Drink Insider: Kyle Owen of Cregeen’s Irish Pub

Since 2007, Cregeen’s Irish Pub has served as the gateway to Argenta and heralded the redevelopment that continues today through North Little Rock’s Main Street. Cregeen’s exudes coziness and the comfortable dark African mahogany bar you might expect. For over a decade, Cregeen’s has been the cornerstone of Argenta’s redevelopment serving up food, music, drinks, and fellowship. This Argenta mainstay has been an instant classic, and I sat down with Kyle Owen, the current general manager and former bar manager, to talk about what makes Cregeen’s an unforgettable place.
What brought you into the hospitality industry?
Owen: It was a combination of skills I learned while working through school with what I learned in school.  I was a business major and always working in restaurants and bars through college.  A pub was a good place to join those two skill sets.
What makes Cregeen’s special?
KO: Cregeen’s is a state of mind as much as a location. It is a pub first and not just an Irish pub.  The public house is about shared experiences and conversation that provides the community a place to be over a few pints and some fish and chips. Argenta is very much a community, and it provides that almost European sense of place. We want to see friends coming in on a weekday afternoon to talk about their day. We try to be a hub for the Argenta community.

How does being an Irish pub shape the hospitality at Cregeen’s?
KO: That is always the identity of Cregeen’s. It is a part of those larger European traditions to create a “local watering hole” and a place to anchor a community. That includes having some great food as well. One of my favorite things here is the Beef Stew. Our Fish and Chips is consistently a great dish I would put up against any Fish and Chips in the state.
We definitely like to show off our whiskey as part of being an Irish pub. I am fond of the Redbreast with its traditional copper pot still as Irish whiskey. Jameson is definitely the Irish whiskey that is the gateway getting people in the door, but we like to show people that there is a lot more to Irish whiskey when they are here. Being an Irish bar has also meant responding to local tastes. We have 50 beers on draught now; when Cregeen’s opened it was only 25. This is an active choice, and we try to have at least a dozen local brews including Flyway Brewing from around the corner. We like to support our neighbors and want to see all of us succeed. As an Irish bar, of course, we have proper pints of Guinness.
What do you want more people to know about Cregeen’s and Argenta?
KO: North Little Rock, and Argenta particularly, used to be called Dog Town and most people know it got that nickname because of stray dogs being left there, but now it’s something Argenta is reclaiming! Everybody knows that Argenta has been growing for the past decade, but the Dog Town moniker is something to highlight – Dog Town is a dog-friendly spot with patios and a community. Come to Cregeen’s and see how a pub, not a bar, can not only provide you some community and conversation over a pint of two and bring your pup along.

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