The Irish Pub has evolved during the past six decades that the establishment has served Baldwin, but its sense of community has remained a constant.
The business celebrated its 60th anniversary last Saturday, and owner Shawn Sabel invited the community to mark the milestone with music, karaoke and drinks. The event took place the day after Sabel’s five-year anniversary working at the pub.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” Sabel said about the pub turning 60. “Dennis Daly opened the pub in 1963, and it has a ton of history.”
Sabel said the business has been able to last this long because it has “changed with the times.” He added that the food industry has undergone many changes in recent years, so he made sure to incorporate new food items on the menu.
Also, Sabel quickly adapted during Covid so that his pub wouldn’t shut down. He had to increase the prices on the menu to keep his pub competitive from other businesses.
“Obviously, Covid changed everything,” Sabel said. “A lot more people were scared to go out. The inflation impacted every item that we sell here, as the prices went up by 100 to 200 percent.”
Sabel said he kept the pub’s prices “really competitive,” which for him, was “not easy to do.” He said that his pub had to change and “roll with the punches” to keep his patrons happy.
“If you keep trying to put out the best product that you can possibly do and keep trying different things, and throw a million darts at the wall, you hope one hits,” Sabel said.
He also said he believes that his business has made it this far due to his presence at the pub. He said that he is always around, whether in the bar or the kitchen, and makes sure to show his face to the patrons.
“I get guests that come in two, three, four times a week, and they’re like, ‘What are you cooking me for dinner?’” Sabel said. “And to me, that’s a tremendous honor.”
Sabel also continues to host fundraisers at the pub, and said he enjoyed helping Angela Lucas, director of Hangout One Happy Place, during a fundraiser last month. Sabel hosted a cornhole tournament to raise money for Lucas and her organization.
“Angela from One Happy Place is amazing,” Sabel said. “And it’s nice to always give back.”
Lucas, who described Sabel as “an amazing person,” said she met him at a fair behind the pub years ago and noted how quickly he embraced Hangout One Happy Place.
“He’s just a kind soul,” Lucas said, adding that he is one of the nicest people that she has ever met. “And not only to us. He does other fundraisers like for breast cancer, and he’s always helping somebody.”
Sabel will host Toys for Tots fundraiser on Dec. 3, when the pub will be raising money for someone with stage-four cancer.
The fundraiser will be held in honor of Erin Brown, whose family the pub raised money for when she died two years ago.
Sabel said he feels honored to host fundraisers as he continues to run his business. “When you love your job, you don’t work a day in your life,” he said.