Bernard Callaghan spent $750,000 to update the bar, known among locals to have the best pint of Guinness on the Southwest Side.
Callaghan, a Morgan Park resident, purchased Keegan's Pub some 25 years ago. With the five-month renovation complete, the owner opted to put his family's name on the bar along with the name of their beloved dog — Barney.
"I love everything about it," said Mary Callaghan, Bernard's wife on Thursday.
The bar doubled in size with the gut rehab. A private party room was also added in the basement along with a small stage for hosting live music and other entertainment.
Construction of the stage was just wrapping up as the first patrons bellied up to the 50-foot bar that runs along the northern wall of Barney Callaghan's. Gone is the island bar that sat in the middle of Keegan's Pub.
"I think people might miss being able to look at each other from across the bar, but we have mirrors now," Mary Callaghan said, referring to the mirrors behind the bar embossed with the pub's new logo.
Aaron Costello of Morgan Park was among the first to sip a beer at Barney Callaghan's on Thursday afternoon. Costello is the owner of Aspen Renovations. He completed all the trim work around the doors and windows.
Costello said he was one of many neighborhood craftsmen who worked side-by-side in the pub with Bernard Callaghan. Together, Callaghan and Costello also installed a vaulted ceiling that's made to look like the inside of wine barrel.
"Believe me, Bernard was up there with a hammer, shouting and hollering," Costello said.
He also pointed out some of the finer points of the renovated pub. For example, traditional electrical outlets and USB ports are found beneath the bar for charging cellular phones and other devices.
A memorial to Barney is also prominently displayed above the new, larger fireplace. The mixed-breed dog that's become the pub's namesake died about two years ago. Barney was some combination of Rottweiler, Labrador, shepherd and collie.
The new pub also greets customers with flickering gas lights at the entrance. The Callaghans have also paid tribute to history as the Keegan's Pub sign remains on display above the side door.
The options behind the bar have also improved as 20 beers are now available on tap.
"It turned out frickin' beautiful," Costello said. "People are going to love it."
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