By Ian Nadeau
Atlantic News, December 20, 2001
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News File Photo]
HAMPTON -- Big changes are in the works for the restaurant many consider to be the best sports bar on the coast. If all goes according to plan, the interior layout of O'Leary's Grille -- located on Route 1 in Hampton next to Captain's Cove Adventure Golf -- could see a total makeover as early as the end of this winter.
"Look for a major face change on the inside," declares owner Bob O'Leary, who hopes to complete the renovations by big summer season kickoff on Memorial Day.
While the exact nature of the changes have yet to be finalized, the plans will probably involve the complete separation of the dining room and the bar area. According to O'Leary, the alterations will be designed to bring the family element back to the popular bar and grill.
When he started out six years ago, the restaurant was focused primarily on the food service aspect of the industry, but over the years, O'Leary says, the bar has became the main focus of his establishment — to the point where his sales records showed a near 50/50 split between beverage and food sales.
By remodeling, the owner hopes to return to the family-oriented environment that his restaurant was founded upon and renew interest in the delicious entrees served there everyday.
One variable in the equation will be the placement of each section in the new, segregated floor plan. One plan currently under consideration involves transplanting the bar area to the rear of the building and using the front as the dining area. Preliminary talks concerning the feasibility of such a move have already been conducted.
Regardless of which section is placed in the back and which in the rear, a separate entrance that leads only to the rear of the building and further construction separating the two areas will probably be necessary.
While O'Leary would like to attract more families with children, he acknowledges that the bar is still his bread and butter. He says the bar sales have been great for business, adding that the separation could be beneficial to both areas.
The primary focus of O'Leary's Grille is the "customer-friendly atmosphere," O'Leary says. Blue-collar workers and white-collar workers, families and friends regularly gather within their walls for the trademark good food and good cheer." They all come here to have a good time -- that's what we're here for," he says.
The Christmas season is the perfect opportunity for everyone to get in on some of those good times. O'Leary's welcomes the opportunity to host office Christmas parties and can entertain groups of 25, 50 and even 75 people, if notified prior to arrival. "If we can do it, we'll certainly accommodate anyone," says O'Leary.
Buffalo wings, meatballs, shrimp cocktail and all sorts of other finger foods can be found on the function menu or parties could select a specific entrée, like the grilled chicken on a bed of rice, to serve their guests.
With far away friends and relatives coming home for the holidays, O'Leary's is the ideal environment to reminisce on old times over a pint or two. Check out the spirited sports bar and see for yourself what all the fuss is about. O'Leary's is a great place to catch up on all the latest New England sports action. Have a drink while you cheer on the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots each week and be on the lookout for Bob O'Leary's very own collection of sports memorabilia found on the restaurant walls.
Lonely Gus and the One Night Stand appear on stage on Saturday nights at nine to entertain the lively crowds.
While you're there, don't forget to try one of their mouthwatering meals. All you can eat fish n' chips are available every Friday for just $7.99 and their steak tip dinner -- containing more than a pound of their classic marinated tips -- has long been a favorite of the grill's many regulars.
In addition to the good food and good cheer, O'Leary's has also regularly served up the good will over the years. In September, the restaurant raised $7,000 for two local families with terminally-ill members via their annual charity golf tournament.
The good times roll seven days a week. O'Leary's serves lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday; and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The bar opens every day at 11 a.m., with last call coming around 12:45 a.m., depending on business. For take-out, reservations or general information call 926-4343.