Limerick’s Irish Pub Plans to Stay Up By Keeping it Down

by June 9, 2009 • 11 comments

img_8466You may not know of Limerick’s Irish Pub by name, but you know the address: 6628 Thomas Drive, home to several previous businesses, the most recent being Buckwild Saloon and The Shaggy Marlin both closed due to complaints from nearby residential area. You see, Limerick’s sits on what may be the most ambivalent location on all of Panama City Beach, perfect for drawing big crowds on Thomas Drive with very little adjacent competition while facing a row of seasonally-packed condos. At the same time the location is smack-dab in the middle of a quiet and easily angered residential area.

The stories behind the location have been many. You may remember when the property was known as Buckwild Saloon the establishment was sued Bay County and had its owners arrested on charges of violating a revamped noise ordinance. Residents in the area complained that the bar was too loud and its patrons overly raucous. There were also complaints of overflowing parking making it difficult, if not dangerous, getting in and out of the street. Buckwild owners agreed to renovate the property and change it to Shaggy Marlin by adding parking lot noise barriers and changing the building focus from a bar to a restaurant (although they still charged for cover). While loved by locals who didn’t live in the Thomas Drive area, the Shaggy Marlin was sent to court a second time during Spring Break. Officials said the Shaggy Marlin violated the prior agreement being both noisy and not operating primarily as a restaurant. Needless to say the place was put up for sale with Counts Real Estate Group, Inc and tagged with a stern warning from Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas that whoever purchased the property must live by the guidelines set in the agreements with its previous owner.

All that bring us to now, the property has since been sold to a bank, leased to its current proprietors and dubbed Limerick’s Irish Pub. The name change has only been a part of an honest-to-goodness transformation. Since the property has been in opened, February 09, there have been no complaints. That time period includes Spring Break and Thunder Beach. Limerick’s, like its predecessor, still offers live music, only on the weekends, but the chosen bands are not quite as mosh-pit-inspiring. The bands also play only indoors. I personally spoke to several patrons and employees who all felt that the newly name and updated venue has serious potential or longevity. For one, the food is great; Limerick’s may very well have positioned itself as the best place on the beach for icy Appalachian oysters and a mojito. They’ve added security and decided to close its doors by 2 AM. In order to help drive business, instead of using the upper floor bar as another music-driven area, they’ve changed it into PCB’s only venue for the amateur poker league, free to the public. On top of all that, the proprietors have been in negotiations about purchasing the next door parking lot for added safety. One gentleman I talked to, who happened to be one of the complainers during the Buckwild-Shaggy Marlin era, said he now enjoys walking down the street to the Irish spot for the Beef and Guiness soup and a few oysters.

I’m glad to see such a great location for locals not go to waste. What do you think?

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1 Lillian June 9, 2009 at 7:24 am

Limerick’s has closed. Does anyone know why?


2 Jason Koertge June 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

Wow, its amazing how quick some things change around here. We were over there two weeks ago to get this information, and apparently needed to go over there again before we ran the article.

shoot, sorry guys for “stale” information.


3 Cebo Campbell June 9, 2009 at 8:32 am

This is truly an unusual occurrence. Apologies everyone, although, I think it brings up an interesting follow up story as to whether or not the restrictions on the property kept it from succeeding.


4 Long time local June 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

What we need is a bar that is friendly to the locals; a place that is welcoming, where everyone knows your name, greets you when you come in and appreciates your business; a place where both the young and older people can enjoy themselves.

The Hofbrau Beer Garden was supposed to be like that.
However, most of the staff, the management and owners act as though they are doing you a favor by waiting on you (when they finally wait on you) and taking your money for their over priced food.
I’ve been going there since they opened and many times, I’ve sat at the bar and wittnessed the employees in the back talking, whining about the lack of tips and gossiping.

If we had a gathering place for locals’, that was friendly, clean and safe, it would do really well.


5 LewisPFN June 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

Drove by there on Monday and the sign out front said “re open Wed” Anybody know what is going on with them?


6 Jim Mitchell June 9, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I certainly hope this place makes a go of it. McGuires Irish Pub used to be one of our favorites in Destin, when we vacationed there. Good beef and good Irish beer and atmosphere.


7 Larissa July 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm

They closed down for a good reason. They could NOT pay their employees, i am one of many who helped open that place up, they did good for a long time!! Once we got a new GM that person couldnt “cut” checks to the payroll company in time, resulting in over half the employees not getting paid. The palce had so much potential, the owners just hired the wrong people to run it.


8 Jen August 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Sorry to burst everyones bubble. I feel sorry for anyone doing business on Thomas Drive. Ever since they opened up the over priced pier park. Thomas Drive is dead what a shame!!!!! So it dosn’t matter how good you are Pier Park is taking all the customers as well as all the good employees
So this is just a NOTE to all Business owners on Thomas Drive I wish all of you much prosperity. GOOD LUCK GUYS.. and all you locals you need to support your local business owners not the out of towners or large corperations


9 Jason Koertge August 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I’m sorry Jen, but this is the kind of narrow-minded thinking that keeps communities from growing. Keep out the big guys so the little guys can continue to offer crumby service, sub-par products and grovel in their own no-competition environment.

I’m a local business owner, and I know many other local business owners. I know many who have capitalized on the fact that Pier Park is here, by providing more personalized service, unique products and a local flair the big box retailers and restaurants can’t duplicate. The ones that are hurting because of Pier Park are the ones badly in need of a revival, new business plan, higher quality service or higher quality products.

Take Liza’s Kitchen for instance. They have thrived during the time that Pier Park’s been open, and they are in the Thomas Drive area you labeled “dead.” Furthermore, they are in a location that has has little success in the past. What does this tell me? Well, have you ever eaten there? They provide top-notch products, great service and an atmosphere that people love to frequent.
So, what does a little competition do? If forces businesses to shape up or bow out. If someone comes in trying to best you, you have to prove that you are just as good or better and you’ll grow.

Pier Park is allowing this area to provide something that we’ve never been able to do before. It allows people to collect in a way that’s never been done on Panama City Beach.

The long term growth opportunity IS better with Pier Park in Panama City Beach, and the quality of everything else will benefit too, and that’s good across the board.

Sorry, Jen, but I disagree.

Thanks for reading!


10 Gregg August 7, 2009 at 6:37 am

Jason I agree with your assessment 100%, at our little piece of Thomas Drive at Seychelles we see Scampi’s and Schooners continue to do well, both places by 5:30-6:00 have folks waiting outside. Montego Bay is the same way. Our 2009 bookings and even our gross is slightly ahead of last year.
If you provide a quality product that people want with service to go with it, as with the movie “Field of Dreams”, people will come. I cannot think of a better example in the PCB area than the Boon Docks restaurant. It is in the most inconvenient location one can imagine but if you want to eat there, go early! On our last trip to PCB we rolled in at 6:30, the wait was one hour and 15 minutes.


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