Amazing Spaces: Pint Class

With well-placed nods to his heritage, Pat Mullin's Irish pub serves up a dose of fun and whimsy.

After proud Irish-American Pat Mullin first visited the land of his heritage 25 years ago, he returned to Cleveland enchanted by the idea of owning an Irish pub one day.

"Nothing speaks more to an Irishman than an Irish pub," says Mullin, now a retired managing partner with Deloitte. Given his demanding career, the idea of owning a pub gave way to the next best thing — converting the lower level of his 4,700-square-foot Gates Mills home into his own version.

"My wife thought I was crazy," recalls Mullin. "The only restriction she put on it was that all of our kids had to be of legal drinking age."

With that stipulation resolved in 2004, the Mullins began planning for the 1,800-square-foot Paddy's Pub in earnest, with the help of Chagrin Falls architect Bill Childs. Together, Mullin and Childs made sitting down for a pint of Guinness at local pubs into serious research, while poring over magazines and books for design ideas that would replicate the authentic aged look Mullin found in Ireland's pubs.

"We had to make [the materials] look old even if they weren't," says Childs. "It was a real trick."

To achieve that goal, Childs and Mullin used wood reclaimed from old barns for the floors and rough-hewn ceiling beams. The Mullins browsed antique stores and fairs looking for unique pieces, such as reclaimed doors, authentic gas wall lanterns and a wrought-iron scrolled cemetery gate, which marks the entrance to the pub's wine cellar.

New elements were altered to achieve an aged look while meeting building codes, such as the antique-looking copper beer tap created from brand-new equipment and the leaded glass overlays to existing Pella windows.

The walls are smattered with family photos, including shots from that original trip to Ireland. Decorative leprechauns collected by Mullin's wife, Amy, hide in the room's nooks and crannies.

A 50-inch flat-screen TV and puzzle-work stone fireplace frame a sitting area with a custom-built, half-moon banquette and ottoman, trimmed overhead with rigging ropes scalloped to hold wine bottles. Natural stone blends with the reclaimed-wood flooring into a billiards room, with another TV and a copper-topped wood bar with Guinness, Harp and some variety of Great Lakes Brewing Co. beer always on tap.

"Céad Míle Fáilte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes)" reads the plaque over the fireplace in Paddy's Pub, which opened its doors on St. Patrick's Day 2005 with a party of 100 friends and family, entertained by a bagpiper and Irish dancers. It's the home base of the Mullins' entertaining, drawing crowds for Masters-watching parties, family holidays and political fundraising events.

Mullin says the result has far exceeded his long-held pub dreams, and it even made a convert out of Amy.

"I was the biggest critic of it," she says, "but now I'm thrilled we did it."

Rooms Reborn

That seasoned wood you salvaged from Grandpa Joe's barn may look cool, but using reclaimed building materials isn't usually a DIY project. To use reclaimed wood flooring and beams in the Mullins' Irish pub, architect Bill Childs turned to professional wood restorer Todd Bartholemew of Wood Stock from the Past in Burton, who kiln-dries old woods. "You need a qualified person who makes sure it's dried and debugged properly, and a flooring contractor who knows how to work with reclaimed wood," says Childs.

Share this story: