~About Our Building~
Kevin Barry's Pub may have opened it's doors just before midnight on October 31st 1980, but long before 117 W River Street was known to the world as Kevin Barry's Pub; it had its own history.
In 1760; 100 feet of Wharf Lot 4 was purchased from the Crown (King George III) by William Hindly. Undeveloped for years; the lot passed through several owners before Noble Wimberly Jones took possession in 1792 by order of the county sheriff. In 1802 there was talk about building on the wharf lot however no plans were finalized because Noble Wimberly Jones had the foresight to see that none of the plans brought to him by local architects of the day could withstand severe weather of it struck. When the hurricane of 1804 hit the coastline of Savannah, GA it left $500,000 worth of damage in its path. The Jones family was spared any damage only having an empty wharf lot.
Before his death in 1805; Noble Wimberly Jones was ingenious enough to realize his wife, Sarah, had a business head on her shoulders and willed the wharf lot over to her. Sarah then leased the property to Benjamin Burroughs for profit. Burroughs leased the property on Wharf Lot 4 and signed an agreement with Sarah Jones to do improvements on the property, but did not take out an insurance policy to protect his investment on the lot in the event something should happen. Burroughs had planned that a two story, 60x35 feet, stone dry goods store be erected on the site of Wharf Lot 4. Sarah Jones was perspicacious and made provisions to protect her property with an insurance policy in the event of a natural disaster or fire. And, in 1827 the store Burroughs had built was completely destroyed by fire and Sarah Jones collected the sum of $32,000. Burroughs was not so lucky having lost his investment as well as all his inventory by not carrying insurance.
Wharf Lot 4 remained empty until 1854 when Sarah and Noble Jones decedent, George Jones, took over the property and built a warehouse. Jones hired Sholl and Calvin Fay to build the warehouse on Wharf Lot 4. Although there was no grand architectural style and the building layout for the warehouse was nothing more significant than a rectangular shaped foundation where five stories of Cyprus wood, stone, Savannah gray brick, and concrete* would be built with a plain flat roof to house grain and cotton.
For over one hundred and fifty years; 117 W River St, formally known as Wharf Lot 4, has withstood time, weather, fire, the War of Northern Aggression, and seen its share of different owners. It's evolved from an empty lot, a dry goods store, a warehouse, a steel company in the early 1900's, Rollinson Electrical Contractors, and what is now known throughout the world as Kevin Barry's Pub.
Information from the Jones Family Records and deeds from the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, GA
*The foundation of 117 W River Street, formally Wharf Lot 4, is made of giant Cyprus logs that were placed in the rivers bank. The building is primarily constructed of "Savannah Gray" brick (no steel was used in the construction of the building). The blue stones along the wall in the bar area downstairs were ballast from ships to and from Europe that carried cotten. The timbers, which are indigenous heart pine, make up the rafters, the original flooring, and the bar were over 200 years old at the time construction begain on this building.*
~Frequently Asked Questions~
1) When was Kevin Barry's Irish Pub founded?
31 October 1980 at midnight Kevin Barry's Irish Pub opened its doors at 117 W River St in Savannah, GA. The pub is locally owned and operated. (For more information please read the "About Us" section on our website)
2) How old is this building?
According to research at the Georgia Historical society the building was built in 1854. (Please read the top of this page for more details)
3) Is the building haunted?
For over 30 years the only confirmed spirits that has haunted Kevin Barry's Irish Pub has been Jack Daniels, Jim Bean, Jose Cuervo, and Jameson. However several members of our staff and regular customers have seen and heard things that are unexplainable. Kevin Barry's Irish Pub has recently had ghost hunters, Afterlife Tours, of Savannah, GA to confirm if the building is in fact haunted. Keep check back for the results of their findings around mid Mary 2014!
4) Who was Kevin Barry?
Contrary to popular belief; Kevin Barry is not the owner nor a native Savannahian. Kevin Barry, age 18, was a medical student at UCD, and an Irish Volunteer, was hanged by the British on 1 November 1920 for his part in an ambush at Monks Bakery on Fleet Street in Dublin Ireland. While imprisioned and tourtured, Kevin Barry refused to give up the names of his comrades that were with him at the time. (For more information please read the Kevin Barry portion of our website)
5) What makes Kevin Barry's Irish Pub one of the best Irish pubs in the United States?
Imagine you are sitting in an pub in a small town in Ireland surrounded by locals. It's dark and cozy. And, you hear laugher, storytelling, and singing. Well that is what Kevin Barry's Irish Pubbrings to Savannah, GA. Before opening its doors in 1980; there was no Irish pub below Washington D.C. that offered live Irish music seven nights a week. Kevin Barry's Irish Pub offers live Irish music seven nights a week by world renowed troubadours who are happy to share a story and a song! Additionally Kevin Barry's Irish Pub offers traditional Irish fare for lunch and dinner and has the finest selections of beers and whiskey! (For more information on our nusic and food see those portions of our website)
6) How did the Hall of Heroes start?
When Kevin Barry's Irish Pub opened in 1980; many local Savannah bar owners warned owner, Vic, not to let the military in his bar as "they would only cause trouble" in his establishment. From that point on he vowed that not only would he welcome the troops but bought them their first drink. Since 1980 Kevin Barry's has become a home away from home for many service men and women who are far from home. Upstairs along the walls is a memorial to our men and women in uniform and their sacrifes for this great nation. (For more information please see the Hall of Heroes portion of the website)
7) What is the story of the Black & Tan?
If you enjoy insulting the Irish; order one! In Ireland; a Black & Tan was the color of the uniforms worn by the British paramilitary troops that were formed around 1920 to put down the Irish after the failed Easter Uprising.
8) What was the owners vision when he opened Kevin Barry's irish Pub?
When Kevin Barry's Irish Pub opened it was the owners vision to open a traditional Irish pub like the ones you see in Ireland where patrons could discuss the hot topics of the day; including sex, politics, and religion in a Public House with great Irish music!