O'Niell's Gets a New Lease on Life!—Robert O'Niell, proprietor of Albuquerque's much-missed O'Niell's Pub, called me up last week to say that he'd found a new space for the bar/restaurant at 4310 Central SE. You may remember O'Niell's Pub closed its doors on Dec. 31 of last year, after the landlords who controlled the space at 3211 Central SE in Nob Hill chose not to continue O'Niell's lease into 2005. "I've been looking for a new building since I couldn't renew my lease at the old place," O'Niell says. Along with four other business partners, O'Niell was recently able to purchase the short-lived Empire nightclub building (one block west of Washington on Central). "We're trying to do something that complements the neighborhood." With the Tricklock, Q-Staff and Highland Theaters all within walking distance, that area is beginning to transform from a graveyard of Route 66-era motels to a thriving and culturally diverse theater district. A new O'Niell's Pub would certainly be another positive addition to the neighborhood.
The building is a whopping 7,200 square feet, which the partners plan to split into two business areas. "It's basically going to look like the old O'Niell's Pub on Central ... I still have the old furniture that I built from the last one!" In addition to hardwood floors and brick walls, O'Niell is planning a large, landscaped patio with seating. The kitchen capacity will also be much greater than the original O'Niell's Pub, though the menu will remain largely the same.
A consummate do-it-himselfer, O'Niell will personally oversee the construction of the project. He estimates that the new pub should be ready to roll in about six months—just in time for summer. "It's one of the few bars in town where parents will bring their kids, and to me, that's the ultimate compliment," he says. "I'm real proud that it is a community establishment where people bring their families—just like the old pubs in Ireland and Scotland." Robert O'Niell promises to call back with more news as things begin to shape up over the next few months.