McGuire's Irish Pub

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McGuire's Irish Pub
Cuisine Pub fare
Location 600 East Gregory Street (Pensacola)
33 Highway 98 (Destin)
Established 1977
Owner McGuire Martin
Chef Jim Martin
Slogan "Feasting, Imbibery & Debauchery"
Phone number (850) 433-6789

McGuire's Irish Pub is a popular Pensacola restaurant and local landmark. Founded by McGuire and Molly Martin in 1977, the restaurant was originally located in Town & Country Plaza. McGuire's moved to its current Gregory Street location (Pensacola's original firehouse and later the Old Firehouse Drive-In) in 1982. It is known for its on-site brewery and patron traditions, like kissing a stuffed moosehead and stapling autographed dollar-bill "tips" to the ceiling. A second location has also opened in Destin.

Restroom signage controversy

Since McGuire's first opened in Pensacola in 1977, its restroom signage has been playfully misleading; for instance, the sign on the women's restroom door states "Men's Room" with the small text "This way to" above, as well as a hand pointing toward the adjacent men's restroom, and vice-versa. Many patrons do not notice the smaller text or hand and hence walk into the incorrect restroom. The signs are widely recognised as a long-running joke and tradition. Similarly misleading signage was installed in the Destin location upon its opening.

The Destin restroom signage, now removed

On April 24, 2007, someone using the name "Chris Hall" filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), claiming a man walked in on his fifteen-year-old daughter while she was in the women's restroom. Shortly thereafter, the Destin McGuire's was ordered by the DBPR to remove the confusing signage.[1] The News Journal later reported that more than 3,000 patrons of the Destin location signed a petition asking for the return of the old signage within a 10-day period.[2] General Manager Billy Martin defended the signs, saying "“We’re not trying to be malicious. It’s an Irish joke kind of thing.”[3]

The story was picked up by the Associated Press and was published in various newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, as well as other national news outlets and online blogs and web sites.

The order to remove the confusing signage at the Destin location did not apply to the McGuire's in Pensacola. However, on May 24, 2007, the News Journal reported that the Pensacola location had also been ordered to remove its similar signage after a DBPR inspection cited the restaurant for "lack of signage properly designating bathrooms".[4] Notably, the Destin restaurant was inspected in January 2007 (as well as many times over the past several years) and was not at any time cited for the signage. Attorney Jim Reeves recommended to owner McGuire Martin that he fight the order to remove the signs.[5]

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation and McGuire's eventually came to an agreement that would allow McGuire's to keep their famous signs posted; McGuire's installed a second set of swinging doors after the signs but before the restroom areas.


  1. "McGuire's forced to change bathroom signs" - Pensacola News Journal, May 17, 2007.
  2. "Girl's father finds little humor in landmark's infamous restroom signs" - Pensacola News Journal, May 18, 2007.
  3. "State forces McGuire’s to remove 'joke' restroom signs" - Northwest Florida Daily News, May 16, 2007.
  4. "Losing its bathroom humor" - Pensacola News Journal, May 18, 2007.
  5. "McGuire's complainant a mystery" - Pensacola News Journal, May 26, 2007.