NEWARK, NJ — Newark, the wait has ended. The suffering is over. Joy will erupt. McGovern's Tavern, a Newark icon and institution, will reopen on Friday. Let the Guinness flow.
"I'm not going to say it's going to be the best day of my life, but it's going to be up there," said co-owner Pat McGovern the day before the beloved bar reopens to the relief of a thirsty city. "I hope all of Newark, and the rest of the world, comes out to see us."
McGovern's, a city cornerstone since 1936, closed for a major renovation in June 2018. Longtime customers and first-timers will be able to see for themselves that the wait was worth it. While the light streaming through the new windows may be a shock for many used to the formerly dark bar, those walking in the doors tomorrow will see that the refurbished McGovern's is largely familiar. The bar, the focal point of conversation and cocktails for generations, is the same. The original murals are also the same, just now repositioned. In fact, three old murals were found behind one wall, now newly presented to the public. All the murals have had their color restored.
The walls will still display memories and mementos that are readily recognizable, including family photos, suspended fire and police hats hanging over the bar, successive commemorations of generations of Irish rebels and President John F. Kennedy.
Newark has indeed changed, a major reason for the renovation and the now wide-open windows. But when patrons walk through the door on Friday, the vision of one man will tell them that the resurrected McGovern's has kept its soul: Bill Scully, an Irish immigrant and longtime bartender, who is the living body and soul of the place.
"It took a long time, but it's a beautiful job. I give the boys a lot of credit," said Scully, referring to co-owners Pat McGovern, Sean McGovern and Mike Nagle, as he prepared to pour a thousand perfect pints on Friday. "I'm looking forward to it, and I suspect a lot of other people are as well. Welcome back."