NORMAN — Hundreds of people packed the original O’Connell’s Irish Pub and Grille on Lindsey Street to take a little bit of the place with them when they left Saturday evening.
Just about everything in, around and including the bar was for sale to the highest bidder.
Owner Jeff Stewart, who took over the bar in 1979, said he only kept two things from the landmark Norman establishment — the front window and the stained glass that once hung behind the bar.
“They’re irreplaceable,” he said.
Stewart, who attended the auction Saturday and stayed afterward as people started removing items from the bar, said he wasn’t fazed by the loss of so much stuff — at least not yet.
“It doesn’t bother me right now,” he said Saturday night, his bar nearly empty. “But I’m sure tomorrow, when they start taking the rest and this place is totally empty, it might start to.”
According to auctioneer Bill Rackley, more than 290 people registered for the auction. The bar was literally pack from wall to wall, and some people stood inside a sink that was lying on the ground just inside the front door.
Rackley said that despite the massive amount of people in attendance, the three-hour auction went off without a hitch.
“Nobody got in no fights ... everybody was happy,” he said. “This is O’Connell’s.”
The first item to be sold was a display case and its contents just inside the front door. It was filled with T-shirts, beer mugs, plastic cups, shot glasses and Mardis Grads beads. A guy paid $390 for it.
And things were just getting started.
Someone paid $1,000 for a set of four pieces of stained glass that once adorned the front entrance.
The relic-looking Excuse Booth, also just inside the front entrance, sold for $1,050.
“You would not believe the stories in this excuse booth,” head auctioneer Louis Dakil said just before he sold the booth livestock-style, surrounded by a mass of sweaty people.
A stuffed elk, which hung on wall on the west side of the bar, went for $625.
The front and back bar, a package deal, went for $2,500. The OU sink from the bathroom fetched $600.
And that lighted OU football helmet you always had your eye on — that sold for $1,100.
But the most expensive item to go was an old maple wood shuffleboard table, which stretches for at least 20 feet under a dim light. It sold for $4,200.
Michael Barber and a friend lugged a door out of the bar Saturday night. He said his girlfriend bought it for him.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with it,” Barber said. “I’m going to keep it in my garage until I get sick of it.”
Dane Keller, a bartender at O’Connell’s, was removing ticket rails Saturday night that he and his family had purchased during the auction. His parents, Bill and Maureen, met at O’Connell’s when his mother was tending bar there back in the day.
The Keller family also picked a Tiffany-style lamp, a men’s restroom sign and other items.
Keller acquired a diabolical-looking Jagermeister dispenser for $200.
“I’m probably going to keep it for a while, about a month,” he said. “But they’re going for about $380 right now on the Internet, so we’ll see.”
Stewart declined to comment Saturday night about the total haul of the auction, but it’s safe to say that tens of thousands of dollars were generated. The money generated will go into a new scholarship fund established by Stewart.
Those who bought items Saturday have until Monday at noon to get them out. The bar will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to noon Monday for the removal of items.
Stewart said O’Connell’s and a set of buildings directly to the east will be demolished soon to make way for expansion at OU. Bricks from the building will be on sale for $35 at that point.
“By Valentine’s Day,” he said, “it’ll all be gone.”
Andrew Knittle 366-3540 firstname.lastname@example.org