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New Irish Pub in Shirlington Importing Irishmen

by ARLnow.com August 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm 6,731 33 Comments

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub is looking for a few good Irishmen (and women).

To make sure there’s some brogue to be heard in Shirlington Village, the Tipperany-born owner of the under-construction pub has placed an ad for bartenders and servers on an Irish jobs web site.

“We will assist qualified candidates in obtaining a visa,” the job listing says. “If you are hard working, honest and have a sense of adventure, then we feel you would enjoy working on our team.”

And as if actual Irish employees weren’t authentic enough, the entire interior — light fixtures, mill work, artifacts, tile and all — is being manufactured in Ireland and shipped across the Atlantic as we speak.

“We will not be a ‘Disney Ireland’ as some Irish pubs choose to be,” owner Mark Kirwan said via email. “We are not trying to be an Irish-American pub, but rather I am trying to re-create what a true pub is like in Ireland.”

In addition to authentic, Samuel Beckett’s — named as the Nobel Prize-winning Irish writer — will also be huge. Kirwan anticipates indoor seating for 280, outdoor seating for up to 100, an upstairs mezzanine level, and three bars to make sure nobody is ever too far from a Guinness.

The pub will be located at 2800 South Randolph Street. Kirwan, who’s a partner in Daniel O’Connell’s restaurant in Alexandria but is striking out on his own with Samuel Beckett’s, expects to be able to open the doors by mid-October.

Logo via Shirlington Village Blogspot

  • Glenn Quagmire

    Where’s Scott Bakula?

    • Katie


      Who knows. Must be flashing through time somewhere.

  • ArlingtonBusiness

    Aren’t we still in a recession? Why are they importing foreign workers? We hardly have a shortage of bartenders here in the Metro area.

    • Joe

      I suppose he’d be giving Irishmen jobs because that’s what we do, we help our own. And I guess you hadn’t heard that Ireland has fallen on much harder times than this country has

    • Because some people are tired of going to authentic Irish pubs with Mexican rap music blaring from the kitchen.

  • BrownFlipFlops

    Wow, sounds great, but the restaurant business is tough. Right off the bat, they’re going as expensive as possible with their furnishings. On top of that, they’ll be adding the cost of immigration attorneys to the pay and benefits for their employees. In that business, ICE is probably going to give them a hard time about their visas, so it will be hearing after hearing for each person. They’ll probably get their visas in the end, but it ain’t gonna be cheap.

    With all those costs to cover, they’re going to need big turnover. Where in the heck are 380 people going to park in Shirlington? The garages are pretty close to capacity, now. Yeah, there’s a new bus station on the property, but they’re not going to get a big crowd of bus riders every night.

    I wish them the best, and I’ll be there to check it out as soon as it opens. It sounds like they’re betting against long odds, though.

  • Thirsty

    Hehe “…what a true pub is like in Ireland.” …that seats…
    wait for it…
    380 people!

    By “true” are we talkin’ Dublin pub all fancy and carpeted with upholstered stools or more like a village pub with lots of bare wood?

    • Katie

      They should import a bunch of drunk old codgers for true authenticitay.

  • ArlingtonResident

    I don’t think you need Irish staff to make this successful or “authentic.” And I agree with the previous comment about the recession. How can they justify getting foreign workers for an industry where there are Americans willing to take those jobs. We’re not talking about migrant workers in agricultural jobs or cleaning or hotel workers – jobs Americans don’t want to do. I think we need foreign workers for those industries (and America is better for that), but not for working a pub. Isn’t our government bending over backwards for small businesses so they employ American workers at a time when we have historic unemployment?

  • Steven Duffield

    The job listing says that these individuals would come under J1 Visas. What part of the J1 Visa category permits importing restaurant staff to fill these jobs? The ‘trainee’ category? We have unemployed Americans and legal residents throughout our community, but we need to go overseas to find restaurant staff? And to the extent that this is a desire for public-facting employees with an accent (is it?), is there no requirement that the owner attempt to find Irish-Americans within the U.S.?

    Very odd.

    • DontCallMeShirlington

      Also from that site: “The J1 visa has limitations regarding age and experience. You must be under 30 years of age and have experience in the industry.”

      Doesn’t specifying an age limit contravene some sort of employment law here in the US?

  • My ‘hood

    Uh…just as Americans go abroad and work and obtain Visas?…duh, it’s kind of the same thing. Only in reverse! I don’t think anyone from Arlington, or the U.S. really has a say in who private employers hire, as long as it’s in compliance with the law. I mean, really, who made these commentors King? of the restaurant industry? And as for business in a recession, I can think of 4 or 5 mediocre joints in Shirlington Village that should and hopefully will be, killed off by Beckett’s. It’s called competition. As for parking…um…Shirlington Village is in a very active and walkable community. Many patrons walk there(and it was a Godsend during the blizzards!).

    • Geraldine

      Totally agree…additionally, one of the best things about America is the opportunity it provides to all foreigners willing to work hard and comply with their visa (and all types of) law. The regulations of immigration law restrict foreign workers in ways that benefit American people and in a sense protect them from “losing jobs” to foreign workers. Immigration laws in no way permit American restaurants to discriminate against American workers..in fact no American worker has logical reason to feel threatened by legal foreign workers which are entering America based on standards and regulations designed by the American government, monitored by American agencies, processed by American lawyers, and approved by the American people themselves…see the point?
      In any case, this bar will definitely be an excellent addition to the Shirlington area, and I look forward to spending my “American” money there!

