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The 2021 recipient of the Scott Linder Small Business of the Year Award, Molly McHugh’s Irish Pub which was opened twenty-six years ago by Jerry and Molly McHugh in the heart of downtown Lakeland. Affectionately known to the locals simply as “Molly’s,” this establishment became a backbone of revitalization for our community.

The McHughs have a long history of collaboration with other bars and restaurants in Lakeland, realizing that there was enough business to go around and if each of them was successful, the entire community would benefit. However, Molly’s outward thinking didn’t stop there. They became involved in giving back to our community through nonprofit organizations like Toys for Tots, Peace River Center, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, and many more.

Jack McHugh, Jerry & Molly’s son, is now at the helm at Molly’s and it’s his aim to provide a community pub to be a place where people of all walks of life can come to meet and share a pint. Located at 111 S. Kentucky Ave., Molly’s has a loyal and tenured staff with many employees working there for over ten years and two who have been with Molly’s for over 20 years. With such a rich history, it’s safe to say that this Lakeland favorite has a bright future.

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