The Irishman came off the boat when he was 17 looking for work. He landed in Philadelphia. He stumbled into a local bar called The Domino Lounge. He went up to the bar, and asked if there was any work there. The owner asked Frank “What Can You Do” and honestly Frank said “I know how to make people smile”. The barman said “show up tomorrow at 9:00 and I’ll show you how to bar tend”.
So my father Frank had his first start behind the bar. He knew how to make people feel welcome, comfortable and happy and that is 90% of a barman’s job. Frank eventually he saved his tips and ended up buying the bar. It started to become a typical “Cheers” bar and a big part of it was Frank Brittingham.
He knew he wanted to expand and have more and more restaurants so the money he started to earn was reinvested into his next Irish Pub, Brittingham’s Irish Pub in Philadelphia. Frank’s vision was to bring Irish music and the perfect pint of Guinness and the best Irish cuisine in the Delaware valley and he was successful. In the 70’s and early 80’s Frank owned the most famous Irish pub in the New England area.
He brought traditional Irish music directly from Ireland, such as The New Barleycorn, Mary Black, Francis Black, Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers and Paddy Riley, and I think that says it all. If you know anything about Irish music, that’s a resume to remember.
In the early 90’s my father had four pubs, The Domino Lounge, The Dubliner, Brittingham’s Irish Pub, Katie O’Shay’s. Frank came down to the Caribbean in the mid 90’s and landed in St. Thomas and looked around and he said “This is the same Ireland, different Island” and decided to sell all of his bars in Philadelphia and within months time and moved to St. Thomas and opened what is today, Molly Molone’s Irish Dockside Pub. How many Irishmen have a pub in the Caribbean on the dock?
Frank’s vision again grew and he brought his trusty sandwich, the Philly Cheese Steak down to the Caribbean, along with his knowledge of Irish music, and has remained in St. Thomas for the past 20 successful years. Like a true Irishman, his vision did not stop. In the early 2000’s my father landed in the Dominican Republic, and stumbled upon Cabarete’s beautiful beach. Frank said out-loud to the Englishman “This place needs an Irish Pub called Jose O’Shay’s” and the Englishman said “It can never be done”.
Frank, Frankie and myself have been here ever since. So, when you come to visit Jose O’Shay’s ask for Frank, Frankie or Michael (that’s me) they’ll be waiting to welcome you to Cabarete while you drink your first pint or eat your first Fish & Chip, or maybe just enjoy a shot of Whiskey. So I leave you with this, its not an American story, its an Irish one – Michael