- October 4, 2018
After a devastating fire, a resilient staff and the Havertown community brought this bar back to life.
Last May, after undergoing an extensive renovation, owner Bill Daley’s beloved Barnaby’s Havertown sports bar was consumed by a fire, started by a discarded, smoldering cigar. “Rebuilding it was an extremely challenging process,” remembers Daley. The accident devoured nearly everything in its path, leaving a long and arduous road to recovery.
But with the help of his dedicated staff, the local community and his steadfast General Manager Dan Hurst, Daley and his team rebuilt and improved Barnaby’s in just a matter of months. On the eve of the one-year anniversary of their reopening, Heady Times sat down with Bill and Dan who recounted their journey to bring Barnaby’s Havertown back from the brink.
Heady Times (HT): Before the fire, how long had Barnaby’s been here?
Bill Daley (BD): We’re here 22 years. I’ve been in the business 48 years. When I started out, I worked in the nightclub business. I had a great run for 13 or 14 years. The decision to open Barnaby’s was based on the fact that I saw the nightclub business on the decline. So, we wanted to rethink things for longevity purposes and I’ve always felt that people love sports, good food and entertainment.
HT: Dan, when did you join the team?
Dan Hurst (DH): I started as a prep cook in 1997 and worked my way up. In January, I will have been here 22 years.
BD: And boy are we lucky to have him. When we had the fire last May, Dan was the one who took the reins and rebuilt the entire restaurant – soup to nuts.
HT: What was that process like?
BD: Extremely stressful. But Dan redesigned this place strictly with his own creativity. He never took a vacation day.
DH: It was an interesting experience in retrospect. The loss, the emotions that go along with that... we had just completed a bunch of renovations two weeks before and then lost it all in the fire. It was definitely a challenge to rebuild a restaurant from kitchen design to interior design. Plumbing, electrical, it was everything. In the end, it was a gratifying process, knowing you have a whole staff who count on you. We’re like family and I wanted to do right by them.
BD: I was very proud that we were able to pay our employees during our hiatus. We kept the whole staff on, and they’ve never let us down.
HT: What was the community’s reaction to losing Barnaby’s to the fire?
BD: So supportive. When we were closed for those months, we all realized what we had built, because the whole community was like, “When are you coming back?” Which was a great feeling. The support was second to none.
HT: Did you throw a big party for your reopening?
BD: Did we ever. Dan suggested we do a soft opening. But in the middle of the party, we looked around and realized half the town was here – not so soft!
DH: There was a line out the door and around the block. We had a countdown and then opened the doors. The rest is history. It was very exciting.
You can call this place an American sports bar, but I don’t see it that way. We’re more than that. We have people who are here four or five times a week. It’s where they come for dinner, it’s where they come to meet friends, where they come to celebrate. You name it. We didn’t want the town to lose that, which is why it was so important for us to come back stronger than ever.
BarnabysHavertown.com • 1901 Old West Chester Pike, Havertown • 610-789-1885