The Look from Behind the Bar

Posted on
Brent Oliver

New Lynagh’s general manager talks subtle change to the venerable pub

Kate Heiple, a long-time bartender at Lynagh’s, was promoted to general manager in October. PHOTO BY ROBBIE CLARK

Sitting down with Kate Heiple, the new general manager and longtime bartender at Lynagh’s Irish Pub, it looks like the same, comfortable Lynagh’s that has been a Lexington staple for over three decades. There have been positive changes though, and more are on the way.

Heiple, who has been behind the bar at Lynagh’s for six years, was promoted to general manager in October. The bar had been without a GM for two years, a situation Heiple maintains wasn’t a problem at first due to self-sufficient employees. “Most bartenders had been here forever,” she says. “We knew how the bar worked; we were capable of running it without a lot of supervision. I think it was just easier for the owners to let us do our thing.”

The bar changed hands four years ago when the original owners, John and Gina Lynaugh, sold it to Poor Boys Holdings, a local group of friends and associates who own a handful of other bars in town. According to Heiple, the bosses took notice when things weren’t running as smoothly as they’d like. “Things weren’t getting done as far as communicating with each other,” she said, “between employees and between employees and owners.”

As a remedy, the owners moved Heiple into the long-vacant GM spot. Her new duties include maintaining and ordering inventory, supervising the kitchen and bar, and handling all hiring and firing. This in addition to continuing to work as bartender.

“I’ll probably be here four or five days and nights as manager, plus three bar shifts,” Heiple said. “It’s about 60 hours a week.” Ultimately, she’s hoping to phase out some bar shifts as she acquires new employees and attracts more business. “Once I’m able to hire some people and drive the numbers up, I plan on bartending less. I’ll still be here, but just as manager.”

Considering the drastic increase in hours and responsibilities, it might be hard to imagine why Heiple would be interested in the new position, but loyalty goes a long way.

“I’ve been coming here forever,” she said. “This is one of the first bars I ever hung out in. … I love this place. I want to see it do well.”

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