and half pre- or post-gamers. Most were young, but some were old, and everyone got along fine. Now that the bar half is up and going, Quigley can work on opening the kitchen. He doesn't have a date or menu set but might look to his background for culinary inspiration. It could be Baltimore's only Irish-Peruvian restaurant.
"Every man has a dream," Quigley said. "How you execute it is your own deal."
Quigley's Half Irish Pub is at 633 Portland St. It is open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily. Call 410-539-9052.
A wrong number accompanied the review of Illusions Magic Bar and Lounge in this space April 12. The correct number is 410-727-5811.