According to owner Alan O’ Sullivan, Tommy Doyle’s motto is “great pints, great food and great friendship.” One thing that isn’t so great, however, is its marketing.
The pub’s “soft opening,” (a euphemism for “not a big deal”) occurred on Halloween, in the ramshackle blue building that once housed Brother Jimmy’s. Though opening on a Monday night may seem inauspicious, O’ Sullivan is confident in his type of publicity.
“One person will tell 10, 10 will tell fifty—it’s better than 500 people looking at a paper and then throwing it away,” O’ Sullivan says with an Irish brogue. In the next month, he plans to hold a “Grand Opening,” complete with a mayoral visit to cut the ribbon. He explains that financial strain due to building renovations was behind the initial lack of fanfare (literal fanfares aside, since he did commission a bagpiper to play at Head of the Charles to herald the pub’s arrival).
Word of mouth advertising has only gone so far, although this weekend implies that O’ Sullivan knows what he’s talking about. “I didn’t know about it until this Friday,” says Sophie F. Brickman ’07. “New bars in the Square seem to catch on really fast, so suddenly everyone was there Friday and Saturday.”
As the owner of two other successful Tommy Doyle’s locations, O’ Sullivan hopes that the Harvard bar will be the “jewel in the crown, as they say.”
Whether it’s a jewel might be debatable, but it seems to fill a gap in the Square’s pub scene.
“It just seems kind of like your average Irish bar, less snooty than Daedalus and less grungy than the Kong,” says Brickman.