Irish pub brings new life to old NMB jail

Irish pub brought new life to old NMB jail
Source: Guy Johnson
Source: Guy Johnson

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - If bangers and mash or corned beef and cabbage is right up your alley, there's a local spot in the North Strand that will have your mouth watering and begging for more.

As part of our "In Your Community" segment, anchor Heather Biance tells us Flynn's Irish Tavern is the real deal; even the owner was born on the Emerald Isle.

Marty Flynn is a man of many talents. His job title as bar owner is in stark contrast to his days as a financial investor working the tough, fast-paced streets of New York. "Needless to say there's a lot of difference between what I did for 41 years and what I do now," he said. "When I was in Wall Street, I never mopped the floor once."

Pieces of New York can be found scattered across the bar - a large collection of the places, people and experiences that's shaped him into the person he is today. "A bar like this is very common in Boston, New York and Philadelphia," he said. "So the people that live here now that came from there, come here because it reminds them of home."

That's exactly what drew Thomas Heavey, a fellow true Irishman, to Flynn's. "I was born in a little town outside Gallway, County Gallway - the west coast of Ireland," he said.

As a former bar owner in New York, Heavey knows the difference between a wannabe pub and the real deal. "There are a lot of places that try to make them Irish pub, but they're not," he said. "This one is!"

Marty said he hasn't touched a drink in 35 years, but that doesn't keep the self-proclaimed Irish whiskey collector from scouring the lands for just one more bottle.

WMBF News' Heather Biance asked, "it's an obsession maybe?"

Marty answered, "It is. I've never found any other bar in my travels that has more than me. If I did find one, I would be very jealous."

Not that anyone is going to dare you to try this, but they have 47 different Irish whiskeys available at any given time. If moonshine is maybe more your thing, they've got you covered there too.

They even showed Heather the ropes behind the bar, pouring another Irish favorite: a Guinness.

"Pull the handle at first and then push back," instructed the bartender.

The history within these walls is rich too. In an ironic twist of fate, the now bar once held the very people that had a bit too much alcohol.

For decades, this space used to be the North Myrtle Beach jail, a place where many were held overnight to sleep things off.

Marty explains, "There are some very interesting stories about the jail operated and used to arrest people. One story goes that there were so many people arrested on the 4th of July one year that they handcuffed them together and tied them around a tree until they could get a chance to put them away."

How things have changed. Bail used to be set at $28 or $32, and if you had enough money to pay on the spot, you could walk.

"If you can kind of paint a picture because it's obviously now a storage unit. How many bunks are we talking about?" asked Heather.

"There were three bunks on either side high and you know if you fell off the top bunk it could be dangerous," said Marty.

He added, "I don't know what it was like in the middle of the Summer with 20 odd people in here, but it would be very unpleasant."

"Oh the sights, sounds and smells of a jail without air conditioning. I can't imagine," Heather said.

"It'd be enough to stop you from drinking!" exclaimed Marty.

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