Not sure if you knew this, but an official leprechaun lives in Downtown Nashua.
Matt Casey resides a five-minute walk from the culmination of his 25-year dream: His own Irish pub.
Casey, 42, originally of Billerica, Mass., is the owner of Casey Magee’s Irish Pub, at 8 Temple Street in Downtown Nashua, which opened in June of 2020. Despite the confines of the pandemic, Casey and his staff have managed to stay open and build a base of loyal customers; the business even managed to win fourth place for the entire state, in the Best Irish Pub category in 2021 (with their friends and fellow Downtown Nashua staple The Peddler’s Daughter in fifth), in the WMUR viewer’s poll.
Casey Magees offers classic American favorites and Irish-flair dishes like boxty and Guinness beef stew, plus burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps, salads and more.
If you’re dining in, the pub offers a huge variety of beers and cocktails, and an impressive (and growing) selection of whiskey. There’s also a Sunday brunch from 11 am–3 pm that features specialty Bloody Marys and mimosas, Casey’s Irish Breakfast, cinnamon French Toast, and more. Soon, they will feature a solo acoustic act early Sunday afternoons as well.
Inside Casey Magees there are pool tables, 15 TVs, a touch tunes jukebox, football nights and other special daily events. The restaurant is two stories, and Casey is in talks to create an additional outdoor dining deck space as well.
SHOWN: Casey Magee’s Irish Pub, at 8 Temple St., Downtown Nashua. Also shown, their hefty signature Fatty Magee burger – 10 oz. of fresh ground Angus beef, two bacon strips, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion; served with onion ring stack and signature sauce on the side. Comes with choice of side.
ABOVE: Shown is Matt Casey, owner of Casey Magee’s Irish Pub in Downtown Nashua. Also, customers are shown enjoying the outdoor dining space at the pub at 8 Temple Street.
A lifelong ambition
Matt Casey has been in the restaurant industry his whole life, beginning, as many do, as a dishwasher. From there, he held all available positions, rounding out his interest and experience by holding down positions at the front of house, manager, barback, and bartender.
Casey attended respected culinary school Johnson & Wales for his hospitality degree, and then spent time as a bartender at Las Vegas hotel Mandalay Bay. He then made his way to San Diego, where he ran a nightclub in the La Jolla neighborhood there.
But it was the next move that really jump-started his career focus around Irish pubs. “I moved to Ireland in the summer of 2010, where I owned and ran a pub crawl for backpackers,” he said. “I was between jobs, so I went to Ireland. While there, I discovered there were pub crawls in Dublin and Cork, but Killarney didn’t have one. So I cancelled the rest of my trip and negotiated with three pubs there to do my own crawl for about four months.” After a bit more time in San Diego, he moved back to the east coast in 2013 and really focused on the hunt for his own restaurant.
“Nashua was always my number one choice of location,” he said. “That was because of the people, culture, history… It’s also within striking distance of my hometown in Billerica.”
After a lifetime of planning to own his own place, why did Matt Casey add “Magee” to the name? “I read an article that if you have a generic name like Casey’s Pub, it (can get) convoluted,” he explained. “I’d lived in Ireland for awhile, and Magee was a popular name there. So I put the two Irish names together. It just kind of went together.”
Surprisingly, opening in the middle of COVID-19 didn’t affect his plans too negatively, Casey said. “I signed the lease in January 2020, then worked for six months straight, no days off,” he said. “Once we were about 80% ready, we just opened, a soft opening. I’ve had the same three full-time people – our chef, bartender and server – since we opened, plus the rest of our hard working staff. I’m so grateful for them.” Casey also extends his gratitude at being “fortunate to have a very loyal bunch of regulars to get us through the pandemic, as well as the support of the City of Nashua, the Nashua Police Department, and the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.”
Looking toward the near future, Casey said the pub will offer open mic, karaoke and bands beginning in April or May. He’s also excited about expanding his whiskey offerings. “Come spring, we’re rolling out impressive and extensive Irish whiskey varieties, the most in the state of New Hampshire – double the number two pub,” he said. “The wow factor will be our top end, which is a $500 bottle.”
And that leprechaun part?
“I’ve marched as a parade leprechaun in Providence, Rhode Island, Las Vegas, and San Diego,” Casey said. “I was the official leprechaun in Boston from 2017–2019. I contacted the Manchester parade folks and we made a deal that I was named the official NH leprechaun.”
Eventually, that is. With the pandemic cancelling last year and this year’s parades, Casey will hopefully strut his stuff in next year’s event. Until then, you can stop by his Casey Magee’s Irish Pub – that’s him in the logo! – and perhaps he’ll share a tale or two.