Snug bar is Irvington’s new cozy castle of Irish whiskey

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Snug exterior
Snug, 210 S. Audubon Road, is scheduled to open for business on Tuesday, Jan. 2. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

Opening Tuesday in a 600-square-foot space previously occupied by an Irvington hair salon, Snug is a small Irish-themed bar that’s going big with its whiskey offerings.

Irish whiskey is represented in more than 90 bottles of different brands displayed at Snug, where heavyweights Jameson and Bushmills are joined by dozens of lesser-known companies.

“Our goal is to carry anything that has an Irish connection,” said Jim Arnoldt, who co-owns Snug with Carey Shea and Timothy Barrett.

The bar’s name refers to private seating areas in overseas pubs dating to the Victorian era. The snug served as a solution for women and police officers who didn’t want to be seen by other patrons in the pub.

“Jim has wanted to name a bar ’Snug’ for a while,” said Shea, a Franklin College alum who grew up in Kentucky. “This place was already so tiny, it was almost the size of a snug.”

Arnoldt, a general contractor who grew up in Chicago, made sure renovations at 210 S. Audubon Road included a snug, featuring a single table behind swinging saloon doors, inside Snug.

While the food menu at Snug won’t be extensive, Arnoldt and Shea said they envision their bar as a place for people to stop before or after a meal at nearby Strange Bird, a popular restaurant that specializes in oysters and ramen.

“Our goal was to create a small intimate space for people to come together and make stories, make friends and have a good time,” Arnoldt said. “This is a neighborhood pub. We’re not trying to draw people in from all over. It’s too small.”

Snug owners
Carey Shea, left, and Jim Arnoldt are opening Snug with co-owner Timothy Barrett, who’s not pictured. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

The bar’s capacity is 49 people, and visitors can expect to pay $5 to $8 for whiskey shots on the lower end of the price spectrum.

Snug launched a whiskey club that offers merchandise perks and access to tastings and educational events.

Meanwhile, Snug’s lineup of beverages includes sparkling tea and non-alcoholic beer and punch.

“When you go out to drink, regardless of what your preference is, you should be able to get something good,” Arnoldt said. “We want everybody to have a good experience here, not just people who like Irish whiskey.”

Snug’s hours of operations are 3-10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 3-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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