The Iron Horse Pub owners reflect on 19 years of beer, live music, friendships

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—19 years ago, two men from different parts of the world developed a friendship, and founded a business, in downtown Wichita Falls.

The Iron Horse Pub co-owners Danny Ahern and John Dickinson met at what used to be The Beer Garden.

After its closing, the two decided to take it into their own hands, opening The Iron Horse Pub in 2000.

A downtown staple for live music, beer, and friendships.

“It’s a genuine Irish, American pub, I mean you’ve got an Irish guy, you’ve got an American guy and we put a dream together,” The Iron Horse Pub co-owner Danny Ahern said.

A dream that’s become a reality for the owners over 19 years of business.

“It’s become a place I really come by every day and see all the customers and they’re our friends and they’ve been friends for years so it’s kind of a home away from home,” The Iron Horse Pub co-owner John Dickinson said.

A place recognized statewide as one of the 10 best live music venues.

“We always believed from day one that we want to be a true live music venue so what that means is music every single weekend,” Ahern said.

As with anything in life, there have been hard times.

“Unfortunately we got hit with that 2008 financial crash and slowed everything down, then we got hit with the drought, but after all that, we were still standing so then we knew that was a test of what we were doing,” Ahern said.

The pub has survived the test of time.

“I don’t see an end to it right now so I can’t really say how many more years but I’m up for it,” Dickinson said.

“Yeah, I think the Iron Horse itself, it’s on her now, it’s kinda bigger than he or I so we hope that it’s going for a long time to come,” Ahern said.

But it’s not their only responsibility. Ahern works for an insurance company, while Dickinson is a contractor who even built some of the pub’s seating.

“We didn’t see any value in quitting our jobs because we wanted to make sure that this place survived,” Dickinson said.

“Yeah and I think being a migrant, being an immigrant, our drive is a bit different because I don’t wanna move 5,000 miles away from home and just be a 9 to 5 guy so I had to do everything, I tell people the American dream, work 3 or 4 different jobs,” Ahern said. He’s (Dickinson) the exact same way, we work hard and we play hard and we enjoy it.”

Hard work, paying off for 19 years, with no signs of slowing down.

Ahern and Dickinson said they’re so appreciative of their staff, customers, beer distributors, and other downtown businesses.

The pub is hosting a celebration Monday and Friday at 4:30, inviting everyone to come reminisce on the past 19 years.

Find details here.

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