After using its first year as a trial-and-error test run, Ireland’s went through major transformations over the summer before opening again for the fall semester.
“Our first objective is to establish ourselves, and our brand on campus,” says Ireland’s President, Arantxa Valverde, “we also wanted to focus more on our tagline: ‘Underground Pub, Elevated Grub’.” In order to do this, Ireland’s will focus on the story of “The Game of Change” which is where the name ‘Ireland’s’ was coined. The décor features pictures of the 1963 coach George Ireland and team members. The Ireland’s team also created five paninis that are named after the starting five players of the 1963 game. Valverde’s goal is “to make Ireland’s a place where all students can hangout regardless of age.”
Ireland’s has begun to foster relationships with breweries in the Chicagoland area through its “Tap Takeover” events where a brewery and three of its beers are featured for a night. Brewmasters and representatives come in and talk about the industry, as well as discuss the differences between their own beers. So far, Ireland’s has hosted Goose Island, Ale Syndicate and Lagunitas. Tickets include three pints of beer and chances to win brewery tours or tastings. “We want to support craft brewers in the Midwest because we support local businesses,” says Valverde.
It’s been an exciting sports season for Chicago and Ireland’s keeps up with Monday Night Football as well as the Cubs this baseball season. This keeps up with their sports bar feel.
Ireland’s has also established relationships within University departments. Through a partnership with Felice’s Kitchen, Ireland’s created a catering menu to better meet the needs of larger group events.
Valverde has high hopes for Ireland’s, saying, “We are confident that with the support from the University, Irelands’s identity on campus will be well established during this academic school year and it will succeed because of the support of the student population and the growth of the business.”