Tag Archives: Barry’s Old School Irish

Come on in, Webster, the music’s fine!

10 Mar

Despite being such a small town, the Village of Webster has an amazing amount of great music.

Every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus the occasional Wednesday, you can find live music SOMEWHERE in the village, performed by a variety of local and regional bands, playing folk, Irish, country, oldies, rock & roll and more.

Pub 235, at 235 North Ave., starts off every musical week on Tuesdays with Eggman’s Traveling Carnival, which plays from 7 to 9 p.m. Once a month or so, Nate Michaels also takes the stage.

Jojo Bistro & Wine Bar at 42 E. Main St has live music every Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. Among the regulars performing there are Thurlow, Amanda Ashley and Sean Rosenberry.

The music at Barry’s Old School Irish, 2 West Main St., starts Friday night, and it’s usually Irish. Saturday, a folk music jam session meets in the bakery side of the pub from noon to 2 p.m., followed by a traditional Irish music session from 2 to 5. Then, after THAT, another (usually non-Irish) band provides entertainment. Barry’s often brings in bands from Buffalo in addition to featuring local talent.

The Coach Sports Bar, 19 West Main, also usually has music on Saturday nights from 9 to 1 p.m.

Even the village’s newest restaurant, Cobblestone on Main, at 109 West Main, has dipped its toes into the local music scene. Cobblestone has already hosted Claudia Hoyser three times, and will be welcoming Amy Montrois later this month and in May.

Owner Dan Bresnahan has chosen to schedule his live music dates on Wednesdays, so he doesn’t step on any other venue’s toes. At least for now, however, he doesn’t expect to host entertainers every week, but rather have them in for special events. But, he adds, “We want to help support local music. They suffered as much as anybody during COVID.”

This weekend in particular is a big one for local music, thanks in large part to Saturday being “Parade Day.” For some bars and restaurants, Rochester’s St. Patrick’s Day parade marks the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day season. So in addition to the regular music dates mentioned above, several venues have added even more bands to their schedules.

Barry’s Old School Irish’s Saturday music schedule, for example, begins with a traditional Irish session at 10 a.m. and continues all day and evening with three more bands. (Click here to see the whole schedule). Cobblestone is featuring two bands, Sean Rosenberry from 2 to 5 p.m., followed by Leecy & Greg from 6 to 9 p.m.

On St. Patrick’s Day itself next Thursday, look for even more music at Barry’s Old School Irish.

As the pandemic continues to wane and we all feel more and more like going out in the evenings and getting back to normal, it’s great to know there are so many opportunities so close by to enjoy exceptional live music. And it’ll only get better as the weather gets warmer and the music gets piped onto the patios. (Or sometimes the musicians themselves set up outside.)

Thank you to the pub and restaurant owners who understand how important music is in our lives, and for supporting our local musicians.

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Folk music has found a home in the Village of Webster

20 Feb

Anyone familiar with the Village of Webster probably knows by now that our corner pub, Barry’s Old School Irish, is THE place to find authentic Irish music. Fewer people realize, however, that every weekend Barry’s is also home to the best folk music in town, performed by the Webster Saturday Folk Jam.

Stop into Barry’s Old School Irish any Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and you’ll find a group of folk musicians circled around tables in the bakery side of the pub. They’re mostly playing guitars, with an occasional mandolin, banjo, bass or ukulele joining the mix. But they’re all playing, and they’re all singing, jamming to tunes we all know and filling the pub with beautiful music.

The Webster Saturday Folk Jam was established just over five years ago by Webster resident Dave Wyble, who’s led the weekly sessions since day one. He was inspired by a similar group hosted by the Golden Link Folk Singing Society, which has been holding Tuesday-night “sing-arounds” for more than 50 years.

Wyble, a self-described Golden Link “lurker” and folk musician himself (he and his wife Patty have their own duo, Doctor’s Orders), liked the idea of bringing more music to the pub. At the same time, he added, hosting a weekly jam would help him improve his own musical skills, learn more about folk music, and share that knowledge with others.

The Webster Saturday Folk Jams, however, have always been different in one big way from the sing-arounds which inspired them.

The Golden Link philosophy focuses as much on the history of the music as the music itself, Wyble explained. “It’s more about the culture of folk music, what folk music has brought to the culture in addition to the actual tunes.”  

“Their focus is more on keeping alive the folk tradition,” he added. “When you sing a song (at the sing-arounds) you’re more or less expected to introduce it in some way,” telling of its history or where you learned it, before playing the song for the assembled musicians. Sometimes others will play along, but mostly everyone else just sits back and listens. 

