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McMahon’s Irish Pub – Minneapolis, MN

I can’t say that I had a lot of experience with The Poodle Club, but it seemed like a decent place to play pool or watch bad karaoke while drinking macro brews.

Apparently, it’s turning Irish sometime soon, according to the signs posted on the now closed bar:

The Poodle Club is Closed

That seems like a strange choice with Merlin’s Rest just down the block.

Can East Lake support two Irish bars within 10 blocks of each other?

44 thoughts on “McMahon’s Irish Pub – Minneapolis, MN”

  1. Doesn’t sound like a good choice for them. At least it won’t be the Poodle Club anymore. I can’t imagine it’d be anymore than an “irish theme” place unlike Merlin’s Rest which actually has some folks from the British Isles behind it.

  2. I thought it was an obvious call, just look at the recent influx of Irish immigrants, albeit they are likely illegal, they should be allowed an opportunity to select their own macro-brews too. 😉

  3. I too noticed this yesterday and thought it a very odd choice. For a minute I wondered if the Merlin’s Rest people were behind this one, too, but that seems kind of ridiculous. Seems like a Chatterbox-type place might be more appropriate. Speaking of East Lake St. establishments, does anyone know what’s happening with the old Molly Quinn’s? I thought Thom Pham was going to do a restaurant there, but in the last few weeks they’ve put back up a “For Lease” sign …

  4. This end of Lake just seems to be screaming for some bars/restaurants. There are so many cool looking spaces that presently sit boarded up. Merlins Rest is a great place, now the neighborhood needs some of that NE Minneapolis feel.

  5. Couldn’t agree more Chris. Seward/Longfellow residents seem ripe for the plucking. The Longfellow Grill is always busy and they’re following a pretty simple formula – good food that’s not too expensive, in an attractive setting. It’s not rocket science. Hopefully once the stupid Lake St. rebuilding is finished this stretch of Lake will jazz up a little bit.

  6. Hi all, the Poodle Club’s new owner is Dominic Mc Mahon from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who I have known through the trade for many years. He intends it to be an Irish place with a European touch and to bring back blues bands and other live music nights. His main interest is upgrading the former dive and making a good neighborhood place out of it. Since it is to be an Irish pub and Merlins is a British Isles style tavern, we see no conflict of interest, in fact the more pubs the merrier. I had to smile at the comment about Irish illegals, be it known that the US encourages immigration from Ireland and Morrisson visas are so easy to obtain, you woldn’t bother to be undocumented, you can actually clear US customs and the INS in a special part of Dublin Airport which is officially American soil.
    Bill Watkins, Keltcom Pub Design.

  7. Bill, I know you’re deep into this stuff, but I wonder if the average Minneapolitan can tell the different between an “Irish place with a European touch” and a “British Isles style tavern?”

  8. “… the different between an “Irish place with a European touch” and a “British Isles style tavern?”

    You wouldn’t be advised to sing “God Save the Queen” in an Irish pub.

  9. Took my dog on a long walk last night and passed the old Poodle Club. There is now a sign on the door that says that “McMahon’s Pub” will be open for business mid-late September.

    -Maggie (your alley neighbor)

  10. Maggie, thanks for the update on the Poodle Club status. Dang, that’s one heck of a walk from our ‘hood. Your dog must be in awesome shape.

  11. The old awning is gone and the building has been painted green, but I don’t believe it’s open yet. But progress is being made.

  12. It looks like they’re getting closer to opening the new location. They have an Opening Soon banner up, which is kind of a hint. And their new sign is in place with Jameson ads included.

  13. McMahon’s Pub opened yesterday. My husband is good friends with the owner and has spent countless hours helping to get the place ready for business. The place is painted in traditional Irish pub colors, and there are hand painted murals in the game room done by one of the girls that works there. Dom is a great guy and I can’t wait to spend my Mommy’s night out at McMahon’s.

  14. Hi Everyone
    Just a quick note to let everyone know that the White Sidewalls will start playing at McMahon’s Irish Pub on Wednesday night, November 21st at 8.00pm to Midnight, and then every Thursday night after at 8.00pm to midnight. So bring your dancing shoes. See ya than.

