Features editor

Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

McFarland & Son’s Authentic Irish Pub in the Haymarket closes tonight and will reopen at 11 a.m. Friday with a different, but familiar name: The Watering Hole.

Owner Bryan McFarland, who owns three other Watering Holes in Lincoln, including the original downtown restaurant, said the change was a business decision.

The Irish pub, located at 710 P St., didn’t generate the same kind of revenue as the Watering Hole restaurants, McFarland said.

“It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t as good,” he said. “With rent higher in the Haymarket, business has to better than normal.”

McFarland said he has just over a year left on his lease in the Haymarket, so instead of trying a new concept, he decided to go with something tried-and-true. The Watering Hole is known for its chicken wings, with many, including myself, considering them the best in town.

“We want to test out the Watering Hole here and see if we’ll want to renew the lease when the time comes,” McFarland said.

The bar/restaurant will have a new look when it reopens. Gone will be the booths along the east wall, replaced by a drink rail and stools. McFarland also will move in a 22-foot shuffleboard table and a pool table on the main level.

The upper level will be the dining room, with seating for about 80. There will be six TVs in the dining room -- five more than before -- to go along with the three TVs in the bar area. The bar will remain unchanged except for the taps. Domestic and local beers will replace Boddington’s, Murphy’s Stout, KilKenny, Smithwick’s and Harp.

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McFarland said he will carry over a few menu items from the Irish pub, including the fish and chips, the Irish nachos and the Reuben, which is made with braised corned beef.

“We may slowly add a few other items,” he said, noting the bulk of the menu will feature burgers, sandwiches and, of course, wings found at the other Watering Hole locations. 

McFarland & Son's opened in September 2014, taking over the spot once occupied by Lazlo’s, which had moved next door several years earlier. It gave the Haymarket a second Irish pub, with McKinney’s Irish Pub having opened in the fall of 2013 directly across the street.

McFarland admitted he was hesitant to open another Watering Hole just seven blocks from the downtown location at 1321 O St., but discovered when talking with customers that they either ventured to O Street or the Haymarket, but rarely went to both places in the same evening.

“You just don’t get a lot of crossover,” he said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.


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