McClenaghan’s: New owner carries on tradition

Bartender Chris Kutchey pours a drink. PHOTO/ERIC SOKOL

Looking for a place to have great food and a good time? OU News Bureau reporters have visited some distinctive eateries in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties to learn more about what these places have to offer. Reporter Eric Sokol visited McClenaghan’s Pub in Macomb County’s Shelby Township and spoke with owner Richard Ellis.

Tell me about the history of this place.
As far as we can tell, it has been some type of hospitality-type industry since in the mid-1930s. The area we’re sitting in was also known as Disco, Michigan, and at one time during prohibition times, I don’t know if it was a speakeasy type of thing, but the name was called the Yellow Canary. And that’s basically all the history we’ve been able to find on it. Not a whole lot of detail at this point.

Richard Ellis

Describe what it offers patrons.
We have karaoke Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. St. Patrick’s Day is our largest day of the year as far as volume-wise. We have not gone through one personally ourselves yet as new owners, but we’ve been here in the past and it’s a large crowd: We put up a tent in the back, all the corn beef dinners and that kind of thing, karaoke all day long specializing in Irish music. We are a large volume lottery agent. Last year we’ve paid out $410,000 to lottery winners in 2016. That’s progressively gone up every year, as far as I can tell.

Why would someone want to come here?
Friendly service. We’ve been here for a lot of years, we are a new owner — we took over just this last spring. We’ve added a large selection of craft beers since we took over the bar. They never really had a lot of Michigan type craft beers, like the Bell’s they didn’t carry, the Short’s Brewery they didn’t carry. We have probably added in the neighborhood of 20 new bottles and cans of craft beers. We’ve also added to our liquor selection. We’ve added a lot of vodkas and bourbons.

What do you do that’s different from other places like this?
We’re a very personalized service. We know a lot of our patrons. … We’re a local independently owned-type business. That’s one of the big things, that personal one-on-one type service. Because we’re small, we can do that.

What’s the one thing everyone should order here?
We are well known for our burgers. We source our meat from Eastern Market up to a couple times a week. We never freeze it. It’s always fresh. Our buns are made by a local bakery. We get deliveries on those fresh.

How many people work here? 
We have approximately 10 employees.

What does the future hold for this place?
We’re kind of classed, I guess, in general terms as a dive bar. There’s very, very few of these. The real estate is getting eaten up. A lot of the dive bars have not survived the last 15-20 years. So we’re kind of a rarity. So we have a lot of people travel just to come here because of the status of the dive bar.

McClenaghan’s Irish Pub is at 52500 Van Dyke in Shelby Township, Michigan. (586) 739-2913


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Posted by on Sep 20 2017. Filed under Eateries. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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