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Sonics fans celebrate with Chris Hansen over free beers

The Seattle Times, By Percy Allen, September 13, 2012

During his 35 years as owner, F.X. McRory's owner Mick McHugh said he's never had anyone buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar.

Standing behind the bar at F.X. McRory's, Chris Hansen raised a plastic cup of beer and saluted a festive crowd Thursday.

Hours after a Seattle City Council committee approved a revised agreement with Hansen on a new $490 million basketball and hockey arena in the Sodo District, he hosted a victory party that drew roughly 1,500 to the Pioneer Square restaurant.

"I probably wouldn't be here today if we weren't as successful as we were in getting all of you guys rallied behind us," he said. "So thank you. And that's what this beer is for."

Hansen bought the first round of beer — Redhook or Bud Light. However, he expects Sonics fans to pay the next time.

"The real celebration will come when we have a team," he said. "The celebration will come when there's an NBA player that steps off the plane in this city.

"That will be the day when you all can buy me a beer."

With Mayor Mike McGinn at his side, Hansen lingered for hours posing for pictures, signing autographs and talking with fans dressed in Sonics green and gold.

For many, it was a chance to say thank you.

"I've had people buy me a drink, but none of them taste as sweet as this one," said Kris Brannon, the 38-year-old Tacoma resident known as Sonics Guy. "I've been to over 1,000 events and so many games I can't remember and this ranks right up there with the best feeling I've ever had.

"I never lost hope. So many people might have lost hope, but I never lost hope. We're almost there."

During his 35 years as owner, F.X. McRory's owner Mick McHugh said he's never had anyone buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar.

"The best I can give you is one day the Seahawks lost to New England a long time ago and some guy from Boston showed up and he bought a round of a half-dozen oysters for everybody in the bar," McHugh said. "We were shucking oysters for about three hours.

"But this is different. This is just fabulous because it's a celebration."

The Sonics celebrated their 1979 NBA championship at F.X. McRory's and a few fans believe it won't be very long until an NBA team returns to Seattle.

"The NBA should not have left in the first place," said Sonics icon Slick Watts. "When I walk around this room, I get the sense that people here are ready to have it back.

"We've forgotten about all the bad blood with Clay Bennett and David Stern and we've moved on. We have Chris to thank for that."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @percyallen.

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12th Man Watches Hawks Fall to Atlanta

Seattle Post Intelligencer, January 21, 2012

Steve Henry reacts as the Falcons make a field goal in the final seconds during a game watching party at FX McRory's sports bar as the Seahawks play the Atlanta Falcons during NFL playoff game in Atlanta on Sunday, January 13, 2013. The Hawks fell to the Falcons, ending their season. Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO, SEATTLEPI.COM.

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You wouldn't expect a pricey piece of art hanging on the wall of a popular Seattle bar, but there it is.

Evening Magazine, King5 TV, March 16, 2012


F.X. McRory's Steak, Chop, and Oyster House was named one of the best happy hours in Seattle by DowntownSeattleEvents.com


Luck o' the Irish

There is no such post, but if an election were held to select Seattle’s Official Greeter, Mick McHugh would likely be the landslide winner. For decades, the ebullient Irish restaurateur has welcomed patrons to some of Seattle’s most popular eateries, from the late Jake O’Shaughnessy’s to F.X. McRory’s in Pioneer Square. Anyone in the sporting crowd likely has fond memories of toasting Seattle victories and dousing defeats at McHugh’s timeless saloons, where he has presided with his trademark gift of gab and blarney.

“Irish hospitality is a big part of it,” says McHugh, ’66. “But it’s also that I’m a good Catholic boy who loves people.”

McHugh, a 66-year-old Seattle native, entered the restaurant business because he had no summer job as a Seattle University sophomore and was facing parental pressure to find one. The result was his creation of 92 Yesler, a Pioneer Square coffeehouse with live music. McHugh later moved on to El Nido Inn, a Bellevue café and motel that was his first partnership with childhood friend Tim Firnstahl. El Nido didn’t work out, but the partners regrouped with Jake’s, the first of many successes.

