Sully’s, Irish and unchanged, except for new owners6/5/2013
Ever been washing your knickers at the laundromat and decide to yourself, “You know, this place would be more fun if it were a bar?” It’s not exactly known if that’s what the Sullivans — two brothers with strong Irish ties — were doing when they opened Sully’s Irish Pub in West Des Moines 36 years ago, but it’s a fun scenario to ponder, nonetheless.
Not much has changed at Sully’s since 1977. Like any neighborhood bar, dirty laundry is likely still aired there from time to time from some poor sot drowning his sorrows, but aside from that, its laundromat days are long gone. And for the most part, folks don’t belly up to the old bar to drown sorrows, but rather celebrate life’s victories big and small: two families newly united through their respective children’s engagement sharing getting-to-know-ya suds; a well-earned promotion that was a long time coming offering good cause for a regular there to buy the bar a round; the Cubbies taking home a win after a disheartening season — the round is on the house. Since the old building was transformed into what is now one of the city’s oldest Irish pubs, it’s been known as a jolly place to land and tip back a few with friends.
But one thing has changed after all these years — or rather, two things. The owners. Jim and Mardeen Perin took over for Al Gladson, who bought the bar from the Irish brothers in 1981 and aside from some infrastructure updates and slight remodeling, they kept Sully’s true to its original ambiance. Now they’ve retired and handed over the handle to longtime patrons Amy and Bill Boggs. But lovers of Sully’s, have no fear. Amy and Bill like the bar just the way it is.
“We’ve been regulars here for a long time,” Amy said. “It’s just a friendly, little neighborhood bar. All the people are friendly and laid back, so it’s a real casual atmosphere. We don’t want to change a thing.”
“We just want to keep it what it’s always been: busy and fun,” Bill added.
The only thing the couple has decided to do differently is to offer more daily and happy-hour specials, such as free dinks on birthdays, post-game pitchers for $5 for any local sports team, $2 Old Style tall boys during Chicago Cubs games and a 12-hour happy hour on Sundays.
“We also do happy hour for all NFL, Iowa/Iowa State games and NASCAR events,” Amy said. “And the two-for-ones on Thursdays will hopefully draw the Valley Junction farmers’ market crowd.”
And, of course, Sully’s will continue to host its famous annual St. Patty’s Day tent party.
LAST CALL… After 15 years in Clive, TR’s Sports Bar and Grille closed its doors last weekend. CV
Sully’s Irish Pub 110 Grand Ave., West Des Moines (515) 255-9970 www.sullysdesmoines.com HOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 3 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri., Sat. 12 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun. 12 p.m.-12 a.m. HAPPY HOUR: Mon.-Thurs. 3-7 p.m.; Fri. 3-6 p.m.; Sat. 12-3 p.m.; Sunday all day. CAPACITY: 120 plus outdoor patio