Oh Shaws: New Owners Set New Standards


Early last week Oh Shaw’s Bar and Grill, housed in a bright green building, opened next to Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 15. This new watering hole takes the place of Tilley’s Pub, which closed this past June. Inside, light walls surround a dark wooden bar hosting a variety of liquors and tap handles – both domestic and Vermont.

“It crept up on us fast! We drove by [the building] and a couple days later we owned it,” said Cyndi O’Brien, who co-owns Oh Shaw’s with her husband Ted Shaw.

O’Brien and Shaw are aiming to create a different atmosphere than the bar that inhibited the space before. Although they were told renting the building would be a turnkey operation, the two had to replace many of the appliances and put hundreds of dollars into electrical upgrades, in addition to cleaning and repainting the entire building – inside and out.

“The key is to keep it clean and smelling good. Not like roses, but inviting,” said O’Brien. “Drugs are not welcome, those people are not welcome here. We don’t want the Tilley’s reputation.”

Tilley’s Pub closed this summer after being granted only a six-month probationary liquor license after frequent liquor violations were reported at the bar, according to a recent article in the Colchester Sun.

Oh Shaw’s is currently applying for their amusement license so that trivia nights, karaoke, and comedy nights can return. The duo is very enthusiastic about making Oh Shaw’s a place for the students of St. Michael’s College to feel comfortable in.

Of age and underage people will be allowed to participate in these events, however O’Brien predicts they will have to instate a curfew for underage people to prevent underage drinking. They will have a bouncer at the door on Friday and Saturday nights to check IDs.

“I’m really excited Oh Shaw’s is open,” said Laura Sullivan, ’16. “It’s really convenient to go to since it’s so close to campus.”

O’Brien and Shaw are working on getting the KnightCard as an acceptable form of payment to encourage students to go to Oh Shaw’s for lunch, dinner and drinks. They are also thinking of starting a delivery service after New Years.

Oh Shaw’s is planning on tapping into the consumer base surrounding them by providing consistent food and service not only to St. Michael’s, but also to the hospital across the street and Camp Johnson down the road.

Although this is the first bar the two have owned, Shaw has experience running an organization as the administrator of the Moose Lodge in South Burlington. O’Brien has worked at FairPoint Communications for 28 years. She is hoping Oh Shaw’s will provide her the opportunity to retire in the near future.

The name ‘Oh Shaw’s’ came from combining the duo’s last names. “The name is the only thing we could agree on,” O’Brien said with a laugh.


This article was originally published in the Saint Michael’s College award-winning newspaper, The Defender, in the Fall of 2015.