Skip to main content

O'Lacy's Irish Pub

O'Lacy's Irish Pub to continue with new owner

By Joanne Beck

City of Batavia businessman Derek Geib confirmed to The Batavian Thursday that he's applying for a liquor license for O'Lacy's Irish Pub as part of a transaction to purchase the School Street bar and restaurant.

The site has been vacant since former owner Roger Christiano announced in November 2023 that he was closing due to family illness. 

Geib, who owns other successful downtown places, including Coffee Press, Bourbon & Burger, and Roman's, said that "in the next few weeks, the deal will be closed, and then we'll go onto the next phase" of re-opening the pub. He could not give a definite date as to when that will be as of yet, he said. 

Kent Ewell thanks O'Lacy's customers for 25 years of support and friendship

By Press Release


Statement from Kent Ewell:

After over 25 years I am saying “goodbye” to O’Lacy’s Irish Pub. It has been a wonderful ride thanks to the many gracious and repeat customers throughout the years. I have developed many friendships over these 25 years and will cherish each and every one of them. Please remember the good times you have had at O’Lacy’s and be sure to look forward to many more happy times under new ownership. O’Lacy’s was & is a blessing for Batavia and will be for years to come. 

Photo: File photo of Kent Ewell and Kelly Bermingham. Photo by Jim Burns.

Photos: St. Patrick's Day in Batavia 2022

By Howard B. Owens


It was back to normal for Batavia on St. Patrick's Day on Thursday as revelers hit the local dining establishments and watering holes to party in public for the first time on the holiday in two years.

We visited O'Lacy's, Center Street Smokehouse, and Eli Fish Brewing. The Rince an Tiarna Irish Dancers performed at both Center Street and Eli Fish.














With an agreement to buy O'Lacy's in hand, Christiano promises continuation of the Irish pub theme

By Mike Pettinella

More than anything else, Batavia businessman Roger Christiano wants people to know that the “quaint, authentic atmosphere” that defines O’Lacy’s Irish Pub will continue when he assumes ownership of the establishment at 5 School St.

“We won’t be changing anything, but actually will make things better with some new menu items and sprucing the place up a bit,” Christiano said this morning. “Everything that Kent Ewell has done for 25 years, I promised to retain.”

Christiano and Ewell have agreed to terms for the former to purchase O’Lacy’s, which was founded on April 15, 1997, and has been a popular bar/restaurant ever since.

He said his plans are to paint the interior, sand the floor and put in new furniture.

“The only thing I'm going to do is take all the stuff off the walls and when we’re done, all of Kent’s Irish artifacts are going back up,” he said.

On Monday night, the Batavia City Council found no reason to not accept a liquor license application from Christiano.

For his part, Ewell informed the public that O’Lacy’s is gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday and for its 25th anniversary celebration next month.

Ewell, via social media, sent a message to “our wonderful, loyal patrons:"

By now you probably have seen or heard that O’Lacy’s Irish Pub will be sold in the near future. However, several contingencies must be met, one being a liquor license which can take 60-90 days or more (for issuance by the New York State Liquor Authority).

As we celebrate our 25th year in business, one of the most important things to us is maintain the quaint, authentic atmosphere we have here at O’Lacy’s Irish Pub. We promise as we near completion of the sale, we will keep everyone informed. Until then, it is business as usual as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and many upcoming 25th anniversary festivities! Come celebrate with us at O’Lacy’s!

We thank you very much for all your support and understanding.

Sláinte! (Health, an Irish drinking toast).

Christiano said he has been a customer of O’Lacy’s since it opened.

“I like the place and I have a good crew that’s going to run it for me,” he said. “My son-in-law (Michael O’Donnell) is going to be included and our two employees that have been long-standing employees at O’Lacy’s.”

A former owner of a Verizon Wireless store, rental houses/apartments and self-storage units in the Geneseo and Leicester areas, Christiano, 74, now is devoting his attention to the bar/restaurant business. He owns Rookies Sports Bar & Grill in Rochester and Knuckles Knockout Grill in Chili and is close to buying another sports bar near Tinseltown in Gates.

