Driving along Pacific Avenue in North Stockton, you will come across an Irish pub and restaurant that many locals know called Finnegan’s. With a full bar serving up a variety of libations, 24 rotating beer taps, good food, and a friendly staff the doors at ‘Finn’s’ are open all year long. Although owner Tony Mannor has seen changes throughout the years within the bar scene and nightlife, they pride themselves on continuing to offer a safe, fun place for people to hang out.
Finnegan’s is not a family name but Mannor is of Irish and Scottish descent and as you walk into Finn’s, as some of the locals call it, you may notice the Irish décor and the extensive Irish whiskey selection. The specials are prominently featured on a decorative board, there’s a huge television, tables at which to sit and eat, pub tables, and an area with pool tables.
“We are trying to stay relevant and I think our biggest claim to fame is that we put the safety of our patrons over everything else,” said Mannor. “We have more security staff than anyone else. My door staff wears body cameras. We have cameras all over the property to keep an eye on folks and ensure as much as we can that people are safe.”
They have trivia night on Mondays, karaoke on Tuesdays and Sundays, open mic comedy night on Wednesdays, college night on Thursday, and dancing with a DJ spinning on the weekend. For Valentine’s Day look for a small dessert menu, specialty cocktails and a DJ to do some after dinner dancing. The party to attend in San Joaquin County will be held at Finn’s on St. Patrick’s Day, which is their biggest party of the year, even if it is on a Tuesday in 2020. Fencing will be put up outside with a large portion of the parking lot taken over for the party that will host around 1000 people. They will have giveaways including beads and hats as well as a beer wagon outside and food options all night long. They will have an area for taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts so that people can drink responsibly and arrive home safely.
“We are the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in San Joaquin County,” added Mannor. “No one has been able to compete as far as that goes. We are also the safest party in San Joaquin County for St. Patrick’s Day. Rarely do we have a fight or anything like that.”
Bartender Ashlee Bradbury has heard some crazy stories in her 13 years behind the bar. The people that she has met and the relationships she has built through the years are her favorite part of bartending. The bartenders at Finn’s have the flexibility to create unique drinks for their customers.
“I am really good with people and I like learning different things about people and interacting with them all day,” Bradbury said about bartending. “I like the banter back and forth seeing people with all the different stories. I have learned a lot about Stockton. I am learning something new every day. I have just met some really great people.”
The self-proclaimed liquid therapist has regulars that enjoy the beer selection including the regular Coors Light, Bud Light, 805, an Irish bar must-have Guinness, but also some not so usual options like the Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, which is a premier stout that is a bit lighter and creamier than your typical stout. Recently they created a peanut butter and jelly old-fashioned that Bradbury insists tastes just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is made with the fairly new to the whiskey scene Skrewball Whiskey, which is a peanut butter whiskey and Jack Daniels Rye Whiskey. Another customer favorite at Finn’s is the Irish mule which is made with Jameson Whiskey and Ginger beer in typical Mule fashion. The shots of Jameson and the pickle backs are another staple at the pub, as well as their very own signature shot called Hooligans. The house made secret recipe is not only green but also just $2 everyday.
“Our staff is great,” expressed Bradbury. “We always have a good time here. Karaoke is pretty popular. We actually have really good singers that come here. People come here to dance too. If you are like me you dance anywhere but we do have a dance floor. Our drinks are really good and reasonably priced. Come in and meet some new friends.”
Finnegan’s has been in business since 2008 but has moved locations over the years; it has been on Pacific Avenue for the past seven years. With their involvement in the community it was important for them to expand their business from just a bar to include a restaurant as well. They serve lunch and dinner seven days a week with a variety of options like Irish Nachos, Boxty Bites, Shamrock Dip, salads, burgers, sandwiches, wings, and baskets. What to try? Bradbury and Mannor suggest the Irish fish tacos or the corned beef tacos, which they both said are delicious.
“The idea behind the pub is that it is a public space where people can come together,” said Mannor. “There is no pretention to it. We have folks that come in with their laptops and they are doing their homework while eating garlic fries and drinking a soda. We have folks that come in and play chess. It is supposed to be a community place to be. That is what we try to foster. Everyone is welcome.”