It’s a typical Friday night at Barry’s Old School Pub and Bakery in the village of Webster. The dinner crowd has left, and the pub’s bakery and bar are now filled with patrons who’ve come for dessert or a pint. They’re watching a game on the TV, chatting with friends, and clapping along as a musician belts out Irish tunes by the front windows. Most are regular pub visitors; many others are first-timers.
But it’s not until later that the real Friday night regulars start to arrive.
The first one wanders into the pub about 9:30 p.m. He’s responsible for finding a vacant table or two, with enough chairs to accommodate the others. A second follows soon afterward, then more, in pairs or small groups. By 10 p.m., they’ve all arrived.
They are our Village of Webster volunteer firefighters, and they’ve gathered at Barry’s Pub every Friday night for more than two years, to enjoy friendship, camaraderie, perhaps a Guinness (or two), and on warm summer nights, a cigar on the patio.
It’s a tradition at Barry’s which has become known as “Firefighter Fridays.” It began one evening in January 2016, when Cpt. Brad Ball and two firefighters convened at the pub after a recruit training class, to review how the “probies” had fared. The weekly meetings, originally dubbed “critique sessions,” continued every Friday night during the six-week training schedule.
And they never stopped.
Firefighter Rob “Stretch” Sabin remembers, “After the probies finished the in-house training program, (the trainers) realized they had a good thing going, and the rest is history.”
Every week since, for more than two and a half years straight, at least one Webster volunteer firefighter has stopped for a pint at Barry’s Old School Irish on Friday night at 10 p.m. (There’s always a full crew on call, by the way, to respond to any emergency that arises.)
In January 2017, to mark the first year of their unbroken streak, they presented pub owners Danny and Jessica Barry with a commemorative plaque, which was almost immediately hung on the wall just inside the pub’s front door. This last January, a second plaque was added to the wall, commemorating 104 straight weeks of firefighter Friday night meetings at the pub.
That evening there was an extra special gift as well. The assembled firefighters also gave Danny and Jessica their very own turnout coat, emblazoned with the Barry’s name. It too now hangs just inside the pub’s front door.
For Danny and Jessica, the weekly firefighter gatherings fit perfectly with the vision of what they’ve always wanted their pub to become.
“The pub was always meant for community,” Jessica said. “Friends meeting, sharing a pint and having a good time. What shows more community than the firefighters who help people out each day?”
Sabin agreed. “It’s not about the pint(s),” he said. “It’s about the brotherhood/sisterhood, better known as ‘fellowship’ that we share.”
It’s fitting, then, that the plaques and the turnout coat hang just a few feet away from another sign which has graced Barry’s Pub wall since the pub’s opening — the one that simply reads, “Family.”
The next time you’re at Barry’s pub on a Friday night, keep an eye out for our volunteer firefighters, and perhaps raise a pint to them as a thank you for keeping us safe every day.