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Pub opens in Medina after 8-year ‘labor of love’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Amy Cifelli, co-owner of Fitzgibbons Public House, is pictured in the pub this afternoon. She and her husband Kevin worked for eight years to create the space.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 January 2017 at 7:09 pm

Fitzgibbon’s Public House gets praise on opening day

The former Silver Dollar on Main Street was radically renovated to become Fitzgibbons Public House.

The former Silver Dollar on Main Street was radically renovated to become Fitzgibbons Public House.

MEDINA – The Medina community has eagerly awaited the opening of Fitzgibbons Public House. The site at 429 Main St., the former Silver Dollar, has been painstakingly created in a Celtic style.

This summer the facade on Main Street was done, but the pub wasn’t ready for customers – until today.

Fitzgibbons opened to the public after an 8-year renovation and construction effort.

“It’s beautiful,” said Angela Waldriff, owner of Ashlee’s Place. “I believe it will bring more people downtown.”

Amy and Kevin Cifelli worked for nearly a decade to create the place. When they bought the former Silver Dollar, the building was badly deteriorated.

They gutted and strengthened the building but didn’t want it to feel “new.” Mr. Cifelli, a software engineer, also is a woodworking artist and created the railings and other pieces that adorn the interior.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Mrs. Cifelli said this afternoon.

Tony McMurtrie is pictured in the mezzanine with a Erie Canal mural created by Stacey Kirby.

Tony McMurtrie is pictured in the mezzanine with a Erie Canal mural created by Stacey Kirby.

The Cifellis were bolstered by a partnership with Tony McMurtrie, owner and operator of The Pillars in Albion. McMurtrie joined the Cifellis in finishing the space and creating the Celtic menu with a range of beers – Guinness, four nitro taps, IPAs and many other varieties.

The Cifellis worked for years, grabbing time on weeknights and weekends. Mrs. Cifelli is a math teacher at GCC and St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Batavia.

Amy Cifelli pours a glass of beer. She said the pub offers a variety of beers in a comfortable atmosphere.

Amy Cifelli pours a glass of beer. She said the pub offers a variety of beers in a comfortable atmosphere.

The Cifellis wanted a place in Medina where people could enjoy a beer – and good conversation.

“This is comfortable and homey,” Mrs. Cifelli said. “We wanted a nice calm atmosphere.”

They also wanted to honor Medina history. The site used to be a pub run by John and Emma Fitzgibbons in 1905.

The new pub has a nautical theme with a large Erie Canal mural painted by Albion native Stacey Kirby. That mural over the bar facing a mezzanine includes a tugboat on the canal, at the spot by the Medina Waterfalls.

McMurtrie often threw lavish Titanic parties at The Pillars. He has many large photos displayed at Fitzgibbons of the famed ship that sank on April 14, 1912.

Mr. Cifelli created the archway inside the pub that looks like an archway from a ship, McMurtrie said.

There are numerous photos and souvenirs that add to the Celtic ambiance. McMurtie and Cifelli wanted each seat to offer a different experience with different photos and memorabilia.

“The walls tell a story,” McMurtrie said.

Amy Cifelli and Tony McMurtrie pause from the hustle of and bustle of opening day for a picture inside Fitzgibbons. "I'm so happy we teamed up," McMurtrie said. "It's a match made in heaven."

Amy Cifelli and Tony McMurtrie pause from the hustle of and bustle of opening day for a picture inside Fitzgibbons. “I’m so happy we teamed up,” McMurtrie said. “It’s a match made in Heaven.”

The pub also serves up a Celtic menu with fish and chips, steak and other entrees.

McMurtrie said Fitzgibbons caters to the “everyman,” just as a pub should.

“There are no reservations,” he said. “Any walk of life can come in here.”

Fitzgibbons is opening with 11 employees.

The Cifellis and McMurtrie also are planning on opening an outdoor space later this year in the façade facing the Canal Basin. Cifelli said she has heard from many boaters who would welcome the chance to grab a beer by the canal.

This design shows how the outdoor facade facing the Canal Basin will look later this year during the canal boating season.

This design shows the plan for the outdoor facade with a balcony facing the Canal Basin.

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