Meet Rob McElhenney & Kaitlin Olson, partner owners of Mac’s Tavern on Market Street in Old City.
This duo may sound familiar for their starring roles on FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, of which Rob is also the creator. Although the show returns with a new season in September, we’re here to talk about their new bar.
Philly Beer Scene: When you were a resident of Philadelphia, what bars were you hanging out in?
ROB MCELHENNEY: Well, I moved to New York when I was 18, so I’m sure the bars I was hanging out at wouldn’t appreciate the publicity.
KAITLIN OLSON: I’m from Oregon, but I love how many local bars there are. It’s not like that in L.A. where we’re from. Ladder 15 is one of my favorites though.
PBS: Would you consider yourself a craft beer drinker?
ROB: Actually, I drink Coors Light which I get a lot of shit for. But, the reason I drink Coors is because I can drink it all night long and still talk. I do enjoy a half-and-half (Guinness & Harp) when I am just going to have a few beers, Yuengling when I am in town, and I’m looking forward to trying Victory’s beers since they’re the sponsor of the grand opening.
KAITLIN: I don’t drink things that taste like carbonated water like Rob does. I’m a big fan of beer, I just stay away from the ones that are real hoppy.
PBS: What prompted you to open your own bar? The show? Your past?
ROB: Two friends I grew up with approached me with the idea. I trusted them and we ran with it.
KAITLIN: I was on board because I really like the bar scene in Philly.
PBS: There have been rumors and anticipation of this bar opening for quite some time. What were some of the biggest challenges in getting the bar open?
ROB: Well, there are still some challenges in getting everything right. My partners have been the ones handling mostly everything though. I know there have been plenty of issues with permits and licenses which have kept us pretty busy, and other small departmental problems. But, we’re happy it’s open and moving forward.
PBS: In knowing many of Philadelphia’s bar owners, there always seems to be that one quality about the bar that they take special pride in, even if it may seem totally crazy. What’s that one quality about Mac’s Tavern for you?
ROB: I don’t know about me but I can definitely speak for Kaitlin. It’s the women’s bathroom. She designed the whole thing. Her attitude was that no woman enjoys being at a bar where they can’t be comfortable and the only way the bar wouldn’t be all dudes was if the bathroom was warm and inviting. The first thing she realized in the planning was that the original men’s room was larger than the women’s. She reversed that. Then, she did everything from the wallpaper to the light fixtures. Meanwhile, someone already tagged the men’s room.
PBS: And I bet you have an especially large mirror in that women’s room?
KAITLIN: Hell no. We don’t need the drunk girl trying to redo all of her makeup standing in front of the mirror for an hour. We have a few of these small, simple mirrors in the bathroom. They make a much bigger deal out of the bathroom than it is. You need to have clean bathrooms if you expect girls to want to come and use them. Decorating is just something that I really enjoy. My bathrooms at home are amazing!