Finnigan’s Wake is coming back to Trade Street with a new owner.
Brian Cole, through his company the Cole Group, has bought the business and plans to reopen it this summer.
Philip “Opie” Kirby, who cofounded Finnigan’s in 2006, closed it in October 2021.
Finnigan’s, at 620 N. Trade St., is in the heart of the Downtown Arts District. The popular bar was known for its St. Patrick’s Day parties and for its charity events, especially one for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in which hundreds of people would get their heads shaved outside the restaurant to help raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Cole has long been involved in downtown and Trade Street in particular. Cole is a partner in Silver Moon Saloon on Trade. Cole Group also is a partner in Hoots Beer Co. and Carlisle’s Pub, and Cole also has an event company, Random Task Management.
Cole originally moved to Winston-Salem in the 1990s to run the Downtown Summer Music Series, and later was involved in the early days of Foothills Brewing. He also previously was involved The Garage (now closed) and Single Brothers, both within a block of Finnigan’s.
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Cole “is a Trade Street person who understands the vibe on Trade Street, and who understands Finnigan’s,” Kirby said.
When Kirby closed the restaurant, he said it was for personal reasons and he was looking for “a new adventure.” He said this week that he has been mainly traveling since Finnigan’s closed.
Kirby said he was happy that Cole wants to bring back some of Finnigan’s charity drives, including the Giving Tree and work for Saint Baldrick’s. “Finnigan’s, from a philanthropic standpoint, was always very important to me. So that’s one component that will come back,” Kirby said.
Cole said he pretty much plans to bring back the Finnigan’s that everyone remembers. He said he already has reached out to key staff, and veteran Finnigan’s employee Karamy Kale will be the general manager.
“I think Finnigan’s was great,” Cole said. “So at the outset, we don’t anticipate any changes.”
Cole said that if everything goes smoothly, the restaurant could reopen as early as June.