“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree…”
Over a century after poet Will Yeats wrote those words, three guys in Tuscaloosa, Alabama began to discuss the idea of a bar. Much like Yeats, they wanted a place of refuge from the strains of everyday life. A place to have fun and forget their troubles with their friends.
Tripp Rogers, Mike McInerney, & Ian Fitzsimmons set out in the summer of 1997 to make that place a reality. After a few months and four denied loans, they were finally given a chance. They used their loan to begin construction and after blowing through their own personal finances, they had no choice but to open. In June of 1998, in a storefront on Greensboro Avenue, Innisfree opened its doors for business.
As with all businesses, team members came and left. Ian left the pub life for a radio career at ESPN, and the team gained seasoned bar owner, Derick Purdy. The family grew from one bar to five with the addition of Copper Top, The Venue, Gallettes, and the opening of an Innisfree Birmingham location in January 2003. As the population at the University of Alabama grew, so did the need to grow as a business. In February of 2009, Innisfree expanded from its original location of 1,500 square feet to over 5,000 square feet at its present location on University Boulevard. The new location also brought big opportunities with the addition of a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
As much as Innisfree has evolved, it will always be that place to escape and have a good time. Whether it’s for a game day weekend, to reminisce on college days, or to create new memories, if you are looking for a good time, there’s only one thing to do - Head to the Free.