All eyes are on Mahony’s Tavern Convention Centre (formerly Mahony & Sons) in its downtown location at 36-1055 Canada Place, as they reach the half-way point of their renovations…
When we met up with brothers and owners, Pete and Gerard Mahony, to take a look at the progress of their Convention Centre location, they explained that they wanted to keep the feel of the family brand but see the place become a little more contemporary. One word they used a lot was ‘evolve’ (not throwing out the old brand, just updating the existing one).
The updated design, by Courtney Cline with MGBA Architecture + Interior Design, is the last piece of a brand transition that began in the fall of 2021, moving the brand from the Mahony & Sons traditional Irish pub concept to the more modern and thoughtful feeling of ‘Mahony’s Tavern.’ This is a sharpening of what the brand does well.
When asked what is at the core of Mahony’s, the answer was: “A casual atmosphere, but nothing casual about the approach to food or quality of service… We want guests to come in for a business meeting in their work attire and feel comfortable, but we also want them to come in off the seawall in their flip-flops and feel just as comfortable. We want Mahony’s to remain a place to gather with friends over a pint of Guinness, but we also want to bring our establishment up-to-date. We want to serve the corporate community, who want spaces for meetings and presentations, as well as families and friends who are getting together to watch a game.” In short: they want it all.
As you can see from photos above and in the gallery below, gone are the original snugs and millwork, dark elements knocked out to make room for the light. While much of the space was hidden behind drop cloths and obviously still under construction, we could still discern that the colours are already lighter and the space is more open. Sight lines to views of cruise ships, Canada Place and the inner harbour are now clearly the priority, as is the desire for an overall more interactive and functional space.
What does that look like? At this stage, a bit of imagination is still necessary, but visualize enough space for group functions of up to 200 people, strategic big-screen tv placement, a proper sound system, and a table configuration that improves the flow of guests and staff.
The changes will not be solely cosmetic. Chef Alessandro Vianello was brought on board to help with a complete overhaul of the food and beverage menus. Similar to their approach to the room’s re-design, the team is respecting the aspects of Mahony’s that guests love – burgers, fish n’ chips, and share plates, like nachos and chicken wings – are not going anywhere, but with an ‘evolved’ menu that meanders away from the former exclusively pub fare, towards more plated and ‘elevated’ options. The addition of some lighter items to the food menu – such as pan-seared steelhead with celery root puree, sautéed vegetables and fresh herb salad – will respond to the multitude of dietary preferences.
Chef Vianello explains: “We’re still going to do a nice Fish n’ Chips, but we asked ourselves, ‘How can we make it better?’ So now…instead of coleslaw, your Fish n’ Chips will come with snap pea and radish salad with mint.” It’s all about improving on what we know guests already like. The pizza ovens will get fired up next.
Mahony’s Tavern at the Convention Centre is one of two hi-vis Mahony’s restaurants: both at high traffic points of the seawall – albeit in entirely different neighbourhoods – and both with stellar unobscured views of the water from totally different vantage points.
After about a dozen years of business at the Convention Centre location (Mahony’s began construction on their initial design back in July 2010, officially opening doors on March 21st, 2011), it’s understandable that the restaurant would be ready for a facelift. Doors have been closed for renos since January 9th, and are aiming to reopen on March 6th – just a couple of weeks shy of the Convention Centre location’s twelfth anniversary. An ambitious turnaround for the 7100 sqft space…But a well-timed one, if things go as planned (and we’re hoping they do). A reimagining of the False Creek location is already in the back of their minds…
Owners: Pete and Gerard Mahony (Mahony family)
Designer: Courtney Cline with MGBA Architecture + Interior Design
Consulting Chef: Chef Alessandro Vianello
Branding: SMC Communications Inc.
Square Footage: 7100
Seats: 275 seats on the floor, plus a 25-seat bar and spots for 160 on the patio
Anticipated Opening: March 2023