“I just wanted to try something different … so I told my wife (Sharon) that I’d like to buy a sports bar,” he said, referring to the purchase of Rookies in 2019. He bought Knuckles last year.

He said COVID-19 put a major stress upon his businesses.

“I bought this big place (Rookies) and then the pandemic hit. If I didn’t have all my business expertise, I don’t know if we would have made it,” he said. “It was tough getting through – being closed for three months, but fortunately Rookies had a huge takeout business.”

Batavia businessman files notification to obtain liquor license at School Street pub

By Mike Pettinella

The Batavia City Council has a full agenda for its Business Meeting tonight – 13 resolutions to vote on, a couple community events to approve and an application from a Batavia entrepreneur to obtain a liquor license for an establishment at 5 School St., currently operated as O’Lacy’s Irish Pub.

As required by the New York State Liquor Authority, Roger Christiano on Feb. 23 filed the standardized notice form for providing 30-day advance notice to the City of Batavia.

Contacted today, Christiano, who owns two sports bars in Rochester, said he is looking to purchase the popular bar/restaurant.

O’Lacy’s owner Kent Ewell did not wish to comment about the liquor license application or about the future of the pub that he opened 25 years ago – on April 15, 1997.

The two events on the agenda are the Batavia Concert Band Summer Concert Series, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesdays from June 22 through Aug. 3 at Centennial Park, and the Living Waters Community Outreach from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Austin Park.

Key resolutions are the adoption of the 2022-23 budget ordinance, water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees; a contract with HUNT Engineers for services for the City Centre Mall Downtown Revitalization Initiative project, and to accept a $1 million Community Development Block Grant and authorize a $414,017 local match for the Jackson Street water main project.

Due to burned-out staff that needs to rest, O'Lacy's will be closed Saturday through Wednesday

By Press Release

Public Notice -- Temporary Closure 'Due to the Depleted Labor Force'

O'Lacy's Irish Pub, 5 School St., Batavia, will be closed Saturday, July 10 through Wednesday, July 14th to allow our small, overworked and burned-out staff a much-needed rest.

We thank you for your appreciation of our staff and understanding.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Thank you very much.

State's lifting of restrictions on food, alcohol purchases is a welcome sight for restaurateurs, bar owners

By Mike Pettinella

Updated, 7:30 p.m., with comments from Henry Wojtaszek, Batavia Downs Gaming:

For more than a year, restaurants, bars, bowling centers and similar establishments have had to operate under strict COVID-19 mandates from New York State, including the stipulation that patrons must purchase food when having an alcoholic beverage.

Well, judging from today’s announcements from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, some of those executive orders are about to become part of history.

State lawmakers reported they are pushing to shelve several of the governor's commands, while Cuomo, himself, also said that the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining starting on May 17 and for indoor dining locations starting on May 31.

Local reaction to the news indicates that these restrictions went on too long and were counterproductive.

“Serving food with beverage was a total distraction for customers,” said Kent Ewell, owner of O’Lacy’s Irish Pub, 5 School St., Batavia. “It was a very … again, you bend with the law, but you actually sometimes question it.”

But Ewell said that the imposition of a curfew for dining at midnight really doesn’t pertain to a rural area, such as Genesee County.

“A lot of the stuff that gets taken care of is affecting Downstate more than Upstate. Everything is throughout the state, but in Batavia, most of the guidelines announced do not pertain to anybody,” he said. “How many people do you know go out and get a steak at midnight? When they’re saying dining at midnight, that’s mostly New York City or where people are up later and hours are later – maybe in Buffalo there is some of that.”

Ewell: Finding Workers is Another Issue

Still, Ewell said he is glad to see Cuomo relaxing some things.

“I know that every state is different … obviously, I’ve questioned some things throughout this whole pandemic and hopefully soon we will get back to normal,” he said.

