Photo: Panoramio

McGuire’s Irish Pub is a popular restaurant and local landmark in Pensacola, Florida, famous for having an estimated two million dollars in cash hanging from the ceiling.

The history of McGuire’s Irish Pub’s unique decoration can be traced back to 1977, when Martin McGuire and his wife, Molly opened the opened the business.

He tended the bar while Molly waited tables, and when she made her first $1 tip, she celebrated by writing the date on it and tacking it to the back bar for good luck.

Little did she know that this was the start of a longstanding tradition that is still being respected by patrons of the pub. The very next day after that first bill was tacked to the bar, people started adding to the collection, and they’ve been doing it ever since.

“It’s 15,000 square feet and there’s dollar bills on every bit of that ceiling and quite a bit of the walls,” owner William “McGuire” Martin told the Chicago Tribune back in 1999. “We count it every year and we pay taxes on the growth in it. We treat it as an asset, and we borrow against it and so forth.”

At the time of the interview, McGuire estimated his unique décor to consist of around $175,000, but according to more recent counts, the pub now has nearly two million dollars in autographed bills hanging from its ceiling. That’s a fortune literally at arms length from strangers, most of whom resist the temptation of taking some of that cash for themselves.

Of course, with so much money in plain sight, there are bound to be incidents, and thefts have been reported at McGuire’s Irish Pub over the years. An employee was once fined and put on probation after allegedly pulling down an estimated $5,000 of green “wallpaper”, and many others have tried using the marked bills to pay for various things around Pensacola.

But because every banknote that goes up on McGuire’s ceiling is autographed with a black marker and features staple holes, it’s hard to spend them anywhere in town without anyone noticing them. The Irish pub is a local landmark and the money tradition is very well-known, so whenever someone presents a marked bill virtually anywhere in Pensacola, alarm bells go off.

“The teller instantly realized that was probably money from McGuire’s and notified a manager and during that time, the suspect became a little worried and left the building,” one police offer told WEAR-TV about a thief’s attempt to exchange stolen banknotes at a local bank.

Fun fact, there is actually a second McGuire’s Irish Pub in Destin, Florida, which, according to a 2017 report had a whopping $1.7 million in cash hanging from its ceiling.