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by Hillary Koerner, student writer

“An Irish pub with New York pizza from two guys in Chinatown”: that’s J.J. Dolan’s slogan. The Bethel Street restaurant opened in November, just a block from HPU’s Fort Street campus, and serves reasonably priced pizza and beer.
Danny Dolan and John Joseph Niebuhr, also known as “Jay,” have a lot of experience in the food and beverage industry. Dolan put himself through college bartending and managing Anna Banana’s and then managed O’Toole’s Irish Pub. Niebuhr made pizzas at Murphy’s Bar and Grill for 10 years before they decided to open J.J. Dolan’s up the street from their old jobs.
“ I quit O’Toole’s, and we have been working on this,” Dolan said. “A lot of friends, a lot of family, business people, brokers, bankers, contractors, construction workers, and consultants helped us put this together,” he added. “We’ve been very fortunate.”
Despite the poor economy forcing surrounding stores out of business, J.J. Dolan’s is doing remarkably well, Dolan explained. “It has been hectic, crazy, and nerve wracking,” he said. “We have everything invested in it.”
Dolan and Niebuhr renovated the space that used to house the clothing store, Bad Sushi, about three doors down Bethel Street from Chaplain’s Lane. “We both bring a little something,” Dolan explained. “Jay knows the kitchen, and I know the bar. It’s a balanced partnership,” and, he added, “pizza and beer makes them different. [Pizza] is not common downtown as it is in other places on every corner.”
The restaurant is outfitted with dark hardwood floors, warm lighting, dark finished tables and chairs, and a long koa wood bar adorned with brass that runs from the entrance to the back of the pub.
“ The bar is koa and it’s beautifully done,” Dolan said, adding that it was made in the 1920s or ‘30s, Dolan added, and “it was here when we got the place.”
The wood table tops, the base of the bar, and the frames around the mirrors were all made from old wooden University of Hawai‘i bleachers. The chairs were purchased from an ice cream shop; the brass footrest that runs on the bottom of the bar was found in a local basement, and the kitchen equipment came from a friend.
“ Nothing in here is new, except for the televisions,” said Dolan.
J.J. Dolan’s customers come from a wide spectrum, from bankers to carpenters to students. “They are a mix of the downtown people. Basically everyone likes pizza.”
“ Thursday’s and Friday’s have been the busiest nights,” Dolan said, adding that business has been fairly consistent everyday which is a good thing. “First Friday is the busiest time, but Happy Hour, dinner time, and lunches do very well,” Dolan added.
J.J. Dolan’s offers pizza by the slice for $2.50 and 14-inch whole pizzas from $15 to $17.
“ We make our own bread and everything we buy is fresh and local,” said Dolan. “My favorite is the cheese pizza, but they are all good,” Dolan continued. “The Giacomo pizza is the most popular, with pepperoni, sausage, salami and olives.”
The restaurant also has 12 beers on tap, a full bar, two big-screen televisions, and a 35-bottle wine list. “My best friend is a sommelier,” Dolan said. “We have an excellent selection of wine to go with pizza. The beer runs $4.50 to $5 and wine runs from $6 to $10 per glass.
“ We wanted to offer downtown a reasonable price with good food and a nice atmosphere,” said Dolan.


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