  15. Anyone know if they’re going to do Karaoke again? Also, what about breakfast? I like the idea of them making it more hip and Chatterbox-like, and less cookie-cutter corporate Irish pub. Given that this is in the “Swedish Ghetto” (AKA Longfellow), I don’t think the locals mind the owners playing with the formula. 🙂

  16. Yes, What about Karaoke? As the Poodle they had the BEST karaoke for
    years and years when Cary was there.
    And if they are bringing back the White Sidewalls, shouldn’t they bring
    the old Karaoke back too?
    I sure hope so.
    I stopped in a week ago. I left quickly though. The coffee was really good, but I didn’t see anybody I knew. Not a one.
    I have heard others from the Cardinal and Schooner that they have not seen any of the regulars there and one even thinks it was too much like a
    down town bar. “snootie” she said.

  17. I too went there a couple of weeks ago when it first opened.
    I decided to go to the Schooner instead.
    It wasn’t a very good mix of people
    at Mcmahons. None of the older people, nobody of color. It just didn’t feel right.

  18. Hi all
    We will be starting up Karaoke as soon as we can. So if anyone has Cary’s phone number can they get it to us. Our goal is to bring back as much as possible all the things the old poodle did when Harold owned the place, make it pub for the neigborhood. But the previous owners did such a bad job on the place that most, if not all of the contacts have been lost. So if you guys can help me get them back we will start up all the old traditions again and get them booked ASAP. We are totally open to any and all ideas that you would like to see here. Please let be know. Thanks.
    Ps Snootie is the one thing we are not. Come and see.

  19. I would agree snootie is one thing the bar is not. Liked the Bulmers on tap, food menu looked good and the staff were very friendly. I was hoping that the music would have been a little bit more trad orientitated. Not a big fan of the blues. Some sessions like they have at “The Dubliner” would bring in a new type of clientel. But if all you want is a carbon copy of the old “Poodle Club” stick with the blues.

  20. If they’re going to attract crowds, they should start booking in some bands (other than just a house blues band). The place is big with a stage and could handle it — it’s the thing they’ve got going over Merlin’s down the street. I hate that the closest venue for live music is Christensen’s/Big V’s or The Turf Club on University. Plus, The Dubliner over there also has celtic music. Enough with the Irish stuff! Lake Street is ready for a music venue!

  21. I think what my friend meant when she said “snooty” is – “downtown” like. I think there is a big difference between bars downtown and bars in SE MPLS.

    I just want the old neighborhood
    meeting place back. It was like the cornerstone for so many of us.

  22. I think what my friend meant when she said “snooty” is – “downtown” like. I think there is a big difference between bars downtown and bars in SE MPLS.

    I just want the old neighborhood
    meeting place back. It was like the cornerstone for so many of us.

  23. Hi Folks
    For all you Karaoke lovers, as off Monday the 26th of November, starting at 8.00pm Cary Carlson, who started the orginal Karaoke program back at the Poodle, will be kicking of McMahon’s Karaoke nights, both Monday and Tuesday nights. Please keep the ideas coming and we will do our best to make the Pub the cornerstone bar you had in the past.
    We also have live music Wednesday night through Sunday night. So all are welcome, and bring your dancing shoes. So give us a call and we will fill you in on the bands as they do change. 612 722 1377. Thanks.

  24. i agree with earlier posters, that east lake needs a chill bar (kind of like the 331 in NE) that has a dj a few nights a week, moderately priced drinks, and a good vibe. there are already enough places that serve $5 beers with not much atmosphere (merlins, new poodle, longfellow…). at least we still have the schooner which doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. i heard tom pham ran out of dough and therefore backed out of BOTH places he was going to open on east lake.

  25. THANK YOU DOM!!!
    You’ve made a whole bunch of us really happy.
    See you Monday

  26. Aimee you are very welcome. If there is anything else we can do please let me know.
    To answer Steve J, I don’t have any beer that is $5.00. Over happy hour all my beers range from $2.00 to $3.50 and $3.00 to $4.50 the rest of the time. We have live entertainment 7 nights a week, from Karaoke to bands to music jams to pool and darts. As for trying being something we are not, I don’t know what that means ?????, we are what we are and always intended to be, an Irish Pub that has live music, that will do it’s best to cater to everyones needs in Pub that has a great atmosphere.
    Thank you all for the input and hope to see you soon.

