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The Brogue Sold to Two Local Residents, No Major Changes Expected

Photo: QueensPost

Feb. 26, 2014 By Christian Murray

The Brogue, a well-known Irish pub located at 49-10 Skillman Avenue, was sold today to two residents with strong ties to the community.

Hazel Coombes, who has owned the pub for the past 10 years, sold it to her head bartender—Woodside resident Rena Hershberger–and Joe Gillespie, a Sunnyside resident who once had an ownership stake in PJ Horgan’s on Queens Blvd.

Hershberger, who has worked at The Brogue for the past 4 years, said the whole deal got in motion when “Hazel approached me about it [about a year ago],” she said. “She [Hazel] knew that I had always wanted my own bar.”

Hershberger, who decided she needed a business partner to acquire pub, reached out to Gillespie, who currently tends bar at the Cuckoo’s Nest in Woodside. He agreed to partner with her in the venture.

Hershberger said she will run the bar on a day-to-day basis, with Gillespie continuing to work at the Cuckoo’s Nest. However, she said, Gillespie will be a very active partner.

The bar is not going to be undergoing any sort of overhaul with the ownership change—and it will continue to offer its customers a pool table, dart board, fireplace and jukebox.

“We will try to do more live music and start trivia night up again,” Hershberger said. The bar does Karaoke once a month.

Hershberger said that they might “spruce it up” a little and change the lighting.

Coombes said that she sold the bar largely due to her family life. She said the bar was “my baby” when she bought it in 2004 but that her priorities had changed now that she has two toddlers.

Coombes decided with her husband, Liam McDonnell, to sell the bar about a year ago.

The couple decided to speak to Hershberger first, viewing her as a loyal employee.

“My goal was to own a bar by the time I was 40,” Hershberger said, who is currently 33.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Click for Comments 
local in the nabe

good luck rena! glad to hear it’s staying with a local! @germ…this location has always been a bar/pub. it’s also one of the only ones left in the area that has a pool table. you want a different business to open up? take your pick of the empty storefronts on the blvd and have a go at it. good luck.

germ mosion

we have more than enough Irish pubs, this is no longer a lower class Irish neighborhood. we need some new businesses with a fresh face


Good for them. It’s a bit on the opposite side of town for me so I don’t go often, but it’s a friendly place with good drinks!


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