O’Reilly’s Pub and Grill Celebrates A Decade on Spring Street
O'Relly's Pub and Grill in Newton is celebrating its 10th anniversary
By MANDY CORISTON NEWTON-Walk into O’Reilly’s Pub and Grill at the corner of Lower Spring St. and Sparta Ave. in Newton, and you’ll immediately feel the familiarity that only comes with a true neighborhood bar. The kelly-green walls are decorated with a funky collection of tin signs, vintage photographs, neon lights, and classic bar mirrors, and the polished wood and leather seating have the traditional charm of on old-world Irish pub. This month marks ten years since O’Reilly’s opened its doors, and general manager Evin Joice recently took time to reflect on the pub’s journey over the last decade. Joice spoke as she served customers during their regular weeknight Happy Hour. “We (herself and husband Erik Hall) knew we wanted to go into the restaurant business, but we weren’t sure exactly what direction to take our ideas,” Joice said, “but we passed this building on the way to my parents’ house one day, and something just clicked.” Working with business partner Michael Rodriguez, Joice and Hall decided an Irish pub would be the way to go, and thus, O’Reilly’s was born. “We didn’t have much restaurant experience, but we knew pubs had a good success rate,” Joice said, “The beginning was a lot of hard work.” After securing the property, the partners undertook a complete demolition and renovation of the space, which many may remember as the restaurant Flapjacks, and very briefly, Daphne’s. The inviting interior which stands today is a testament to the efforts involved in that renovation. Joice said the bar prides itself on offering a wide range of beer and liquor selections, as well as fun cocktail specials. “We’ve got great bartenders, who really know how to mix a good drink. Mules (cocktails made with spirits and ginger beer served in copper mugs) are very popular right now, and we always have rotating craft and seasonal beers.” Joice also said the food is a source of pride, especially the burgers. “We try to make the portions generous,” she said, “There are no small meals here.” Their carefully crafted burgers, which can be ordered with a traditional beef patty, or substituted with a turkey or veggie patty, are part of a diverse menu which also offers appetizers, salads, sandwiches, full dinners, and traditional Irish fare. “Something that sets us apart, along with the quality of the food,” Joice said, “is that our kitchen is open until 1 a.m. every night. People who work late can still come in and get a good dinner, any time.” The pub offers daily lunch and dinner specials, as well as Wednesday Wing Night, and $5 bar pizzas on Sundays during football season. Football season is a popular time at O’Reilly’s, where the NFL Ticket draws fans of all ages together on Sunday afternoons to watch their team’s games on the pub’s 5 flat-screen televisions and half-wall projector screen. Other weekly events include karaoke on Fridays and live entertainment on Saturday nights. Those nights bring an interesting mix of customers, Joice said, because the regulars mingle with theatergoers from up the street. “The theater being reopened was good for us,” Joice said, referring to the renovated Newton Theatre, which also made its debut in 2008, “It brought in people who might not normally think of Newton as a place to go for a night out or a weekend destination.” Joice is most proud of the sense of community and family they’ve built at O’Reilly’s. “We’ve been open long enough now to have customers who met here, got married, and now bring their children here. It shows me that we’ve really become the neighborhood bar,” Joice said, “We’ve been asked to host events from birthdays to repasts, and it means a lot that we are people’s choice of where they want to hold these life celebrations.” The employees contribute greatly to the familial feeling in the pub, too. “We’ve got a lot of longevity with our staff, and that makes us feel really close. And many of them came here with prior knowledge of the restaurant industry,” Joice said, “That really helps in this business.” Bartender Chris Nosti joined the O’Reilly’s crew three years ago after long stints tending bar in other Sussex County establishments, and he said the community atmosphere is his favorite part of the job. “We’ve got the best customers. And when they come in daily,” he said, “they not only become friends, they become family.” One of the great things about the closeness of the pub family, Joice said, is being able to offer customers the activities they really enjoy, such as the live music and the football package. Just this year, they added a dart team to one of the local pub-to-pub leagues. Eric Noguera, a member of the inaugural team who lives and works nearby, said he comes in regularly because he likes to spend time with others who frequent the pub. “I love it here,” he said, “It’s comfortable. And we had a really good first year with the dart team.” Joice said she was proud of the darters for making it to the league playoffs in their first season. O’Reilly’s will be marking their birthday at the end of the month with a Halloween Costume Party on Friday October 26th, which will include giveaways, karaoke, and a costume contest. They’ll be keeping the festivities going with a 10th Anniversary Bash on Saturday, Oct. 27 with drink specials, giveaways, and live music by Sean Henry and the Tonighters, Wonder Mutt, and The Few and Far. “We’re going to have a lot of fun,” Joice said, “Everyone should come down and party with us!” There’s no doubt they’ll be raising a glass to the first ten years, and looking forward to the next. O’Reilly’s Pub and Grill is located at 271 Spring St. in Newton, and is open 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. For menus, directions, and more information on upcoming events, they can be found online at www.oreillysnewton.com or on Facebook, search O’Reilly’s Pub. The pub can also be reached by phone at 973-383-4091. .