It’s not unusual for up to 25 musicians to join the sing-arounds, which mean that usually there’s only enough time for each musician to perform once. Wyble wanted his Webster Saturday Folk Jam sessions to offer more playing opportunities than that.

“I wanted a new form of group where all in attendance had the opportunity to play along if they so desired,” he said. To facilitate that, everyone works from the same two songbooks, Rise Up Singing and Rise Again. That way, everyone has the chords and lyrics in front of them for every song played.

Between them, the books have about 2500 songs, and they’re not all what you might consider “folk classics.” For sure, folkies like Pete Seeger, Peter Paul & Mary and Woodie Guthrie are well represented. But you’ll also find Jason Mraz, Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran and Green Day. There’s even a whole chapter called “Millenial Songs.”

Working from common songbooks also makes it easy for anyone in the listening crowd to join in.

“If someone comes along and looks interested,” Wyble said, “I will hand them a book and say, ‘Here, pick one of these and we’ll do our best to play it with you. … I might not know the song, but if you can sing it and I’ve got the chords in front of me, I will play it for you.'” 

“That’s the kind of inclusivity that we’ve always tried to maintain here. Make it so that it’s a group environment. Because folk music by its definition is the music that the folk sing,” a description he attributes to Pete Seeger.  

The group was successful from the very beginning, drawing musicians from all over the area, including several Golden Link board members. The first session, held on January 7, 2017, attracted nine musicians, most of whom still attend regularly. Since then, the circle might have as few as four or five, whereas other weeks as many as a dozen musicians and their instruments have had to squeeze into the bakery corner.

The pandemic didn’t even slow them down too much.

Like everything else, the Webster Saturday Folk Jams took a big hit from COVID. The sessions moved to Zoom for several months when the pandemic began, then returned in-person for a few months over the summer until Delta and Omicron drove them back online.

In-person sessions have returned to the pub again, however. For two hours last Saturday, Barry’s Old School Irish was once again filled with folk harmonies, getting toes tapping and the pub singing.

Being part of the crowd was kind of like sitting around a campfire with good friends. And that’s exactly what the Webster Saturday Folk Jam is all about.

Click here to find out more about the Webster Saturday Folk Jam, or better yet, stop by Barry’s Old School Irish any Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. to see what it’s all about. Bring your voice, bring an instrument, or just bring your love of folk music. You’ll be welcome no matter what.

Barry’s is located at 2 West Main St. in the Village of Webster.

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Do you like your Guinness?

16 Feb

If you’re a fan of Ireland’s most popular pint, then you’re not going to want to miss this event.

The Great Guinness Toast returns to Barry’s Old School Irish pub this Saturday Feb. 19. Since it opened more than ten years ago, Barry’s has always been invited by Guinness to host this annual — worldwide — event by virtue of the fact that Barry’s sells more Guinness than any other pub or restaurant in the Greater Rochester area and beyond.

That’s right. Our little corner of Ireland in OUR little village is THAT authentic.

This is always one of Barry’s Old School Irish’s most popular events of the year, in part because there are always free Guinness pints handed out to anyone who wants one, free giveaways from the Guinness reps, and live music. And of course there’s Danny’s epic toast. Sláinte!

Basically, you don’t want to miss any of it.

Festivities for this year’s Great Guinness Toast (which is also known as “St. Practice Day” since it marks a month before St. Patrick’s Day) begin at 7 p.m. The pints on the house and official toast happen at 9:15 (ish…. we ARE talking Irish time, after all).

Never been to Barry’s? Here’s a taste from last Saturday’s traditional Irish session. It doesn’t get more Irish pub-like than this.

Barry’s Old School Irish is located at 2 West Main St. at the Village of Webster’s four corners.

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Who WAS that masked woman?

24 Jan

Despite how it might seem — given my peculiar habit of wading barefoot in the snow — I really don’t like winter or cold weather. I don’t like it when my nostrils freeze every time I take a breath. I don’t like having to baby-step down the frozen sidewalk so I don’t take a fall. And I really don’t like it when the wind is strong enough to freeze my wire-rimmed glasses to my face.

But I fancy myself a runner, and since running and walking are my main forms of exercise (especially when my bikes are hanging in the garage), hiding out on cold and snowy days is just not an option. So even on these sub-zero windchill days in January and February, you’ll find me out there, plodding along on one of my regular routes through the village.

You might have seen me. I’m that crazy person who looks like a terrorist.

