Founding of McGarry’s Irish Pub is a story about enduring friendship


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — We’ve all had friends drift in and out of our lives — high school buddies, co-workers we clicked with, others. But if we’re lucky, one or two stay with us, maybe even for a lifetime.

And so it is with George Masud and James McGarry, two of the primary forces behind McGarry’s Irish Pub, an establishment on Calloway Drive that opened in April with raucous fanfare.

Masud and his proud Irish friend McGarry met in 2004 at a fantasy football league draft and competed  for years, harassing each other with good natured regularity. Masud with his team, McGarry and team co-owner Robert Voss with theirs.

Then, three years ago, reality pushed aside fantasy. McGarry was diagnosed with brain cancer. After several difficult months, in September 2019, at the age of 40, he died.

When George Masud, who’s in the dry cleaning business, decided to open a bar with his cousin, also George Masud, they knew what they had to call it.

And that’s how two Palestinian guys from L.A. came to own an Irish pub in Bakersfield — McGarry’s Irish Pub.

But they didn’t just honor James McGarry by naming it for him, or by hanging this large, distinctive black-and-white portrait on that back wall. They’re honoring his legacy too — his children.

McGarry left behind a wife and two young boys.

And if the Masud cousins have any say in the matter, they’re going to college on their dime. Or, more precisely, their customers’ dime.

Buy a shot of premium Irish whiskey and 40 percent goes to their college fund.

Robert Voss, McGarry’s longtime fantasy football partner, says James McGarry was a friend worth remembering.

“James was one of those guys that was a very genuine guy, very caring guy, very big-heated guy,  and relentless.,” Voss said.

(Now the relentless guys are George Masud and George Masud, bar owners who hope their success at running an upscale Irish pub in west Bakersfield translates into the sort of head start in life James McGarry would have wanted for his boys.

And if there’s a lesson in all of this for the rest of us, so much the better.

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