Sean Mangan has picked up many skills over the years but one talent he prides above most is his ability to pour a perfect pint of Guinness.
“I did go to St James’s Gate and learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness,” said Mangan. “I have my certificate on the wall right next to my business school diploma so, I am pretty proud of it.”
He and his wife Whitney recently bought Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub on Edinburgh Road. He is eager to master the taps and do his part to promote the local pub scene in Guelph.
“I think it is good for the community to have a healthy relationship between businesses,” said Mangan. “I refer to it as “coop-i-tition” and we are thinking of different ways to interact with our customers and other restaurants.”
He believes a little healthy competition between other local pubs is good for business.
“The staff would love to do a little pour off – a pouring contest,” he said. “Like I said, we will compete in the perfect pour and I am going to win that. I plan on bringing the A game every time so we will see.”
Mangan comes by his pub pedigree honestly and can trace his ancestry many generations back in Ireland.
“My middle name is Jamieson,” he said. “I don’t know what we were drinking but we got a theme going. It’s nobody’s surprise that I am here.”
His parents Dan and Georgina Mangan moved to Guelph from Northern Ontario in the late ‘70s.
“My parents met in high school in Iroquois Falls up in the Timmins area,” he said. “My mom came down to the University of Guelph and my father followed her.”
Mangan and his brother Padrick were born in Guelph and spent their childhoods in their first family home on Janefield Avenue.
“My grandparents, from up north in Matheson, wanted to be closer to our young family and moved into that house after us,” he said. “We had that family home for a long time.”
Mangan followed the traditional career route and went to business school but he didn’t want to take everything too seriously.
“I learned the most business from the time I did the Humber comedy-writing and performance program in my early 20s,” he said. ”I got into this industry because I needed some extra bucks and was doing Yuk Yuks in front of 200 people. That experience gave me an opportunity to talk to people and that turned into an ability to become a manager.”
He got his early start in the restaurant business working for Jerry and Sue Auger at East Side Mario’s.
“I moved from here and spent some time in Toronto with Moxie’s,” he said. “We were by the airport – one of the busiest locations in Canada. It was attached to a hotel with three banquet rooms. Unless you go to school for hotel management that was a rare experience and I learned a great deal.”
It was during that time that he and Whitney were married and he was getting tired of the daily commute.
He took a job closer to home as general manager at Turtle Jack’s in Kitchener and began looking for opportunities to open his own restaurant.
“Bingemans’ had somehow heard about me and said they wanted to open this restaurant called Taste at the Tannery,” said Mangan. “They wanted me to create it from scratch.”
He spent a couple years there before he reconnected with his old bosses Jerry and Sue Auger and learned about their plans to sell Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub.
“My wife and I thought what an amazing opportunity to take over from people who you know and respect,” said Mangan. “It takes away a lot of the unknown factor.”
They inked a deal and reopened the pub under new ownership on April 1.
“Anyone who knows me knows this has been my goal for a long time – to own my own place.,” said Mangan. “It has been a long time since I have been right here in Guelph and it’s great to be home. We have a daughter coming in mid-July so my wife and I know what we are fighting for. 2019 is going to be a big year one way or another.”