Passing two bar exams

Posted on January 8, 2010

Ron Schwartz was a practicing attorney in 1974, having passed the bar exam two years earlier. Little did he know that he was soon going to own a bar.

Schwartz became a co-founder of Muldoon’s, the popular Irish pub in Newport Beach, when two enterprising brothers asked him to help them build it.

But when a recession hit, the brothers wanted to get out of the restaurant business – so Schwartz bought them out.

Two years after Muldoon’s opened, Schwartz decided to open his own law firm and still operates the practice from offices above Muldoon’s.

He then met his wife to be Sindi, who helped create the authentic Irish atmosphere and menu that Muldoon’s offers.

Muldoon’s, celebrating its 35th year, offers live entertainment at 9 every night, stages an annual fiddle contest and puts on “The Sexiest Kilt Competition,” where men flaunt their legs and guests vote for the best kilts and legs.

“(The competitors) take it so seriously,” Sindi Schwartz said.

The pub has won numerous awards, including the Southern California Writers Association Premier Pub award, the Schwartzes said.

The Register talked to Ron Schwartz about his life as an attorney and a pub owner.

Q. So you have two bars, Muldoon’s and the bar exam that you passed in 1972. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

A. Well, I grew up in Los Angeles. I had a wonderful upbringing; but you see a lot of injustices. My parents were immigrants (from Poland), and they believed in the justice of America. I wanted to be an attorney to defend justice. That’s also why I defend individuals and not corporations. I’ve found that it’s been worthwhile.

Q. Why did you decide to make Muldoon’s an Irish pub?

A. I would have to give credit to my original partners for that. I fell in love with the idea, and it’s been a great pleasure carrying it on. The Irish have a very rich culture and they’re very family oriented.

Q. What have you enjoyed the most about Muldoon’s?

A. It’s the hospitality when people come into your pub. That’s how it is in Ireland; it’s a very engaging character trait mixed in with a tremendous sense of humor.

Q. What’s the hardest thing about juggling your law firm and Muldoon’s?

A. The hardest thing for me is that I have a great passion for both (Muldoon’s and the law firm.) It’s not having enough time to spend with the restaurant.

Q. How many generations have you seen coming in through Muldoon’s?

A. We’ve seen infants to people in their 90s. Some people even put in their wills that they want their wakes in Muldoon’s. We’ve seen weddings and funerals over the years. If you stay current and stay true, then there’s no reason why (the pub) can’t stay through every generation. It’s not a fad; it becomes part of the culture.

Q. When it comes to food, what is the one thing that has customers coming back for more?

A. There are four things: our gourmet hamburgers, fish and chips, Irish stew and lamb chops. Depending on the time of day, we have people ordering more of one thing over the other.

Q. What’s the best drink at Muldoon’s?

A. There is a great variety of Irish and English beers on tap. The Midleton Rare and Irish Whisky are very special. The young people really like Rose of Tralee, a martini with a sugar rim. Virgin drinks are available as well.

Q. There are a lot of regulars; what is it that keeps them coming back?

A. It’s everything, but on top of all of that it’s the warmth. It’s a real home away from home.

Originally published in the Orange County Register.

Posted in: Features