Client Spotlight: Harp & Eagle
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re highlighting one of our most authentically Irish clients. Harp & Eagle is a Wisconsin-based group of inns and pubs rooted in Irish tradition—so much so that the company also hosts tours to Ireland.
We had the pleasure of talking with Harp & Eagle business owner, the charismatic Rip O’Dwanny about his businesses and their Irish flare. O’Dwanny opened his first inn and pub in 1978 in Plymouth, Wisconsin—and believe it or not, it was the first place in Sheboygan county to have Guinness on tap.
Fast forward to today and O’Dwanny’s company Harp & Eagle—named for the official emblems of Ireland and the United States—runs four of Wisconsin’s most popular inns and pubs and one standalone restaurant.
Wisconsin Inns and Pubs
Frequenting the top of “Best Of” lists in Wisconsin, the various Harp & Eagle inns and pubs celebrate the music, food, and drink of Ireland, while all offering their own unique guest experience. County Clare in Milwaukee boasts 12×14 foot spa quality bathrooms and Kenosha’s Ashling on the Lough overlooks 350 boats moored at the downtown marina. People love the famous Guinness Pot Roast and cozy fireplace in the bog snog (that’s Irish for sitting area) at St. Brendan’s Inn in Green Bay. From the newest location, the Ennis Inn in De Pere, to the Clark Hotel at the historic Waukesha landmark Five Points Junction, each establishment offers welcoming staff and good times.
When we asked O’Dwanny which is his favorite he replied with a laugh, “my favorite pub is whichever one I’m in at the time.”
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Rip O’Dwanny has also taken more than 12,000 people to Ireland over the last 26 years. It all started when he bought an 8,000 square foot manor house that was originally built in 1760. He redid it with 12 bedrooms and bathrooms, but felt it was “a bit ostentatious” so figured out how he could bring tourists over to share it with. O’Dwanny hung a sign at County Clare, and after two weeks his tours were all sold out. That was 179 trips ago and he’s never looked back. Visit bestirishtour.com to learn more.
A Challenging Year
Harp & Eagle, like most hospitality businesses, was hit hard by COVID-19. Last year St. Patrick’s Day—typically their biggest day of the year—was shifted to takeout only. With 2020 total sales cut in half and hotel capacity at 25% of what it was, O’Dwanny says it was very, very difficult to cut back staff hours for his roughly 160 employees.
Ever the optimist, O’Dwanny said he is blessed by his team, 40 of whom who have been with him for 10 to 30 years. He attributes Harp & Eagle’s resiliency to his staff, loyal patrons, long-term past success, and “the luck of the Irish.” This year on St. Patrick’s Day, the pubs are all open with social distancing measures in place. Each day this week a different location is hosting a live band and Irish dancers.
We know business owners like Rip O’Dwanny have many options for their merchant services and appreciate their business. O’Dwanny is happy with the service he receives from Beyond and his local Business Advocate Joe Murphy.
“People do business with people, and Joe is a nice man to work with. We get good service. If we have a question, which isn’t very often, our questions get answered straight away and the people we deal with are pleasant. When you provide a good service as Beyond does, that service deserves loyalty to it.”
Today and every day we’re grateful for our clients like Rip O’Dwanny and Beyond Business Advocates such as Joe Murphy. Next time you’re in Wisconsin, plan a stop at one of the Harp & Eagle hotels or pubs—where the team hopes you’ll find their food flavorful, the pints refreshing, and the accommodations most comfortable. Sláinte! (Cheers!)
Learn more about Beyond’s business services and support at getbeyond.com.