Former Goodale’s building to go Irish

NASHUA – Even if you can’t pay a visit to Ireland this summer, you can get a taste of traditional Irish food and drink at an upscale pub and restaurant opening downtown in August.

Construction on the old Goodale’s Bike Shop will start next week to make way for The Peddler’s Daughter, a fancier, Victorian version of the rustic Irish pub of the same name in Haverhill, Mass.

With 24 beers on tap, live Irish bands from Boston and brunch on Sundays, The Peddler’s Daughter will be a new downtown choice.

“I want to make it fun,” said Michael Conneely, who bought the 10,000-square-foot Main Street building two weeks ago and plans to start demolition next week.

The Peddler’s Daughter is the latest in new downtown destinations for the 25-plus crowd, who often travel to the Queen City for nightlife.

“They don’t have to travel to Manchester,” Conneely said, “because there’s nothing like this in Nashua.”

Originally from Galway, Ireland, Conneely, 35, came to the United States 15 years ago to play Irish football. A chef by trade, he later went to work for several years in the hotel industry, including a stint as assistant general manager of the Boston Park Plaza hotel. He later opened The Peddler’s Daughter in Haverhill, which now has Bistro 45, a martini and tapas, or appetizer, bar upstairs.

This will be his third restaurant.

Conneely looked in the Nashua area five years ago when he first opened his restaurants, but didn’t find any properties he liked. When he was approached six months ago by a friend about the vacant Goodale’s building, Conneely jumped at the opportunity.

“I love historic buildings. It’s brick. There’s an ambiance already. It’s on the water. It’s great,” he said.

“I’ve always kept my eye on Nashua,” Conneely said. “Nashua’s a great community. They’ve got a lot of forevision.”

Catering to the over-25 crowd, the 5,000-square-foot authentic Irish pub will even have an Irish “snug.”

In the pre-prohibition years, a snug was the only place in an Irish pub for women, who weren’t welcome in the same area as the men.

Nestled in the corner of the pub, the snug will have its own entrance, but will be open to both sexes.

“It’s kind of semi-private,” Conneely said.

Mahogany furniture will decorate the pub, tile and wood will make up the floor, and the walls will be maroon and yellow. Patrons can sit on elevated tables Conneely describes as “nooks and crannies – so you’re not on top of the people next to you, either.”

During construction, the interior walls will be torn down to expose the original brick.

Brick will be restored on the exterior, too.

Conneelly, who said it’s been a pleasure working with city community development officials, is planning outside seating on the future “Riverwalk” walkway planned for downtown.

For now, plans call for one story, although the building includes a basement, which Conneelly will eventually either use as an extension of The Peddler’s Daughter, or as a martini bar with dancing.

Conneely is bringing in master chef Frank Lydon, who is in Ireland right now. This Peddler’s Daughter will serve lunch and dinner.

Menu items will include beef tenderloin with bleu cheese, herb encrusted pork tenderloin, among other dishes, as well as traditional pub fare, such as fish and chips wrapped in newspaper.

“I want to give it the service that goes along with an upscale place,” he said.

The Peddler’s Daughter’s food has received “rave reviews” from the Phantom Gourmet, the Boston Globe and has been featured on Chronicle, Conneely said.

As for competition, Conneely isn’t concerned. His concept is different from anything else in the area.

“I’m not competing with Michael Timothy’s,” he said. “We’re going for a different group.”

He doesn’t see Margarita’s as competition either, since they seem to attract the 21-to-25-year-old crowd, he said.

Karen Spiller can be reached at 594-6446 or