Connolly’s Grill is a Straight Party
Owner Brian Cavender genuinely loves his work
By Catherine Hathaway
Connolly’s Grill is the place to party, says owner Brian Cavender. The excitement about the bar and all the events they host is unsurpassed. Cavender really loves his business.
Connolly’s sat at 54th and Northern avenue for five years, until a space in 85085 opened a little closer to Cavender’s home. He jumped at the opportunity.
“We are family owned and operated,” Cavender says. “Doing it on your own is a different animal. I’ve been doing it for 15-plus years.”
Cavender is a longtime restaurateur, who kicked off his career at Bobby McGee’s. The 20-year DJ decided he wanted to open a spot the whole community could enjoy—that they do.
“We’re giving them a place to cut loose and have a good time,” Cavender says. “As long as you’re a good person we love you.”
The 4,000-square-foot business is a hot spot for dining, nightlife and casual drinks. There is no one type of clientele.
“We get everything from bikers to businessmen to cowboys,” Cavender says. “When you get out here you get a little bit more of everything.”
Connolly’s is particularly proud of its range of events. They have theme parties every month, DJs and live music occasionally.
“We are the premier sports event in the area,” Cavender says. “For UFC we are the only place people go. We are the hotspot. You want to go out and have fun, you come to Connolly’s.”
Connolly’s is particularly proud of its St. Patrick’s Day party. Last year’s event had over 2,000 people in attendance, according to Cavender.
“We do a lot of stuff,” Cavender says. “We are one of the top three St. Patty’s Day events in the Valley. We do bike events. We are one of the few businesses who do a little bit of everything.”
As an Irish bar and grill, Connolly’s knows a thing or two about St. Patrick’s Day. Cavender is also proud of its food. Clever offerings include Leprechaun Balls, homemade mini cordon bleu balls ($10); Irish nachos with fries, Swiss sauce, chopped corned beef and onions ($13); corned beef and cabbage ($15); bangers and mash, grilled Irish sausage, caramelized onions and gravy ($13); and traditional bar fare.
“People always rave about our food,” he says. “People love to eat at Connolly’s. It’s like that’s where people go.”
Cavender’s two daughters Courtney and Carley work alongside him at the business. He wants Connolly’s to genuinely connect with the community and he gives back whenever he can. He offers free buffets on Christmas Eve and supports the local football team.
“We did different fundraisers,” Cavender says. “We did the football kickoff party. It’s a giant fundraiser for the school. All the parents come and the kids come.”
Cavender is a longtime member of the community and genuinely wants to know his patrons and community members. He says he staff and community make Connolly’s enjoyable.
“We have great people here. The bartender working now has been here since day one,” Cavender says. “I want to build a relationship with you. I feel like that is important.”