Waxy’s Irish Pub in Fort Lauderdale will not reopen this weekend for St. Patrick’s Day, the owners have announced, a reversal of plans that will leave legions of fans crying in their Guinness.
After being closed for renovations since July 2018, the establishment formerly known as Waxy O’Connor’s had hoped to reopen with a huge celebration for what is traditionally the bar and restaurant’s busiest day of the year.
But in a Friday night Facebook post, Waxy’s owners wrote, “We are sorry to say we won’t be open for St. Patrick’s Day this year. It was a hard call to make but the right one.” Owner Mark Rohleder says he hopes to announce an opening date soon.
Rohleder said Thursday that Waxy’s was awaiting final inspections after renovations that took longer than expected. “Fingers crossed,” he wrote via Facebook message. State records show Waxy’s passed its food licensing inspection on Thursday and that it has a valid liquor license. City records show a number of open permits.
Waxy’s fans took the latest developments in stride. “Much love through a stressful and difficult time,” Holly Cobb Nealis wrote on Facebook. “We are your locals and we will always be with you.”
Wrote Andrew Barclay: “Such a shame but the wait will ultimately be worth it.”
The Triton, a yachting trade publication, reported Wednesday that Waxy’s was aiming for a March 17 reopening.
Waxy’s has been a mainstay for 21 years on the busy 17th Street corridor near Port Everglades, and is known for pints of Guinness and pub grub such as bangers and mash.
The pub closed in July 2018 for what was supposed to be a modest refurbishing, with a Halloween 2018 reopening expected. But Rohleder says the structure, built in 1958, showed extensive rot and termite damage and a tear-down ensued. Weeks led to months.
The delays led to legions of disappointed customers, particularly rugby and soccer fans who would gather to watch big events at the pub.
“We keep getting texts from customers, ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Are you going to reopen?’” says Rohleder. Waxy’s website and Facebook page were plastered with notices that said, “Keep Calm — We Are Only Closed For Renovations.”
“Come back soon — I need a pot pie!” a Facebook user named Cheri Peppe wrote on Waxy’s Facebook page earlier this year.
“I really hope they keep the old charm,” Kandi Rinker-Jollay wrote.
The refurbished Waxy’s will open with a shortened name — new exterior signs have lopped off “O’Connor’s” — and a new center bar with wood shipped from Ireland.
“Everything looks great and we are very excited to come whenever you are ready to open,” Shalom Weiss wrote on Waxy’s Facebook page Friday.
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