Traverse City News and Events

The Ticker's Ode to TC's Irish Ancestry

March 16, 2012

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Ticker offers up three great reasons to raise a green beer this weekend:

The Ticker toasts: Bun Brady, TC’s St. Pat’s-Party Founder
In the early 1940s, Bernard “Bun” Brady opened Bun Brady’s bar on the ground floor of what had been the Union Hotel, a longstanding rooming house on Union Street.

“He was quite an Irishman, I can tell you,” says nephew Pat Brady. “He was the first one to really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Traverse City. I’m sure other establishments might have recognized it, but he really took it to the next step. He would bring in live musicians, and I believe he was the first to do green beer here.”

Lester Cole, father of current owner, Pat Cole, changed the establishment’s name to Brady’s Bar when he bought it from Bun in the 70s, but the Irish vibe is still intact; Brady’s is always a stop on TC’s annual pub crawl.

The Ticker toasts: The founders of TC’s St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl
The original Ancient Order of Hibernians traces back to Ireland, 1564, when a secret society formed to protect Catholic priests from persecution; the local sect – appropriately named the Bernard “Bun” Brady Division – launched 33 years ago under the leadership of John Connolly, then superintendent of Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools.

By decree of the Irish Queens – a local Irish women’s group – the handful of TC Hibernians helped organize the Queens’ annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

But it wasn’t long before the Hibernians launched a parade of their own: the annual St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl. Mike Shirley, one of the first local Hibernians and the man the Queens crowned the “Irish Lord Mayor of Traverse City” in 1978, tells The Ticker that the group recently turned over the crawl to the local bars so it could focus on its charitable works. Over the years, the Hibernians have raised more than $1 million for the Father Fred Foundation. Still, says Shirley, one Hibernian tradition hasn’t changed: “We still drink good old Irish whiskey – nothing green for us.”

The Ticker toasts: The Irishman and the Jew
In 1896, Louis Glazer, a Latvian Jew, started a dry goods and clothing store in Kalkaska. The store boomed alongside the area lumber camps, necessitating the hiring of, among other clerks, one David H. Netzorg, an enterprising young Jewish man from Prem, Russian Poland.

Netzorg learned the ropes of the business from Glazer, then in 1907 teamed up with Irishman Frank E. Joy to start a competing store. The pair named their clothing store The Irishman and the Jew, and boldly set up shop right next door to Glazer’s. One year later, both stores burned in Kalkaska’s great fire, but The Irishman and the Jew rebuilt and prospered – so well, in fact, that in 1917 they moved to TC and opened a second store by the same name.

Although the fate of their two stores – and Irishman Frank Joy – couldn’t be verified, Netzorg lived in TC until his death in 2006 at age 84.

Special thanks to the History Center of Traverse City for the photo of The Irishman and the Jew shop in TC; and to Pat Brady for supplying us one of Uncle Bun's old liquor licenses.

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