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Raising a glass to McGourty’s Pub

Thanks to Tryon’s Downtown Development Association and the Polk County Community Foundation, we’ve chalked up another successful Tryon New Year’s Eve celebration, affectionately called “Tryon Midnight.”

Trade Street was packed, the music was great, kids were running around having fun, and adults gathered around the fire pits. Buck’s Pizza provided free pizza, OpenRoad served baked goodies, and Cindy Viehman of Foothills Realty and McGourty’s Pub dished out free chili.

Our own Andy Millard began the dramatic 10 p.m. countdown about a minute too soon, according to the clock on the clock tower, but we don’t let details like that bother us here. The ball lowered as we counted. People called out “Happy New Year” and cheered.

Then the ball was raised a second time, and we started counting again. This time as the ball began its descent, it plummeted awkwardly on “four,” but we all cheered again when “Happy New Year” rang out for the second time.

Within the hour, the crowd had dispersed. For those who didn’t want to end the party so soon, McGourty’s remained open, and partiers disappeared into the McGourty’s entrance across from the clock tower in search of karaoke and more hats and horn blowers.

This was only the second New Year’s Eve for McGourty’s, having opened its doors just over a year ago. Tryon had been eagerly anticipating the opening for three years as Pete and Cindy Viehman built the beautiful bar, and it was worth the wait.

McGourty’s was always a dream of Pete Viehman’s, having had Irish pubs in his family for generations. McGourty’s is actually named for his mother’s family, although they spelled it the Americanized McGirty.

Pete combined his love for crafting wood with his pub dream, and the result is a fine social gathering spot filled with spectacular woodwork. Check out his handiwork inside, which I had the privilege to sneak a peek at before they had officially opened. Even the bathrooms have beautifully hand carved wooden sinks, designed and crafted by Kevin Bradley, a good friend of the Viehmans.’

McGourty’s is a private club, which means that for $20 a year (or $5 for three days if you’re just passing through), you can become a member and bring in as many as two guests per night. They’ve already welcomed 1,200 members!

Most weekends, you’ll find live music in McGourty’s, and can check their Facebook page or Website to see which of your favorite local musicians is playing. They also have trivia night on Thursdays and sometimes pot luck nights and karaoke like they had on New Year’s Eve.

McGourty’s has a full bar but it’s their selection of craft beer that caught my eye. I spent an evening once last spring breaking the record on the pinball machine upstairs and then immediately showed my very poor dart playing skills to the same friends I’d just beaten at pinball.

The upstairs has been renovated and is now home to a gorgeous new kitchen, so McGourty’s has expanded its menu, but don’t worry, the pinball machine has been moved downstairs, so you can still try to beat my score.

If you’re looking for a Tryon spot that makes the theme song from Cheers play in your head as you relax with a drink among good friends and neighbors, then you need to head to McGourty’s. Don’t wait for the next New Year’s Eve to try it out. They’re open Thursday through Sunday nights.

Oh, and I almost forgot, it’s a great place to catch football games as well. I’m not a big fan of the sport, I’m afraid, but I get that bowl and playoff season is a big deal here.

Shopping local is important to me, as I’m sure you’ve noticed from my past columns, and I’d like to go on record now to say raising a glass locally means a lot to me as well. Let’s show our support of the Viehmans and their dream pub and thank them with a toast at their superbly crafted bar. Here’s to McGourty’s!