Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

April 14, 2014 at 10:01am

Doyle's Public House celebrates eighth anniversary April 17

Doyle's Public House co-owner Russ Heaton seen here toasting his Guinness Club during a past Doyle's anniversary party. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Since Doyle's Public House opened in the spring of 2006, the Tacoma bar has attracted tourists from all over the world (Esquire magazine gave it a thumbs up), as well as become a local hangout for South Sound Guinness lovers, Jameson drinkers and soccer enthusiasts who are grateful for a spot to meet more of their kind. These folks, and those who enjoy a good time, will pack Doyle's Thursday, April 17 when it celebrates its eighth anniversary.

Doyle's opened its doors in Tacoma's Stadium District at 3 p.m. Monday, April 17 2006. Eight years later people are still walking through  its doors. Owners Russ Heaton and Dave Shelnut originally looked at Magoo's on North 21st before Adam Buff grabbed it, but did not have the money to do the fire rehab and build a business. They also toyed with the idea of opening "Dr. J's" with Josh Hill, Swiss Pub bartender. The three didn't have the drive needed to make it happen. Heaton never gave up. He remembers the day Bob Hill and Jack McQuade walked away from Engine House No. 9 to open the Swiss Pub. And it never left his mind the many years he worked as a wine and beer distributor.

The idea for Doyle's was hatched June 2005 on Shelnut's bachelor party in Reno at Foley's, a bar across from their hotel. Maybe a month later Heaton found the location, phoned Shelnut immediately, and demolition began in November.

"I marvel sometimes at the fact we have done so well," Heaton told me a few years back. "It makes me feel the best on payday when we are able to employ as many people as we do. Seeing and hearing how proud my parents are of me makes this entire project worth everything I have put into it times 10.

Sitting at Doyle's last Friday afternoon, I asked Heaton what was the secret to staying in business for eight years, in an industry that has gobbled up many South Sound bars in the last eight years.

"Stick to the business plan," he said. I've watched many bars make radical changes and suffer the consequences. Sure, make tweaks, but stick to the plan. Your customers will appreciate it and stay loyal."

Heaton and Shelnut will combine their monthly St. Practice Day party with their anniversary celebration Thursday featuring the standard hoisting pints at 5:17 pm to recognize pint club achievements and welcome new members, followed by hugs, drinking and music from The Cold 102's at 8 p.m. No cover, as always.

"(The Cold 102's) Ant has been a favorite of Doyle's since he was with Toughtimes and we were brand new," says Jesse Turcotte, who books the music and pours the juice at Doyle's. "The 102's are a great compliment to him whether he's barkin' through his harp or fryin' bacon on that guitstick. He's played our party before, and this sure won't be the last time. If you can't feel the blues, you're dead inside."

Drop by Doyle's Thursday and celebrate the vision of Heaton and Shelnut, grab one of their delicious hummus plates or the world-famous Cheesy British, and tip one or two back.

EIGHTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, doors at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. official anniversary, 5:17 Guinness toast, 8 p.m. music, Thursday, April 17, 208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.238.5359

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma, Music,
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