Because, of course, surviving a run these days is really just a matter of preparation. That means layers, a neck and cheek warmer, knit hat and heavy gloves. (Add sunglasses on a bright day and the terrorist look is complete). Equipped thusly, even the coldest cold can be managed for the few miles I’m out there. Reflective gear and a pair of Yaktrax cleats for the bottom of my sneakers are also must-haves to safely navigate our slippery streets and sidewalks.

Of course, I’m far from the only crazy person who thinks winter running is fun, and most of those others run longer distances than I do. They include the members of my Barry’s Runners group, which meets every Tuesday evening at Barry’s Old School Irish in the village. Even in the coldest weather, the runs will attract a half dozen or more die-hards, and sometimes we’re the only people at the pub because no one else is crazy enough to come out.

The conversations over our post-run beers on these nights often turn to winter running shirts and jackets, traction gear, reflective equipment, and how many layers you should wear when it’s 5 degrees out.

So I’ll keep running, nostril-freezing cold or not. It’s my way of enduring the winter. And not for nothing, when I head out for a walk, running instead gets me home a lot faster.

(And P.S., new runners and walkers are always welcome to join Barry’s Runners!)

Thanks to my GoPro-finding friend DP Dunn for this blog idea. If you have any ideas to throw my way, email me at the address below!

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

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Music, friends and confetti mark Barry’s Old School Irish’s 10th anniversary

9 Nov

It was pretty busy Saturday night at Barry’s Old School Irish in the Village of Webster. But that was to be expected, as the little Irish pub was celebrating its 10th annivesary.

Hundreds of well-wishers streamed in and out throughout the evening, coming for the friendly atmosphere, great live music, good food and perfectly poured pints. Friends met up with friends, and strangers became new friends. And all evening, people were sharing their favorite Barry’s memories, from the time the horse came in the pub to when there was a fireplace in the corner — next to a couch.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from that evening (in no particular order).

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A photographic tour through Barry’s Old School Irish history

5 Nov

Barry’s Old School Irish is celebrating its 10th anniversary Saturday night.

There’s not much more I can say about this little Irish pub which I have not said before. How Barry’s has changed the face of Webster. How Barry’s has positively affected so many lives. How Danny and Jessica have become like family.

Several weeks ago I took my most recent stab at putting my feelings into words when I posted this preview of Saturday’s festivities. I have struggled since to come up a different way to note this remarkable occasion.

What I came up with is this photo retrospective from the last ten years. They begin with a shot of the unsightly bulding before Danny and Jessica purchased it, when the plumbing shop was still in business. There are photos from every anniversary (except #9, which didn’t really happen during the pandemic) and several special events, and concludes with the beautiful pub we have come to know and love.

Here are some thoughts from Danny and Jess, taken from the Facebook event page.

Jessica and I are excited to celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of Barry’s Old School Irish with everyone!

This little Irish Pub is special for so many reasons. A dream of ours to open after honeymooning in Ireland, which became a reality at 20 and 24 years old. We’ve brought 3 crazy kiddos into this world since the year we opened Barry’s- our kids have quickly gained MANY aunts and uncles from our community. We are so thankful to all those who call Barry’s home and are blessed to have made so many wonderful friends that have become family to us. We’ve shared a lot of lasting memories together in these 10 years, now let’s make a few more on November 6th during our Anniversary Party!

Here are some details, but you can find more information on the event page:

• 7 to 10 p.m.: live Irish Music by Sean & Sarah of Barry’s Crossing! They were our first ever musicians to play at the pub, and for a long time were the “house band.” They haven’t played together in a long time, and are reuniting for this performance.
• Irish Whiskey reps. in with samples & give-aways
• Irish Dancers in to perform
• Give-aways from Guinness, Proper 12, Magners, and more
• Bagpiper making an appearance

Barry’s Old School Irish is located at 2 West Main St., in the Village of Webster.

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Webster’s very own corner of Ireland is turning 10

18 Oct

Ten years ago this month, a brand new pub opened at the Village of Webster’s four corners.

On Oct. 9, 2011, Barry’s Old School Irish held its grand opening, complete with a ribbon cutting, Irish dancers, an Irish music jam session, and coffee and desserts served up for all who entered.

The celebration was very well attended. For months, village residents had watched with great interest as the former plumbing business transformed into what the sign in the front window called an “Irish pub and bakery.” This was their chance to finally check out the new place. What they found was a cozy “public house” with two young owners who welcomed everyone with genuine smiles and open hearts.

