TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN STORIES give you an insight into many of the local businesses and characters you will find when you Escape to Tamborine Mountain.
NO IRISH GOODBYE – BAILEY’S IRISH BAR AND RESTAURANT
Clancy’s Irish Bar and Restaurant needs no introduction to the Tamborine Mountain community, especially not frequent readers of this page who will know we’ve covered it before. For many years it was a local icon, a gathering point for residents and must-see for tourists, until closing its doors in 2021. However, this is no occasion to pour one out: this heart of the community beats once more under a new name and new management. Tina Bailey and her family, of what is now Bailey’s Irish Bar and Restaurant, have brought new life to the business, preserving the flavour that makes this pub so adored while serving up some fresh new ideas to the delight of mountain locals. How? Read on to find out.
by Kyle Hitchmough
What drove you to want to take over Clancy’s?
We have always loved this venue, the establishment, the corner, the history that went along with it. We knew how important it has always been for the mountain, and we just had one of those instinctual falling in love moments. We had a lot of discussion over whether we should run with Clancy’s or something completely different. We asked the market, received a lot of response and, after several weeks of interest, we came to the conclusion that the most honourable and respectful thing to do was to continue on with same-same but different. We could have leased the place out commercially but we don’t feel that would have been a fair representation of what the mountain wanted. Now we’re doing 18-hour days and thinking “We should have done this sooner!” We officially opened our doors on the 11th of May.
How did you navigate the change?
We had numerous discussions with Natalie the previous owner and her children, we were very careful to be respectful of the history. We received full blessing from their beautifully supportive and incredible family to go ahead with Bailey’s. It’s our surname, it’s the Irish heritage, we wanted to keep the same-same but different. We really wanted the mountain to embrace us as the homely, hearty and happy place they know and love. We’ll never be the amazing Grealish family, we’re the Baileys, so we also bring with us our own management team, who are delivering the food and staffing. We had to make sure there were similarities but at the same time, not hide the fact that we’re putting our own spin on it.
What changes have you made to the business?
Well, obviously, us! The Bailey family– my husband Nathan and our children Oscar, 18, Oliver, 16, Orlando, 15, and I. We’ve made some changes to the menu because we need to respect our chefs and allow them to put their own slant on things. We’ve made some changes physically, darkened the timber and repanelled the ceilings. We feel that we’ve honoured the previous owner and the musicians with the musician’s corner by restoring a harp that’s lit up there. That’s quite symbolic from our perspective. We have our own incredibly talented local Irish musician Mark O’Duinin who we have moved to a new area with a spotlight.
Can you tell us more about the changes made to the menu?
It’s still very much Irish, and we’ve allowed our chefs to add their own specialties. One of the many new items that we have are crubeens, which is a smoked pork knuckle. We still have baked soda bread, the beef and Guinness pie and stews… Another interesting new addition is an Irish chicken parmi. The desserts are different too, sticky date pudding, crème brûlées, banoffee pies… I occasionally bust out my fairy floss machine and give the kids (young and old!) some free fairy floss.
What’s your most popular dish?
Quite a few dishes have people coming back and ordering them again and again, one of them being the seafood chowder. The Irish chicken parmi is also a showstopping piece.
You also work with local artists to display their pieces here, correct?
We are very much mindful of what the mountain wants, and part of that is wanting to support locals. We have local artists displaying their works like Dennis, who has these wonderful Irish-inspired paintings.
What goes into the average day here for you?
18 hours! We’re all surviving on a few hours of sleep and 110% adrenaline at the moment. Everything goes into it. From ordering to prep to cleaning… everything!
Have you noticed any particular trends in your clientele? What reception have you received after the change?
We’ve got the young families with their tiny little munchkins coming in and enjoying the same space as the regulars who have been frequenting the place for the last 20 years and are coming in with tears in their eyes that it’s still so much the same. They’re touched. There are a lot of happy tears that are shed when people come in here, a lot of embraces, and that makes everything so worthwhile. We were a little bit nervous with how we would be perceived, so the amount of support and love we’ve received is overwhelming. They cry, I cry, there’s a lot of emotion involved! It’s beautiful. We can really feel the heart and soul of the community and how important it was and is that we are open again.
What has been the biggest challenge in trying to move forward with such a legacy?
From our perspective it was whether or not we would be accepted and embraced. I think I’ve gone on the record in saying that we are humbled by the love and support that we’ve received.
Are you a local? What’s your opinion on the Tamborine Mountain area and the community?
Yes we are! We’ve been involved with the mountain for over 12 years. We have another venue that we lease, and we also live on the side as well. Words cannot describe the amount of support and love here. There’s been considerable unimaginable heartache involved in recent times to which the community has provided unimaginable support. There’s been an outpouring of selflessness from the mountain, even from other establishments. It’s genuine, honest and raw.
What’s your favourite thing to do on the mountain?
I think the moment you drive up the hill, it just hits you. You’re so close to the hustle and bustle of suburbia and the Gold Coast, but you just feel like you’re miles away. All the worries and cares of the world just seem to melt away the higher up you go and the closer you get to here. It’s like a holiday each day.
What do you think this business, both previously and under your management, provides to the area?
Hopefully a continued heart and soul. We heard many stories from the customers, and even when we were working on the building we’ve had people stop by and share their own stories and memories of what it used to be like. It’s the heart and soul of the community, where the young and old can come and listen to the same beautiful music, share the same food, and sit side by side— dogs included!— and just enjoy it together.
What do you enjoy most about doing this?
Everything! From greeting people, seeing their smiles, hearing their feedback and their stories of once-upon-a-time. I’m just loving the reactions, how it all makes people feel when they walk in here.
Bailey’s Irish Bar and Restaurant 2 MAIN ST, TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN, QLD 4272
Tamborine Mountain has everything you need to create an awesome experience!!