How St. Patrick’s Day is Celebrated Year-Round At Cork Harbour Pub In Lawrenceville
The 43rd Street bar is the official HQ of the Pittsburgh Celtic Supporters Club.
When COVID-19 forced Tanner Fitzgerald and Maddy Saxon to put their Emerald Isle honeymoon on hold, they poured their love into an Irish pub.
In October 2022, the newlyweds and their business partner Michael Brennan opened Cork Harbour Pub in Lawrenceville. Revelers looking to add a touch of authenticity to their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can follow a rainbow to 181 43rd St.
Saxon’s relatives hail from County Cork, Ireland. The port’s coat of arms even graces the pub sign out front and family crests line the bartop. Although the century-old building sat vacant for 15 years, Fitzgerald says seeing the For Sale sign was like finding a pot of gold.
He saw potential in the long, narrow space, which, in addition to dust, cobwebs and debris, boasted an antique wooden bar and back bar. Similar to Monterey Pub on the North Side — another new bar with a storied past — it housed several different watering holes over the years before getting an Irish makeover. (If Halloween is your preferred drinking holiday, check out Jekyl & Hyde on the South Side.)
Sunshine filters through a large glass block front window. The rays, along with neon beer signs, reflect off of the shiny, tin ceiling, giving the room a cozy vibe. There are 12 taps pouring everything from Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s to local beers, ciders and libations from Goodlander Cocktail Brewery. There are signature drinks, too, including Irish Coffee made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, brown sugar, Five Farms Irish Cream, coffee, whipped cream and cocoa powder.
How is the Cork Harbour team — which also runs Froggy’s Bar in Bloomfield — gearing up for March 17?
“We’re just going to open the door and pray we have enough of everything stocked,” Fitzgerald says with a laugh.
The staff, including Manager Kara Rohrer and Froggy’s employees who hop between the two businesses, have had months to prepare for the holiday. Since the Pittsburgh Celtic Supporters Club began calling the place its official headquarters, they go through four or five kegs of Guinness each week.
Dressed in the green-and-white striped jerseys representing Scottish football club Glasgow Celtic, members pack the pub on game days to knock back pints of the black stuff. There are nine televisions above the bar tuned to various sporting events, but, don’t fret Steelers fans, not all of them are soccer.
Cork Harbour also hosts trivia nights and live music several times a week. The traditional, circle-style jam sessions are open to musicians of all skill levels.
While a kitchen build-out is on the horizon, the pub does offer a small menu of simple fare such as sandwiches, hot dogs and a soup or stew of the day. If there’s an early soccer match, breakfast items will be available. Interested in a kegs-and-eggs experience? Get there early. The place is usually shamrockin’ by 9 a.m.
“What makes a good pub is the feel of the place,” Fitzgerald says, casting his gaze around Cork Harbour. “We got lucky finding an older building with so much character.”
Despite starting their journey in a sea of pandemic uncertainty, their ship has finally come in.