Upcoming renovations will revamp the bar scene on Clayton Street in time for St. Patrick's Day.
In March, the wall between Flanagan’s & The Half Moon Pub and Cabin Room will be destroyed, forming one bar. Before football season, Whiskey Bent will be transformed into a steakhouse.
Chris McGeary, COO of Whiskey Bent, Cabin Room and Flanagan’s since July 2018, said the original plan was to close and combine Flanagan’s and Cabin room as a space for the restaurant.
Jake Brandlehner, bar manager of Flanagan’s, will become general manager after the merger is complete. He said it is a weekly occurrence for him to hear stories of couples meeting at Flanagan’s or to overhear alumni telling their kids about the days when Flanagan’s was their college hangout.
“We had a couple last week spend their ninth anniversary here because they met in this bar nine years ago,” McGeary said.
McGeary and his business partner, Andrew Wallace, decided that even though they would keep Flanagan’s around, it would need major improvements.
“We had a companywide cleaning session at all three locations,” McGeary said. “People don’t like their shoes to stick to the floor when they walk through and they don’t like putting their arms down in a puddle of liquid on the bar.”
“We had a couple last week spend their ninth anniversary [at Flanagan's] because they met in this bar nine years ago."
— Chris McGeary, COO of Flanagan's, Cabin Room and Whiskey Bent
Deep cleaning the bars will help appeal to management's desired age group. The bars were previously considered “freshmen bars,” McGeary said. The new management is making changes to appeal to their desired audience: people in their mid-twenties to early thirties.
“Flans is changing in a very positive way,” Brandlehner said. “It’s being cleaned up and it’s becoming a nice, respectable bar to still have a great time, but to also get a killer cocktail.”
Next door, Cabin Room is officially closed and renovations are complete. Flanagan’s is still being renovated and the conjoining wall will soon be knocked down.
Due to construction and renovations, McGeary is unsure of the exact date of the reveal of the new, bigger Flanagan’s. However, opening day is projected between March 1 and March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day is the only Sunday Flanagan’s, along with all the other bars in Athens, can be open in 2019. With the bar doubling in size and gaining a completely new look, the owners of the pub are looking forward to the Irish holiday.
Like Flanagan’s and Cabin Room, Whiskey Bent will see major changes this month.
Wallace, CFO of the three bars, owns a Chops & Hops in Watkinsville. After becoming business partners, Wallace and McGeary joined forces to bring this idea to downtown Athens.
Within the next month, Whiskey Bent will be shut down. Renovations to convert the space into a Chops & Hops, a casual fine dining restaurant, will begin shortly after.
According to McGeary, they have begun recruiting and training restaurant staff as they plan to be extremely busy when they open just before football season.