The Chieftans...not just my favorite Celtic band! It's a great Irish pub in Upstate New York...

(Yes, the main attraction...for an authentic Waterford chandelier)

As mentioned in a prior blog (about the TirNaNog in Trenton), Kevin and I will sometimes revisit an establishment that delightfully impressed us and dig a bit deeper into their operations. My choice is The Chieftans in Cobleskill, NY; I wrote about them way back in October of 2018 and have visited numerous times since.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting the manager, Jayne Marquart, and was able to pick her brain about what has made this bar so successful in its relatively short time in existence. Hint? It’s Jayne herself, and the marvelous working and familial relationship she has with the owners John and Gerard Nolan. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

IRISH BARS USA: Jayne, I just love this place, the Irish ambience is terrific. What drew the brothers to this area, and why this building?

Jayne: Isn’t it great? You know, not ONE private contractor was used in the refurbishment of this building…and it was in quite a state of disrepair when the boys bought it; the town was getting ready to shut it down.

It seemed like it was going to be an impossible task to get the site ready, and to complete it in a fashion that would meet the outcome that the brothers envisioned. In fact, I was more worried than they were!

Little did I know how Irish families work together when there’s a need; my fears were quickly assuaged when I got to witness firsthand how many relatives and friends flew in from all over! They came for the duration to accomplish amazing things for the Nolan brothers; I have never experienced anything like that…the camaraderie, the unbridled support, and the devotion they showed was second to none. That experience has stayed with me, and it is truly a testament to the Irish meaning of “family.” The brothers envisioned this beautiful space, and they and their families made it happen.

They settled in the Preston Hollow area because the landscape reminded them so much of their beloved County Tipperary; they’re from a small town called Nenagh with a population very close to that of Cobleskill, so all in all this is a nice fit for them.

IRISH BARS USA: And why an Irish Pub?

Jayne: Experience! They already owned and operated Kelly’s Tavern in Brooklyn, and they really wanted to branch out with something more on the lines of a pub atmosphere.

IRISH BARS USA: When we were first here in late 2018, the work was just being finished on the adjacent storefront. How has that addition impacted business?

Jayne: Positively, in every sense of the word! There seems to always be something going on in there; the brothers’ decision to purchase that building has paid off for the community in many ways.

We have had political assemblies (both Republican and Democrats…although separately!) with over 150 attendees, local business meetings, Karaoke, Open Mic nights, Paint & Party nights, televised boxing matches, and a very successful Shop & Sip at the holidays. Lots of live music as well! From Pam at Irish Bars USA: For your convenience, I'm linking the event page here

But my favorite, by far, is Country Line Dancing. We sometimes get over 85 brave souls in here on Wednesday nights to kick up their heels with the “A” Team!

IRISH BARS USA: Yes! I follow you on Facebook and notice all that you do! Tell me about the upcoming Bombshell pin-up.

Jayne: Ah, yes, we’re looking forward to this one! On April 18th, we are partnering with Bombshell Tattoo here in town for a charity event. Live music, a pin-up pageant with guest judges, with all money raised going to “Marathon for a Better Life” a completely non-profit organization that benefits cancer patients.

IRISH BARS USA: Kevin and I were just talking about charities, and how the Irish seem to have a generous and giving heart…more prominent than many other cultures. Do you agree with that philosophy?

Jayne: 100%. Working with the Nolan brothers has been eye opening for me. They have a “people first” mentality; we don’t get business meetings started by talking about the bottom line or the receipts from Saturday evening. We always, without fail, begin with them asking “were the people happy” and “how is the staff faring?”

They are approachable, genuine, and take an unprecedented pride in their employees. They really care, and that’s how they want their business to be run… they take compassion to the next level.

IRISH BARS USA: You seem to have such strong ties to the community. Does that help when you plan the pub’s events?

Jayne: Well, I’ve been here for 28 years, and as a former realtor I will admit that I know a lot of people. It does help to know the community, but we have so much talent here that my job is made easy! For example, Bill Combs, the gentleman who is presenting “The Cobleskill Eagle Story” on March 28th is infamous in this area for his knowledge and expertise on the Cobleskill eagle phenomenon. We are delighted to provide him a space to use as an education and informative venue. By the way, only 9 seats are left!

RISH BARS USA: Thank you so much, Jayne. You’ve been so informative, and it has been such a pleasure!

Jayne: You as well, Pamela. Slainte!

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