  • Kim

    As if Arlington needs yet another Irish-wannabe pub.

    • TGEoA

      And Irish food sucks.

      • Jo

        Irish food sucks?? taste is an individual thing – perhaps you should have said I think Irish food sucks!! Many love the old shepherds pie and beef stew!

  • VA Trial Lawyer

    This is undoubtedly a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits national origin discrimination unless it’s a “bona fide occupational qualification” (“BFOQ”). Customer preference is never a BFOQ, just like it wouldn’t be a BFOQ to hire only white waiters in the Deep South because customers prefer it.

  • Let’s Be Free

    I don’t think the employer has to withold Medicare or SSI to employees on these visas — nice little savings there since the servers/bartenders get checks for a lot less than minimum wage to begin with due to imputed tip income — these “authentic” employees are almost free. Also, temporary immigrants won’t get hit with the individual mandate for health care insurance, so they can live more cheaply than their American citizen counterparts. Such a deal!

  • No need to attribute the logo to the blogger who ripped it off. The source is http://villageatshirlington.com/images/SamuelBecketts_logo.jpg

  • I saw the recruitment ad on jobs ie but chose not to post it for fear of possible backlash.

  • RE: “As if Arlington needs yet another Irish-wannabe pub.”

    Speak for yourself. In a recent survey, a large percentage of respondents wanted an Irish pub in Shirlington Village. Most of us are looking forward to it.

    • Thirsty


  • Jo

    I think this will be a great addition to Shirlington… I also just want to comment on the immigration comments…. unless the posters are native americans, then you are also ancestors of immigrants. If your ancestors had not immigrated to this great land and been accepted as part of the melting pot that American is, then gosh knows where you would be living right now! Parking for 380 folks??? How many people live in walking distance?? at least 1000 comes to mind in the immediate Shirlington village area, not to mention the additional thousands in a one mile radius… Anyway, go easy on the immigration comments and you do have the choice not to go to the bar… although Id say you would be missing out

    • charlie

      some of the worst immigrant bashers are the recent immigrants. parts of my family haven’t even been here a generation. we are all immigrants in some way at this point.
      As for market saturation — Shirlington, Like Clarendon, does NOT survive on those who live by and require a great deal of people driving, biking, walking and skipping from other parts of time.
      check out their place in Old Town to understand how cool this bar will be for Arlington.

  • Johnny

    I am a little ticked off to say the least at some of these posts. I am from Ireland. I work in the pharmaceutical industry. I would just like to say, that most Americans don’t want to work in the service industry just like construction, landscaping etc. I pay taxes, have no criminal record and I love living in the U.S.A. I would find it strange to go into any restaurant/bar and not be served/greeted by a person from the country the restaurant/bar is trying to originate from. The individual here is obviously trying to create a situation for the employee to experience America and also to create a unique atmosphere for his/her customers. I know for a fact that the J1 only allows you a certain % of your employees on J1’s. It mandates that the rest of your employees must be U.S. citizens. Why don’t we all get off our high horses and give this person a chance to succeed. I also know from visiting Shirlington that there is ample parking for customers. I know as a resident of the area that I am looking forward to this pub opening and I wish him/her that is opening it the very best.

    • I’ve heard that Irish people are planning on bringing crack to Shirlington. I certainly hope so anyway.

  • Actually, before some sends the ACPD out to arrest me I have to mention that crack is another spelling for craic. Here’s one of my favorite Father Ted moments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjS_C-zYUUI&feature=related

  • William

    This reply is to Steven Duffield, Steven my name is William. I own my own marketing company in the metro DC area. I am from England, and I too just like this employer use candidates from the J1 program. You mention how can this restaurant use J1 candidates? Well Steven the hospitality trade in Ireland is very important. It is taken more serious than it is in the U.S. Most people I have encountered in this country who are in the hospitality industry use it as a vehicle to pay for college etc. In Ireland it is considered a career. I am sure that this employer as with myself intend on teaching these young Irish people how the industry works in this country, as it is very different than in Europe. They then can return to Ireland and use this knowledge to better operate a restaurant /bar in Ireland. They also can better understand the needs and requirements of the highest influx of tourists to Ireland “The American”. I.N.S. mandate only a small percentage of your staff are allowed to be brought in on J1 visas. This is monitored. I hope this may clarify some of your concerns.

    Kindest regards,


    • Steven Duffield

      A belated thank you for this response. I am pretty sure that most Americans would be deeply frustrated to find that our immigration laws permit American restaurants to discriminate against American workers. Thanks for the background.

  • David

    I am so glad that the latter end of these posts are positive and intelligently thought out. I am very happ that this Irish pub is coming to my neighborhood. It is also nice that the owner has decided to be as authentic as possible and not just slap up shamrocks and green as decorations. Shirlighton village is a beautiful community that needs a relaxing place to enjoy a drink. I wish the owner the very best and I can assure him that I will be a regular.



    Less visa talk, more beer talk. Go Sam Becketts!

  • Shirlington Res

    Typical Arlington. A restaurant prepares to open and everyone has to make a political statement. Get over yourselves people. I’m looking forward to this pub and the fact that it’s importing some of it’s employees will only make it better.

  • Mittendorf

    Geez, some people are just not happy people. I don’t know if you realize that not only does America allow Irish to come and take advantage of this program, but if you’ve been to Ocean City, VA Beach and other similar type places, a lot of restaurants offer the opportunity for young Europeans to come and experience America. How many computer engineers are looking for a restaurant job anyway?


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