No one realized on that day what a tremendous effect Barry’s would have on the Village of Webster.

In the last ten years, Barry’s Old School Irish has become much more than just a pub. It’s become more like … Webster’s community living room, where families and friends meet for dinner and pints, birthday celebrations and engagement parties, gather to enjoy some real Irish tunes, or just find a quiet corner to have a cup of coffee and send some emails.

After honeymooning in Ireland, Danny and Jessica Barry dreamed of bringing small-town Ireland to small-town Webster. Anyone who’s been in a real Irish pub knows they’ve accomplished that. The dark woods. The walls crowded with photos and posters. Weekly traditional Irish music sessions. The kind of authentic atmosphere that attracts all of Rochester’s best Irish musicians.

Basically, Danny and Jessica Barry have turned their little corner of Webster into a little piece of Ireland. And along the way, they’ve created a place where everyone who walks in immediately becomes a part of the extended Barry’s family.

On Saturday Nov. 6, Danny and Jess will invite all those family members back to celebrate their little pub’s 10th anniversary, four (or more) hours of live Irish music, Irish dancers, free Irish whiskey and giveaways, a bagpiper, perfectly poured pints and more. More details and a complete schedule can be found at the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page.

This is not just a great party — although it most definitely is a GREAT party. This is also a chance for all of Webster to stop by and give a rousing thanks to Danny and Jessica Barry for everything their little pub has done for our village.

Barry’s Old School Irish is located at 2 West Main St. in the Village of Webster.

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An open letter to Danny and Jessica Barry

29 Aug

Dear Danny and Jess,

I wanted to send you this heartfelt congratulations and thank you for your wonderful Irish Festival yesterday.

Jack and I got there right when the gates opened to catch the early entertainment and right away were very impressed by what we saw. There were food vendors, the beer truck (of course), plenty of tables to sit at or hay bales to perch on, and lots more room to set up your chairs and blankets.

The entertainment line-up was packed with many of the pub’s most popular entertainers, and the Irish dance schools were a special treat.

I LOVED the kids’ lemonade stand (and Mom’s homemade cookies) and kids’ activity area. I didn’t try them out for myself, but I was tempted by the lawn games (giant Jenga, cornhole, and I even saw some hurling and Kan Jam in the back). And the vendors! So many of them with some really neat stuff. We were especially pleased to be able to reconnect with and support our old Irish Import Shop friends. (And I got some Christmas shopping done!)

Seeing old friends like that was one of the best things about the day. Of course all of the Barry’s regulars were there, but so were members of the Rochester Irish community whom we hadn’t seen in forever.

This day drew the Irish community together like no other I’ve seen in years. It had the comfortable, welcoming feel of the original Rochester Irish Festival back in the 1990s, and is something our community has needed for a long time. That was easy to see by scanning the crowd. Green t-shirts, dresses and leggings were clearly the uniform of the day as festival attendees proudly put their Irish heritage on display.

By the way, I don’t know how you did it, but you dialed up some ideal weather. Earlier in the week the weatherdudes said there was a possibility of thunderstorms, but clearly Irish eyes were smiling on you. Sure, the heat was a little oppressive when you were sitting out in the sun (can you work on that next year?) but all you had to do was keep moving your hay bale or quad chair a little more to the east to stay in the shade.

Thank you also to all the volunteers who helped set up, man the parking lot in stifling heat, provided security, checked guests in, handled concessions and managed a hundred other tasks. As far as I could see, there was nary a glitch in the planning.

Basically — and I steal this thought from a friend — the Barry’s Old School Irish Festival pretty much was Barry’s West for a day. All of the friends, community, good food, good drink and good music we have come to expect from Barry’s were there, just like we find every week at the pub … just more spread out.

I know that was the vibe you were going for. So basically, you nailed it.

It’s no coincidence that as we turned off of 260 and followed the line of cars past the corn fields to your farm, the first thing I thought of was that scene from Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come.”

Well, you did, they did, and it was definitely a dream come true.

Well done, my friends. We’re already looking forward to next year’s festival, and hope to become more involved, with an eye perhaps to turning it into a two-day event?

Love, Missy

Here are a few photos from the wonderful day (taken from the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page). Visit the page to see more.

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Barry’s Irish Festival just a week away

22 Aug

It’s almost time to get your Irish on at the Barry’s Old School Irish Festival, coming up next Saturday.

