Clintonville watering hole known for its generosity

Local musician Saul Bleaeck walks an extra half a block past another bar to get to Paddy Mac's Pub in Clintonville. He's loyal to the watering hole for many reasons: the welcoming staff and clientele, the large front window he gazes at during his “billiards therapy” and the two-sided rectangular bar that stretches down the middle of the room.

“Other local bars have dark corners and you're sectioned off,” Bleaeck said. “[Here], it's just like one melting pot.”

“It's a nice community bar,” said Anna Wernke, who took over as manager nearly a year and a half ago. “I'm so proud of the people that come in here.”

Wernke has seen the patrons come together to support different charities, including Dreams on Horseback, a nonprofit offering equine-assisted therapy programs for children and adults.

“In three hours, we raised $1,700 from our patrons for them,” Wernke said. “I wouldn't be able to do that if it wasn't for this place. … People are so giving.”

The bar's next fundraiser, taking place from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, will benefit the Alzheimer's Association.

In addition to charitable events, Paddy Mac's hosts open mic night and ceiling tile painting parties. And Wernke hopes to extend the festivities beyond the bar.

“In the summer we're going to plan a canoe trip,” she said. “[And] we're going to toy around with a golf outing.”

A Youngstown, Ohio, native, Wernke didn't originally plan to work in the bar industry. “I actually wanted to go to the University of Kentucky for equine management, but I came to Ohio State and majored in math,” she said. “And now I run a bar. … Here, you meet someone new every day.”

Under Wernke's management, Paddy Mac's will have a new name in the future.

“We will still have St. Patrick's Day,” Wernke said. “However, I'm Slovenian, one of the other owners is Slovenian and one's Polish. … We're going to come up with some ideas and let the customers vote on it.”

Patrons may notice some aesthetic changes — Wernke plans to repaint the walls — but the low prices and weekly drink specials will remain the same.

“We're just brightening it up, making it more updated,” she said.

And Wernke expects more joyous days ahead.

“I've gotten told by people, ‘You're just a bartender,'” Wernke said. “I am, but I'm also more than that. And your job does not define who you are. I'm happy, that's what defines who I am.”