A longtime fixture on Sixth Street is expanding into another Austin neighborhood.
After 16 years in business, B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub will open a second location in the town center of Mueller a week or two before St. Patrick’s Day. Like the first, it will have a focus on beer and whiskey, comfort food and family-friendly activities in an authentic setting — built largely by Irish carpenters and craftsmen.
Owner John Erwin had been wanting to expand his business into another part of town but hadn’t found the right spot until one of his oldest employees convinced him to visit the Mueller area. There, he found exactly what he was looking for: a neighborhood feel, he said, and a wide, walkable main street with the likes of the Thinkery, the soon-to-open Alamo Drafthouse and other coming attractions dotted alongside it.
The Mueller town center is being called the Aldrich Street District, and it’s one of Austin’s most promising new entertainment areas.
For the most part, the second B.D. Riley’s will be very similar to the first, albeit with a more vibrant storefront modeled after Dublin, Ireland’s most famous pub, the Temple Bar. The bar and restaurant also aims to fit into Mueller by being even more welcoming to families than it already is, Erwin said.
“Because of the neighborhood feel, we can do some of the things we do here, but we can enhance them out there,” he said.
At 204 E. Sixth Street — just west of the high-volume bars along the popular drinking drag — the current B.D. Riley’s has been offering an open mic night on Mondays for the past 12 years, encouraging kids to come “to develop their stage presence and musical skills” in front of a crowd that isn’t just their mom and dad. On Wednesday nights, B.D. Riley’s also hosts a pub quiz.
Those will take place at the new location as well, along with a couple of other new events. Erwin’s friend might teach classes on the Gaelic language on Saturday mornings, for example.
“We’re looking to do different and other things,” he said.
A longtime Austinite, Erwin knows opening a business here isn’t easy, but he’s hopeful the Mueller location of B.D. Riley’s will catch on because of the family vibe he has established that makes the pub a homey place to be.
“We’ve got a lot of people working for us that have been here for a real long time,” he said. “They know each other and treat each other like family, and I think that gives us a giant advantage in expansion.”
His employees aren’t the only ones he’s relying on to establish the second B.D. Riley’s. As with the first location, the pub was built in Ireland — with consultation from Erwin and his business partner — and then shipped to the U.S. In a couple of weeks, Irish craftsmen will travel here to assemble the pub piece by piece, from the furniture to the facade, the bar to the cabinetry, erecting it exactly as Erwin has envisioned it.
That’s how even Irish pubs built in Ireland are put together, he said: created off-site first, then moved to the proper location and assembled. Having Irish contractors handle the construction, he said, “adds to the authenticity, and it’s something they’re good at. They go around the world and do this.”
He’s also having a local company, Blue Genie Art Industries, design a water tower shaped like a 17 foot tall Guinness pint. The tower will recycle rainwater from the roof. Blue Genie — which is also in charge of creating many of the pieces for the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller’s carnival-themed bar — will “stick a beer tap on it, paint it black and put our logo in front of it. It ought to be very weirdly Austin, I’m hoping,” Erwin said.
B.D. Riley’s will open across the street from the Alamo in March. For more information, visit bdrileys.com.
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