This Postmedia-owned/Leader-Post-operated fake indie insert-thing isn’t exactly my favourite Regina publication, but QC did something right with this profile on much-loved pint-pourer Niall O’Hanlon. Andrew Matte’s piece tells O’Hanlon’s story, starting in Ireland with his dad, then moves on to Niall’s tedious university days and happy pub nights. From there it relates Niall’s early experiences in the pub biz and finally describes how he met his future wife, moved to Regina and founded and developed the city’s best pub.
The writer gets out of the way and lets Niall’s story speak for itself. From the article:
“People thought we were crazy for opening up downtown. People told me ‘why don’t you go to the south end’ or ‘the east end is really going to take off.’” And I am sure that was true,” he said. “But I have always been a downtown kind of guy. And this was a different kind of venue.”
His gamble paid off. In the 11 years O’Hanlon’s has been open, it’s become more successful every year. He has expanded several times, hosts live music on the weekend and has been known as a place for all people. He estimates sales have increased 30 per cent every year. Today, O’Hanlon’s sells as much draft as biggest-selling pubs in Canada, and ranks second for sales of Guinness alone.
Now, I’m not sure Niall’s going to be thrilled by the fact that there are six — six! — photos of him in QC, including the cover, contents page and four-page story. It’s a little much.
But I’m glad QC published this piece about my favourite pub owner. Prairie dog — already downtown and O’Hanlon’s-centric — couldn’t have. It would’ve felt waaay too inbred.