O'Gara's Bar and Grill moving away from live music

O'Gara's Bar and Grill opened its doors at Selby and Snelling Avenues in March of 1941. A lot has changed in that time, but the pub remains family-owned in its original building. In the 1980s the bar expanded into hosting live music, with the Skunks taking stage at the Garage in 1988.

Recently, the pub re-modeled the Garage and given it a new moniker, the Shanty. The 600-capacity room still holds the same stage and soundboard, but the room has been made-over for a warmer, more comfortable experience: one that includes more TVs and gaming options. Gimme Noise got hold of co-owners Kris and Dan O'Gara to talk about the remodeling and what role live music will play at the new Shanty.

Gimme Noise: How often will The Shanty be used to host live music compared with The Garage?

Less than before. We are looking at steering away from live music and doing more recorded music. As of now, we still have live music Friday nights and are looking to maybe do a country/ladies night on Thursdays with a combination of live and recorded music.

What is the reason for hosting less live music?

We weren't seeing the number of people come through the doors as we have in the past with live music. Whenever Dan and I went out, we always noticed the younger people dancing to more recorded music.

How much has Twin Cities live music played a role in O'Gara's development over the years?

Live music has been a big part of our identity since the late '80s. The room opened as a DJ club in 1985 and then switched to live music in 1988. The music scene has been very cyclical.

What was the impetus behind the re-model?

The Garage need a new vision and needed some updating. We've created a different vibe with warmer colors, new furniture, games, craft beers, tall boys, and wall-hangings.

What are the pros and cons of running a family business (now in its third generation)?

Pros: working with family members.
Cons: working with family members.

The Shanty hosts live music every Friday, Shake the Shanty on Saturday nights, and a number of charity events are upcoming in March, including With One Breath, The Dragon Divas, and Rock the Cure. In addition, the bar is planning festivities for their annual St. Patrick's Day celebration.

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