  27. Dominic –
    How about creating a website for McMahons? Based on all the above comments it looks like people are wanting information about the pub. I know I keep searching for a website and thedeets seems to be the only site that talks about your new pub. Just a thought…

  28. Hi
    A web site is under construction as we speak. The address is,
    It will be and going ASAP.

  29. i appreciate the comments, Dominic. I don’t mean to be negative about what you are trying to do. The comment about “pretending to be something that you are not” was off base (since you and the folks at Merlin’s are from the British Isles). It’s just that me and many of my pals were hoping for something other than an irish pub. Do you think you’ll book the types of bands (local bands that play modern orignal music) that play at the Hexagon, 400 bar, Triple Rock, or the Turf Club?

  30. HI Steve J
    No problem Pal. Let me know the name and types of bands that you like and I will try and get some in. The only thing that we are not doing mostly is the music, because every other Irish pub is playing Irish music, I thought it would be cool for a Pub to offer other types of music and cater to a broader range of people other than the Irish music lovers. So by all means please let me know and I will work on it. Thanks so much for the feed back, and hope to see you soon.

  31. Dom-
    thank you again for bringing Cary
    and his family back for Karoake.
    We all had a fabulous time last eve.
    It felt like the old Poodle family again. Thank you for making it possible for us, especially near the holidays.

  32. Hey all,
    I’m so glad to see this discussion going on—this is my first time posting (so be gentle with me…). As someone who was just introduced to Merlins Rest within the last month or two, and just went to my first McMahon’s open blues jam last Sunday, I have a few quick things to say—
    Singing in front of people is something I just started doing within the last few months, and it’s, well, terrifying. That said, people at Merlins Rest have been so warm, and welcoming, I already feel like these people are family (they’re even nice to me when I play the guitar, which is generally painful for everybody.) Although I have only been to McMahon’s once, I will surely be back—the Sunday night open jam was awesome, and it was a real treat to sing with these musicians. Hope everyone is keeping warm!
    Jenny Perelstein

  33. Hey–Harrison here. I run an open-mike Monday nights at Merlin’s Rest. It’s not karaoke. It’s just a microphone and ten minutes to do whatever you want. We call it Harrison’s Happy Hour. Poetry, music, whatever you want. Come on down.

  34. All I want to do is by a feckin Poodle up the north.
    Poodle….belfast owner…….GOOGLE!!!!

    95% of Irish bars arent Irish anyway.

  35. Sorry to hear about the fire this morning. Ive been meaning to drop in at McMahons for months on my drive back to saint paul each day…never got the chance to stop in. I hope everything works out and that this place rises from its ashes. Sounds like you had a very cool thing going on in terms of a nononsense place to hang.

  36. I hope that with all the code violations, that McMahon’s can rise from the ashes. I’m sure that ALL the code violations that were mentioned really stemmed from before McMahon’s took over, but that they just weren’t fixed when they should have been the 2nd time around (during the remodel to McMahon). I love Blue’s, but always wanted good Celtic music at a good Irish pub. Funny how with all the Celtic pubs in Minnesota it takes an act of God to get Celtic music. Even Merlin’s, when they had their “band” it was hodgepodge and not even on the stage. Why have a stage and a sound system if you aren’t going to use it? Why advertise music if its a maybe if they show up or not? The band was good, once I could finally hear them. We came for the music and had to wait until a booth opened up so we could hear the band. I never went back. Besides, I’m allergic to so many food items, that it really wasn’t worth it for Merlin’s to have me. 😉 I’ll take Charlie’s Pub in Stillwater anyday. Crappy atmosphere and completely NOT Irish or English looking by any stretch, too tiny of a pub, music is too loud, too crowded; BUT at least they play CELTIC music ON stage and you can hear it, see it, become apart of the act. Tom Dahill IS good! By the way, I have the audacity to be allergic to both Meat and Chicken and Onions, plus Cabbage, dill, parsnips, vinegar, tarter and turnips. Great combo isnt’ it? rofl Haven’t had authentic Irish yet. But I do enjoy the smells. 😀

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