Bar owner and businessman Tom O’Shea has one person in mind as he and his team put the finishing touches on the soon-to-open O’Shea’s Irish Pub in Jeffersonville’s historic downtown. Homer Monroe Frank, the proprietor of H.M. Frank’s Dry Goods Store, was one of the first inhabitants of 355 Spring St., which dates back to 1897. In fact, the pub will bear the name H.M. Frank’s, not O’Shea’s, when it opens in April.
O’Shea was happy to show Insider around the bar-in-progress, and one of the first things he pointed out — after we removed our shoes to walk on the newly finished hardwood floors — was an old photo of H.M. Frank’s Dry Goods Store with Mr. Frank proudly standing out front.
“Look at the way he’s standing — so delighted and proud of his business,” says O’Shea. “I want this place to represent that for the community.”
O’Shea says he’s worked with Jeffersonville officials to restore the building to its former glory. Although he anticipated opening more than a year ago, things have been delayed, which happens when you start tinkering with a 119-year-old structure. He says his team tore through at least three layers of walls to get to the exposed brick that’ll encompass the new Irish pub. And the wood that lined the former ceiling now shines on the floor.
The more than 16,000-square-foot space will feature an L-shaped bar with a dozen or so stools, table seating for 46, a few sidewalk tables and a counter-service kitchen that’ll be run by Chef David Clancy (formerly of Westport General Store). O’Shea plans on having 14 beer taps featuring regional craft beer, a full bar and food staples like burgers and fish — which are popular at his other two locations (O’Shea’s Irish Pub and Patrick O’Shea’s) — as well as whatever Clancy fancies. O’Shea’s brother Patrick will be the managing partner of the establishment.
When possible, his team used refurbished and discarded wood from around the area, including thick slabs they received from a historic house in the West End that now forms the bar.
O’Shea is proud of the work they’ve done so far with the space, including two storefront windows that’ll open up similar to his other two locations and a mural painted by local artist Shayne Hull, and he’s excited to become an addition to the Jeffersonville business community.
He anticipates patrons from the neighborhood as well as thirsty Louisvillians who trek over the Big Four Bridge and want to cool off with a pint.
While he was hoping to be open by St. Patrick’s Day, O’Shea says it’s now looking more like April 1 when they’ll open their doors. They’re still finishing kitchen construction and will then have to pass official inspections.
From what we observed of the beautiful, detailed space so far, there is no doubt Mr. Frank would be thrilled with the work O’Shea and his team have done to restore his building to its glory days. Perhaps he’ll become a regular — in spirit, of course.