Story by Tiffany Jarva, Photos by Marlene Wandel
A ‘S Rioghal Mo Dhreamcrest adorns the window of Minnie MacGregor’s Pub, adjacent to Nana’s Celtic Café. A funky blue retro two-seater tandem bike is locked up to a parking metre out front, only steps away from a kick-ass motorbike at the curb. “I am trying to help revitalize Simpson Street, which used to be the entertainment district of the city,” says owner Ian Convey.
Both the pub and café (more like a diner) are named after Convey’s maternal and paternal grandmothers. While working as a railway manager, Convey—who has a background in hotel and restaurant management and always wanted to open a place of his own “one of these days”—watched two of his friends pass away, and finally said to himself: “Geez Ian, when is one of these days?” So just over a year ago, Convey opened his place, which is actually two places: a diner, which is bustling throughout the day, and a pub. The pub features live entertainment (including stand-up comedy and karaoke), a wide variety of Scotch and Irish whiskeys, and a multitude of different beers on tap, including Guinness, and craft beer from Sleeping Giant Brewery and Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. And the bonus is you can build your own flight of up to five on-tap choices.
“We are slowly working on revamping the menu,” says Frank Wright, who worked with the award-winning Chef “House” at the DaVinci, and in the past two months since coming on board has introduced traditional Celtic fare with a modern take, like Scotch eggs served with Baileys-infused cream cheese and mango chutney. “Whether you’re at a pub or a fine dining establishment, you should always get fresh food no matter what,” says the passionate Wright, who has also tweaked the pub’s Friday night fish and chips—cod coated in a delightful light and fluffy beer batter with hand-cut fries. Wright has also created his own version of tasty wings that are roasted in the oven and then grilled instead of deep-fried.
On the whimsical side of things, alcohol and foodie desires aside, who can resist smiling when they see a bowl of Lucky Charms as a menu option?
MacGregor’s Pub is located at 231 Simpson Street. To find out more about events and hours call 285-7822 or find them on Facebook.