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Sunday, Sep 26, 2021

The ‘not-so-lucky’ Shamrock closes

Macon said farewell to a local haunt in early November. The Shamrock, an Irish-themed pub and restaurant in Payne City, closed after a tearful and heartfelt send-off from members of the Mercer and Macon communities.
The Shamrock, which was at its Payne City location for 12 years, had been open since 1995. With live music, trivia nights and a menu that included Irish drinks and food (including some very tasty seafood nachos), the Shamrock offered a quirky but relaxed atmosphere for visitors.
The bar’s owner, Dargan McAfee, cited the ongoing economic downturn as the reason for the Shamrock’s closing.
“Basically, the past few years have been real tough on the local businesses around here,” McAfee said. “I’ve talked to a lot of small businesses and they’re all hanging by a thread. It’s not just the Shamrock.”
An unfortunate occurrence in the Shamrock’s recent history also put a blot on its reputation. Back in 2011, one of the Shamrock’s patrons was shot in the arm during a holdup in the bar on an early June morning.
“That didn’t help either,” McAfee reflected sadly. “That scared a lot of the local clientele.”
However, it did not stop locals from stopping by the Shamrock the night of Nov. 10 for a farewell drink. According to McAfee, the little pub was “packed.”
“I don’t know how many, exactly, but there were hundreds and hundreds coming in and out.” He added, “The parking lot was full, the street was full—it was like a mini St. Patrick’s Day.”
Senior Holly Burrell, who occasionally frequented the Shamrock for the food, music and company, went with a group of friends to say goodbye to what had become a favorite piece of her Mercer experience. She said that part of the last night’s activities included a round of toasts for the bar’s years of service.
“They toasted Dargan a few times, saying nice things about him,” Burrell said. “Just ‘Thanks for being here’ kind of stuff.”
While the Shamrock never quite reached the popularity among Mercerians that the Hummingbird Bar and Taproom have achieved, it had a small but faithful following among Mercer students.
Alumni Will Crews and Zach Stich used to attend the Shamrock’s trivia night on Thursday evenings with a group of friends.
“It was my good fortune to stumble upon this establishment during my years at Mercer,” Crews said. “I could have gone elsewhere to eat and drink and play trivia, but nowhere else could I have found another place with an atmosphere like that at the Shamrock. That atmosphere is difficult to describe to those who have not experienced it, but all initiates, the regulars, know and love it. The Shamrock was one of a kind and will be missed.”
McAfee said that his favorite night at the Shamrock was the last one, when people came to say goodbye to the bar he called his “baby.”
“It was a very touching and moving moment. It was hard. Sometimes you’re down and deep, and you feel bad…but people cared. This town cared. It was very supportive at a time when I needed it. It was the worst of times, but it was the best of times.”
McAfee said that there might be the possibility, in the future, of someone else taking the reins and reopening the bar when the economic timing is right. If that were to happen, McAfee said that he hopes the new management would keep it close to the way the Shamrock hd been in the past.
“People had been coming there a long time,” McAfee said. “It was part of their home.”


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