Credit: Andrew Metcalf

Update – 12:50 p.m. March 17 – Co-owner Vanessa Laurin said Thursday the restaurant will not be able to open in time for St. Patrick’s Day. She said the restaurant has its final fire inspection scheduled for Friday and then expects to have other inspections, such as the health inspection, after that. 

Laurin said they hope to open in the next week or so.

Original story – With one week left before St. Patrick’s Day, the owners of Finnegan’s Wake in Rockville Town Square are hoping they can get the necessary approvals to open their Irish pub before the holiday.

Terry Laurin, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Vanessa, said there’s a “slim” chance the restaurant could open on or just before March 17.

“The equipment is done and the buildout is essentially complete,” Laurin said. He added that he and Vanessa had planned to open about three months ago, but were delayed by architectural issues.

Now, he says they’re just waiting on final building, fire and health inspections by the county. The fire inspection is scheduled for Friday and he hopes he can schedule the other two next week. The opening will be the culmination of a two-year process for the Laurins, who live in North Bethesda.


Terry Laurin said that he and and Vanessa decided to open the pub after eating at Gordon Biersch about two years ago. They had been thinking about opening a restaurant before that dinner—the two have extensive restaurant experience and met while working together at Montgomery’s Grille in Bethesda in 2000. Initially, Vanessa Laurin said she didn’t want to open an Irish pub because she had been working for more than a decade as a bartender and manager at Fado Irish Pub in Washington, D.C.

But after they left Gordon Biersch, as Terry tells it, they passed the vacant restaurant space on Gibbs Street and Vanessa turned to him and said, “Know what they’re missing? An Irish pub. I want to bring an Irish pub to this area.”

From there the idea developed and Finnegan’s Wake became a reality. Inside the restaurant on Wednesday, there was still construction equipment scattered around the floor, but the large wooden bar appeared complete and big screen TVs were in place. Terry Laurin said they’ll be able to seat about 115 people at tables and at the bar. He said their goal is to provide a “relaxing atmosphere that serves home-cooked meals and the perfect pint.”


He added that if the restaurant doesn’t open in time for St. Patrick’s Day, he hopes it can be open within days afterwards.

The pub is filling the former space of Carbon Peruvian Chicken and Grill. It will join a host of new restaurants recently opened or opening soon at the Federal Realty-owned development including Peter Chang Rockville, Miso Café, Mellow Mushroom, Ev & Maddy’s and the Russian concept Samovar.