He acknowledged that coronavirus mandates limiting hours of operation and halting indoor dining took a toll on his business.

“We’re open from 11 a.m. to midnight but now we’re closed on Sunday and Monday,” he said, adding that it likely will stay that way due to difficulties finding employees.

“I won’t tell you why they’re not working, that’s my own opinion, but everybody is having trouble hiring people. It’s happening in a lot of industries,” he advised. “We’re still open, but financially it has not been a pleasant ride, let me put it that way.”

Cuomo also revealed the lifting (on May 17) of the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result and the end (on May 31) of the curfew for all catered events.

Governor Announces More Changes

Other changes include:

  • The resumption of catered events at residences beginning May 3 above the state's residential gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, as long as the events are staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, permitted by the respective locality or municipality, and strictly adhere to health and safety guidance, including social and event gathering limits, masks and social distancing.
  • The rethinking of dancing among attendees at catered events to be aligned with neighboring states, starting on May 3. This would replace fixed dance zones for each table with social distancing and masks.
  • Starting May 3, seating at bars will be allowed in New York City, in line with the food services guidance that is in effect statewide.

Sen. Rath: It's About Time

Sen. Ed Rath, NYS Senate District #61, said the easing of these mandates are long overdue.

“While I am extremely happy for our restaurants that these arbitrary mandates are being repealed, it has taken far too long. It should never have had to come to lawsuits and court hearings for our restaurants to be able to operate,” according to his statement. “The industry has struggled for over a year, at no fault of their own, and the state should be doing everything they can to aid them in their recoveries. Instead, we are seeing the state continue to place unnecessary and cumbersome burdens on our restaurants and bars.”

Rath thanked “our amazing restaurants throughout Upstate who have adapted and continued to serve our communities throughout the pandemic.”

“During such a chaotic and stressful year, for many being able to order their favorite dish from their local restaurant was a much-needed sense of normal,” he said.

NYS Restaurant Leader: A Win for the Industry

On a state level, Melissa Fleischut, president and chief executive officer of the New York State Restaurant Association, issued the following statement:

“We’re encouraged by the news that the state legislature plans to eliminate the burdensome mandate that food be purchased with alcohol. This will singlehandedly boost the bottom line for restaurants and bars all over the state, and many have yet to reopen because of this specific requirement. While this is a win for the industry, and one that the New York State Restaurant Association has been pushing for months, this is just one step. Let’s work together to create a plan that details full reopening.”

Cuomo, in his announcement, warned, “To be clear: we will only be able to maintain this progress if everyone gets the COVID vaccine. It is the weapon that will win the war and we need everyone to take it, otherwise we risk going backward.”

The governor also said that, starting May 15, gyms and fitness centers outside of New York City will increase from 33-percent to 50-percent capacity, casinos and gaming facilities will increase from 25-percent to 50-percent capacity, and offices will go up from 50-percent to 75-percent capacity.

"We are encouraged that things are moving in the right direction since ... we’ve certainly had our struggles with the state’s rules," said Henry Wojtaszek, president of Western Region Off-Track Betting Corp. "We welcome the ability to have more people on the gaming floor. We are actually installing more games in the next few weeks and will continue to adhere to the state’s guidelines on social distancing and our cleaning schedule."

O'Lacy's introducing new porter brewed for pub by Eli Fish

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

O’Lacy’s Irish Pub & Eli Fish Brewing Company have worked together and created a custom-made beer, hoping to show the public and business community that its not always about competing, but when you work together, both businesses can benefit!

On Tuesday, Nov. 5th , 5-9 p.m., O’Lacy’s Irish Pub will be hosting a kick-off party for the new hazelnut porter that has been custom made for O’Lacy’s Irish Pub by Eli Fish Brewing Company.

The collaboration was inspired as Kent Ewell (owner, O’Lacy’s), Chris Hoffman (bartender at O’Lacy’s) and Matt Gray (wwner, Eli Fish) were discussing the large amount of draft beer that O’Lacy’s sells.

