Mike the Pies helps to put Listowel at 'centre of universe'
A few days on from standing on the stage at the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) Headquarters in Dublin where he collected the 'Hot Press Live Venue of the Year 2018' award, Aidan O'Connor is still taking it all in.
It is one of the biggest awards that his bar, 'Mike the Pies' has won to date and it is one that he said he never expected to win.
"I was sitting there and they came to the overall award of the night and I was wondering to myself about who would win it. There was no way in the world I was thinking that we were even in the running," said Aidan.
"They said that they were about to invite a man up on stage who is trying to make Listowel the centre of the universe," he laughed. "I was absolutely gob-smacked standing up there collecting the award. It was totally, totally surreal. In no way in the world did I expect to win," he continued.
Aidan and his team have gone from strength to strength in recent years having received a special Hot Press Commendation Award back in 2017 while in 2018 the bar was again nominated for the IMRO Munster Live Music Venue of the year, which they ultimately did not win but did go onto win the IMRO Overall Best Live Music Venue instead. Now as award season in Hollywood winds down for another year, Aidan is back home in Listowel with another award to place outside the front door of the bar. As to why he thinks his bar was chosen ahead of so many competitors - Aidan had a few ideas.
"It's the intimate atmosphere, the sound is incredible, the closeness to the band, there's a great listening crowd and they appreciate the music. We try to restrict any talking while the songs are on," he said.
"What started off as a very local thing, we now have people travelling from Clare, Cork, Limerick and places all over Kerry. Another aspect of his gigs which Aidan likes to reward is loyalty which he rewards with tickets to the bigger shows for the people who attend the most concerts over the year.
With acts like Ryan Sheridan and Brian Deady coming up over the next few weeks - which are now both sold out - and up and coming bands such Cry Monster Cry, Richie Ramone and Susan O'Neill (SON) coming up in 2019, you wouldn't bet against another award win in 2020.