Danny and Jessica Barry — owners of Barry’s Old School Irish in the Village of Webster and two of my favorit-est people ever — have been working for months with a dedicated team of volunteers, pulling together a thousand little details in preparation for this second-annual event (if you don’t count last Covid year).

Organizing an Irish Festival was a dream of theirs since Danny and Jess opened their little pub 10 years ago. Just before their first festival in 2019, Jess told me (and I’m sure the sentiment hasn’t changed):

This has been a goal/dream of ours … having a fun-filled day celebrating our proud Irish heritage. A day where families can bond, kids can learn about Irish culture in an interactive setting, where friends can gather, where everyone can come away with new friends and make great memories together.

“Our most important goal,” she added, “is to take the warmth and love of our little Irish Pub on 2 West Main Street and bring it to our farm/our home for the day.” 

Barry’s Old School Irish Festival 2021 is scheduled for Saturday Aug. 28 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., on the Barry family farm out in Hilton, 2668 Brick Schoolhouse Rd., which they call the “Barry Patch.” Highlights include arts and crafts vendors, food and beer trucks, and live music all day long.

True to its family-friendly nature, there will also be a great kids’ area, with farm animals, something which Jess is really looking forward to.

Click here  for lots more details, but on Saturday you can expect:

  • entertainment from Kevin Reynolds, Himself, Dave North, Everheart, Celtic Cross, 1916 and a live Irish jam session
  • dancers from the Jamieson School of Irish Dance and the Young School of Irish Dance
  • food trucks and ice cream
  • an Irish beer truck, bottled beers and wine
  • kids’ activities
  • lawn games
  • Irish whiskey samples
  • giveaways and other specials

Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the gate (children 15 and under are free). Presale tickets can be purchased at the pub, 2 West Main Street in the Village of Webster. You can also purchase tickets online here. (Use the promo code “pints” for a special discount!)

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept. and the future Rochester Irish Community Center.

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News about pews from Barry’s Old School Irish

22 Apr
Jessica and Danny Barry standing by the new pews.

Our favorite Webster Irish pub has just become a lot more … Irish.

Tuesday afternoon, in about three hours’ time, Danny and Jessica Barry — and especially Jess’s mom Debbie — installed several new (or rather, old) actual church pews in Barry’s Old School Irish on Main St. in Webster.

They got the pews from the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship Church in Brockport. Danny told me they’ve been looking for pews for several years, and were thrilled to finally find some. As an added bonus, they came with green cushions already attached. They’ve been installed along the front window and back wall of the bakery side of the pub, and near the side door.

The inspiration to add pews, Danny said, came from a pub he and Jess visited on one of their trips to Ireland about eight years ago, only two years after opening their own pub.

“It was a great Irish Pub in Dingle, County Kerry, called Dick Mack’s,” Danny said.

This pub, which I believe was established back in the 1800’s, had the perfect combination of live Irish session music, a whiskey selection that showcased the entire Emerald Isle, and most importantly was filled with so many welcoming and smiling faces that you couldn’t help but feel at home.

(Sound anything like a little pub we have here in Webster?)

Danny and Jess in front of Dick Mack’s

The pews will increase the amount of seating at Barry’s, but more importantly, they help make Barry’s Old School Irish even more Irish, if that’s possible.

“(The pews) allow us to dig even deeper into our niche and showcase the love we all share for our Irish heritage which has been constant goal of ours since opening back in 2011,” Danny said.

Danny and Jess have several other goals this spring, including adding a fire pit on the patio, adding more kitchen equipment, updating their signage, looking for more ways to distribute their Vanilla Bean Irish Cream, resuming their live music, and planning for the 2nd annual Barry’s Irish Festival this summer.

It so happens that the first people in the pub Tuesday evening after the installation were several members of Barry’s Runners, who were gathering for their weekly run. As they were the first patrons to try out the new seating, I asked Barry’s Runner Charlene Sudore if they were comfortable.

“They’re pews. They’re not supposed to be comfortable,” she quipped. “They’re meant to keep you from falling asleep.”

True. But I think Barry’s patrons will find the new seats plenty comfortable, and I don’t expect there will be a whole lot of napping going on.

A final note from Danny:

We’re excited for all our new additions but as always it’s the people that fill these walls with love and laughter that are most important and make this place truly special. We can’t thank our community and our Pub Family enough for the support we’ve received these past 10 years and especially in the midst of the pandemic. It’s exciting to continue to grow here at Barry’s Old School Irish and can’t wait for all the great memories we’re sure to make together in the times ahead.

Several Barry’s Runners were the first to try out the new seating arrangement

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