The partnership ended amicably in 1988 with typical McHugh-Firnstahl flair—a silver-dollar coin flip from atop the Space Needle that was won by McHugh and divided the six properties they owned. (Today, in addition to his ownership of F.X. McRory’s, McHugh has a small share in the Irish Pub T.S. McHugh’s in Seattle’s lower Queen Anne neighborhood.)

By this time they had already earned a place in Seattle restaurant history with countless promotions dreamed up by McHugh, from chartering the supersonic passenger jet the Concorde to deliver the restaurants’ Beaujolais nouveau wine, to hiring artist LeRoy Neiman to paint the bar at F.X. McRory’s amid the madness of a St. Patrick’s Day, to giving a ring to Pope John Paul II to replace one that the pontiff donated to a local bishop during his visit to Rio’s slums. McHugh also served Washington state’s first draft Guinness and unveiled Seattle’s first microbrew, Red Hook.

Throughout his success, McHugh’s Seattle University ties have remained an important part of his life, whether he was
bringing Father Joe Maguire, SU’s beloved chaplain, on the Concorde trip or hosting banquets for school supporters. As an
undergrad he was student body president and later returned to his alma mater as director of Alumni Relations.

“I look back at Seattle University every day. It’s just in you. I was so lucky to get that Jesuit education. … I recommend that
place to every kid I talk to.”

McHugh, who has been married for three decades and has four grown children, is not about to abandon his greetings at McRory’s despite many years there.

“I’ve got no plans to retire. I’m having too much fun,” he says.

—John Douglas Marshall. Bite of Seattle U: Luck o' the Irish; Summer 2010.

Conan O'Brien fits right in at Seattle's F.X. McRory's bar

 "No one said we were going to a bar!" Conan O'Brien said Friday, and then he walked into F.X. McRory's anyway.

The red-haired late-show host with the incredibly Irish name ("This is just the way God made me," he said) was in Seattle on Friday to promote his June 1 takeover of "The Tonight Show" on NBC. Stops included an appearance on KING-TV's "Evening Magazine."

Instead of interviewing O'Brien at KING studios, "Evening" host John Curley thought they should meet at McRory's during the 37th annual Irish Week Proclamation Luncheon.

"Totally the luck of the Irish on that one," said Curley, who planned to trick O'Brien into "co-hosting" Monday's show. He's done it before to people like Ellen DeGeneres.

"They don't even know they're hosting," Curley said. "I'll ask, 'Hey, you like chocolate? Well, you know what? Josephine Chang has a great story about a place in Woodinville,' and they're like, 'What the hell is going on?'"

Turned out that O'Brien, who married local Liza Powel at Seattle's St. James Cathedral in 2002, was up for anything. He signed autographs, posed for pictures and mugged it up for the "Evening" camera.

O'Brien, who will move to Los Angeles for his new gig, said he'll miss New York's bagels, "and people shoving me on the sidewalk."

Ah, but there was none of that going on at McRory's. People cheered when O'Brien showed up, cheered for the cameras on Curley's cue, and cheered when they left.

"With the Irish, everything is fun," said McRory's owner Mick McHugh. "We're extras all the time."

—Nicole Brodeur. The Seattle Times: Conan O'Brien fits right in at Seattle's F.X. McRory's bar; December 16, 2009.

F.X. McRory's Steak, Chop & Oyster House

"If the Mariners had an official team restaurant, this could be it."

Mariner mania is going to lure a lot of people south of King Street in the coming months, and F.X. McRory's is ready for them, make no mistake about it. If the Mariners had an official team restaurant, this could be it. 

—The Seattle Times: F.X. McRory's Steak, Chop & Oyster House; Venue Details.

F.X. McRory’s Steak Chop & Oyster House
419 Occidental Avenue South | P.O. Box 4859, Seattle, Washington 98194 | (206) 623-4800