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A new look for an old pub

Posted by Geeky Swedes on November 30th, 2009

Since early July, Conor Byrne has been undergoing a transformation. Now the facelift is almost complete.

General manager Diarmuid Cullen tells us that they were inspired by the original Owl Saloon (shown below).

The new facade even includes a revolving window above the door like the old pub.

In case you can’t remember what Conor Byrne used to look like, here’s a photo.

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21 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 burgin22 // Nov 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    A huge improvement!

  • 2 Silver // Nov 30, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    OOooooo! Shiny!

  • 3 Grubby Ballard // Nov 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    OOooooo! Gentrified!

  • 4 Ballardian // Nov 30, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    I do like the new(old) look alot….still a badly oriented space inside unfortunately…tho if the music is good I guess it doesn't really matter.

    Used to go there a bunch in the 80's when bands I liked were playing(years before I moved to ballard)…not so much anymore.

  • 5 Maxwell Emory Perry // Dec 1, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Nice work Diarmuid!

  • 6 Nematode // Dec 1, 2009 at 1:07 am

    It looks gorgeous. And the Owl Café photo sure brings back memories.

    I have no idea what the revolving window does, though. Ventilate?

  • 7 SPG // Dec 1, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Carry on.

  • 8 watergirl // Dec 1, 2009 at 1:43 am


  • 9 watergirl // Dec 1, 2009 at 1:44 am

    I think I like it! :-)

  • 10 NoraBell // Dec 1, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Um, I'm not sure I like it. I went in there after the windows were done and it had kind of a fishbowl feeling. People pressing noses against the window as they walked by, it was a little disconcerting. I'm all for windows, but this is a lot of window.

  • 11 Ballardite // Dec 1, 2009 at 4:10 am

    LOVE it! Two questions–was Heliotrope involved with the remodel and how does one pronounce 'Diarmuid'?

  • 12 Diarmuid // Dec 1, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Yes, Heliotrope was involved and Dear-mid

  • 13 Ballardite // Dec 1, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Thanks, Diarmuid. Looks fantastic. Congratulations.

  • 14 OwlsInsomnia // Dec 1, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Gorgeous and much more hospitable. I will most certainly be more inclined to stop in for a beer every now and then. It always felt a bit dank in the previous space. I'll be even happier if they can find a better spot to locate the sidewalk smokers. I have to hold my breath when I walk by at pretty much any time of day or night.

  • 15 Ballard00 // Dec 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Love it! It makes the bar so much more inviting to those walking by on the street.
    It is hardly gentrification if it looks just like the old Owl saloon looked… I think retro would be a more appropriate word.
    Way to go Diarmuid, it looks fabulous!

  • 16 jj // Dec 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Too much glass, needs more brick. It might look more like the original facade, but if you close your eyes and think of a traditional Irish pub this isn't it. Still one of my favorite pubs.

  • 17 ZephyrV2 // Dec 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I wonder if the fishbowl feel could be due to the recent remodel – folks walking by, noticing the change on the outside, peaking to see what's new inside. It may go away after a while. It's not as if they have a ton more windows than other bars and storefronts on that stretch.

  • 18 NoraBell // Dec 1, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Hope you're right. I think it's maybe the top windows being clear glass that help with the creepy fishbowl effect too. I was looking forward to one of my fave Pubs finally getting windows, just didn't expect this much window.
    I know a lot of Pubs that have big front widows, but not sidewalk to ceiling.
    Maybe I'll get used to it.

  • 19 ballardmike // Dec 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Looks great! When's the first fisticuffs!?

  • 20 Bernie // Dec 2, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I'm one of those nose pressers. I think the facade looks great, but I did wonder how the regulars feel about it. Those bellied up to the bar looked a bit sheepish. No more drinking in private!

  • 21 MikeAW // Dec 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Great job, a really classy look Diarmuid. Now for the next addition.

    Mike and Kate

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