By Brennan Stark, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cariocas and expatriates alike stormed Shenanigan’s Irish Pub in Ipanema this past Saturday to help commemorate its ten year anniversary as the most celebrated Irish pub in Rio. The party continued well into the night in a fashion only a bar with “Irish heart and Brazilian soul,” as it is famously referred to, could pull off.
It had been exactly a decade since Shenanigan’s first opened its doors on October 15th, 2001 and became one of Rio’s most famous and unique bars.
Managing partner of Shenanigan’s Mike Taylor explains, “It was started by John E. Monus and two other American partners. After searching for the perfect spot, they settled on the 2nd floor hoping that it would be something different from the normal street level bars that occupy Rio.”
Taylor continues: “It was a gamble that paid off due to the fact that people could drink on the veranda and enjoy the view and people watch without being hassled by street vendors and such. It is a formula that proved to be what makes Shenanigan’s unique.”
The great mix of foreigners and Cariocas on Saturday was by no means unusual for the pub, as since it began the bar has been known to draw crowds from all different backgrounds. According to Taylor, this success lies in Shenanigan’s commitment to a consistent quality that patrons from all walks of life naturally appreciate.
“The true secret is in a variety of things from the constant quality and taste of the food, friendly staff and strict control of processes and procedures. Shenanigan’s is still the same as it was when it first opened. The staff and prices have changed, but the same dedication to quality of product and service remains,” he states.
Another major draw for expats is Shenanigan’s reputation as one of the city’s most consistent venues to watch American sports. Whether it be NBA, NHL, MLB, or NFL games, the bar has for years catered to patrons wishing to watch their favorite teams from back home.
Unsurprisingly, the largest expat crowd usually gathers on NFL Sundays, and each year the pub hosts Rio’s best-known Super Bowl party. The game is shown on a sixty-inch projection screen, with sound (in English), and seven smaller TVs interspersed to ensure all patrons had a good view.
Its biggest party of the year, however, arrives each March 17th as Shenanigan’s throws open its doors at noon sharp to revel in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Food and drink specials are offered all day and night, including the famous “green beer” for R$4 a pint.
Fortunately, this festive atmosphere is not limited to just game days or Irish holidays. Shenanigan’s has long since prided itself on is warm and welcoming atmosphere, and has for years proudly hung a sign on the entrance door reading, “There are no strangers here, only friends who haven’t met.”
As for the pub’s next decade, the future will likely change little. “We like things just the way they are,” Taylor states, adding that consistency and simplicity have always been the main ingredients to its success.
Remarking on what Rio’s upcoming mega-events in 2014 and 2016 will hold for the pub, Taylor claims, “We do look forward to the World Cup and summer Olympics and hope to make many new friends during these important events. And who knows, maybe there will be another Shenanigan’s by then.”