CONWAY — New to North Conway, Shawn O’Day is looking to make his mark on the area by turning the former Club 550 into the valley’s premier bar and nightclub.
The new name is The O Club, which comes from O'Day's last name or "Officer Club," since he is an ex-military man.
O'Day grew up in Boston and graduated from North Adams State College (now the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) in 1991. He earned a master's degree in information technology from Harvard in 2004.
“My dad and I used to come up to the valley to go camping and fishing," said O'Day. "I even climbed Mount Washington when I was a teenager.
“Now I have two teenage boys, so I wanted to put some roots up here. I enjoy getting away from the city, and I have always wanted to open a bar and start my own business,” he noted.
After retiring from 24 years in the service, O'Day was inspired by both his experiences and our nation’s military history.
The logo for The O Club shows just that.
“This is the nicest thing I own,” O'Day said, gesturing toward a large plaque by the club’s entrance.
“In the military, whenever you do anything important, you make a plaque, so I knew as soon as I opened this place needed a plaque," he said.
"The symbol of the two serpents making an 'O' with the dagger through the middle is actually part of my family crest. However, there’s a double meaning because it also stands for ‘Officers Club,’" O'Day added.
He said that before World War II, they used to have clubs for officers to hang out together.
"I just wanted to bring back a little of that history,” he said.
The walls will be used to display artifacts of military significance. “I just aim to really clean the place up, and then I’d like to add old recruiting posters and the nose art from the older planes.” O'Day noted.
Just as officers used to relax with a game of pool at the club, The O Club has 12 regulation competition pool tables as well as regulation competition dart boards. The O Club hosts both pool and dart leagues. This summer’s weekly billiards tournaments will begin Sunday, June 9.
There’s also a jukebox, pingpong table and a deejay booth manned on Fridays and Saturdays on the dance floor.
The kitchen at The O Club serves traditional bar food, including appetizer favorites such as fries, mozzarella sticks and fried pickles.
O'Day has big plans for The O Club, such as putting in more games, more seating, extending the main bar, removing the antiquated black lights and repainting the walls in a lighter shade to bring more light into the nightclub.
To see what's new, check out the club for yourself at 2025 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, call (603) 730-5559 or go to theoclub.org.