“We should make you your own custom brew,” Gray said. “You pick the type (lager, ale etc.) and flavor if you wish and we can make it."    

After reviewing what was currently on tap at O’Lacy’s, Ewell chose a hazelnut porter, which is named appropriately, “Old Sod Hazelnut Porter.”

After sampling the test batch, Ewell said, “I think this is very unique and something people will enjoy.” 

At Tuesday's kick-off party, pints will be on special for $3.50. Come on out and try the new “Old Sod Hazelnut Porte,r” which pairs perfectly with O’Lacy’s Reuben sandwich and famous homemade chips and dip.

Photos: Fundraiser for library at O'Lacy's

By Howard B. Owens


Kent Ewell, owner of O'Lacy's Irish Pub, and Bob Conrad, director of the Richmond Memorial Library, during a fundraising event last night at O'Lacy's in Batavia.

Patrons who arrived early enough at O'Lacy's could purchase a Guinness glass and have it personally engraved and then enjoy a pint perfectly poured by an O'Lacy's bartender.

Proceeds from the sale of the glasses benefit the Richmond Memorial Library.

This is the third year for the event and it was the largest turnout ever. Ewell said O'Lacy's sold out of glasses and that more than $1,000 was raised for the library.





Photos: St. Paddy's Day 2017

By Howard B. Owens


Photos from St. Patrick's Day celebrations at Center Street and O'Lacy's Irish Pub yesterday.













O'Lacy's celebrates 15 years in business

By Howard B. Owens

This Sunday, O'Lacy's Irish Pub celebrates 15 years in business.

The location of O'Lacy's on School Street was the Darien Knitting Mill Outlet and Nancy Bachulak and Kent Ewell originally planned to convert the space into an office building, but after a visit to Rhode Island on St. Patrick's Day in 1996, Bachulak and Ewell decided to raze the existing building and build an authentic Irish pub.

Ewell said he's proud of the fact that no public funds were used in the purchase or construction of the building.

Pub stands for public house, and like the pubs of Europe and the British Isles, O'Lacy's has become a popular downtown gathering place for people from all over Genesee County and beyond.

O'Lacy's has won awards for its Guinness pours and is famous for its Reuben sandwich and homemade potato chips and dip.

Ewell and Bachulak have also supported numerous local charitable causes and events over the past 15 years, including the Michael Napoleon Foundation, UMMC and the Crossroads House.

The celebration will take place throughout the day Sunday.

Photos: St. Patrick's Day 2011 in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

Good times once again in Downtown Batavia for St. Patrick's Day. I stopped by Center Street Smoke House -- where McMahon Dance School students performed traditional Irish dances -- and O'Lacy's, and then one more quick stop at Center Street on the way back to the office.

Prints of these pictures available for purchase by clicking here.

More pictures after the jump:

Snow doesn't chill 'Perfect Pour' celebration at O'Lacy's

By Howard B. Owens

O'Lacy's Irish Pub on School Street in Batavia celebrated its "Perfect Pour" award from Guinness this evening. Guinness representatives were on hand to add to the merriment, which include a free draught for Guinness fans as well as door prizes. The place was packed, even with the slightly bad weather.

More pictures after the jump:

O'Lacy's takes top honors for Guinness pour

By Howard B. Owens

Any bloke can pour a beer, but getting the perfect head on a Guinness -- that's an art.

It turns out that nobody in New York, or the entire Eastern United States for that matter, pours a better Guinness than the staff at O'Lacy's Irish Pub on School Street in Batavia.

The O'Lacy's pour is so good, in fact, that it placed number three in the nation in a contest sponsored by the Ireland-based Diageo Company, makers of Guinness.

The winners were selected based on the text-message votes of patrons of bars that serve Guinness.

O'Lacy's, opened in 1997 and is owned by Kent Ewell & Nancy Bachulak. It beat out 2,100 other contestants for the "best pour" honor.

Authentically Local