Newton County’s Director of Commercial Development Serra Hall stated it simply, “The Square is definitely changing.”
That was the preamble for the announcement — months in the making — that Irish Bred Pub is coming to The Covington Square.
The Phillips Holding Group announced construction on the restaurant and entertainment establishment at 1115 Church Street, formerly Church Street Antiques, will most likely begin after permits are filed Monday with an opening slated for February 2016.
The Church Street location will be the seventh Irish Bred, with the other locations throughout Georgia and Alabama, and the third business for the Phillips Holding Group, consisting of principle owners Jack and Lisa Phillips, after the CORK boutique and gifts and the CORK growler and cigar shoppe.
Irish Bred will seat 350 people in its two stories, have a retail space and hire 50-60 people for its opening. Patrons will come into the front of the building through an entrance way consisting of three doors. One will bring diners into the restaurant, one up to the restaurant and entertainment level on the second floor and one into the retail space. There will also be a back entrance for easy access to the First Baptist Church of Covington parking deck.
The restaurant will feature 80 percent of the franchise’s signature dishes such as Irish Beef Stew, Shepard’s Pie, French Dip and Reuben sandwich and 20 percent of what Irish Bred Vice President Joseph Garofalo said will be the choice of the individual owners.
The second floor will have an array of nightly options with live music and a large dance floor, special performances and events, karaoke, team trivia, a separate private room and more. Meeting room facilities will be available for private party reservations, birthday celebrations, anniversaries, office parties, rehearsal dinners and wedding parties.
There will also be multiple large format TVs on both floors and a separate bar area and rear entrance from the restaurant on the first floor for cheering on your favorite sports teams.
“There is no question with development like this and investment by the likes of Jack and his family that this whole community has taken a turn,” Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said. “We have had quality growth that has been about doing something for this community. “
Johnston is also part owner of the Mystic Grill restaurant, which has had success since opening in January of 2014, encouraging other businesses to see the Square as an entertainment district. But he said he didn’t see Irish Bred as a bad thing for his business or the city.
“People asked me ‘aren’t you worried’,” Johnston said. “And I said no, this is what being in the business world is all about – competition, and doing what’s best for the community.
“Since these businesses have opened up the entire Square has grown. People are getting to see what a unique, and incredible place the Square is. Covington can be anything it wants to be.”