Rumors of The Pour House’s demise have been greatly exaggerated amid news that the longstanding Boylston Street bar could reopen within 30 days.
“It is with great regret to tell you that after 34 glorious years, it is time for us to say goodbye and thank you. Due to COVID the ownership of The Pour House will be changing hands,” the bar’s owners posted Wednesday, Sept. 2, on Instagram. “We want to thank each and every one of you very much. The heart and soul of The Pour House has always been our staff and our customers. Without them, we would never have been as successful as we were for 34 years.”
One day later, Lir, an Irish pub at 903 Boylston St. that opened in 2004, announced it would be closing, too.
“Since the day we opened we felt a strong connection to the Boston community, and we would like to say thank you to our loyal patrons who stood by us along the way,” the owners posted Thursday, Sept. 3, on Instagram “To everyone who walked through our doors and, for a brief period, made this place your home, thank you. We have all witnessed some amazing things together. Title winning championships, marathons, parades. The list could go on forever. Our mission has always been to make Lir your home away from home, whether you’re Irish, American, or a little bit of both. It pains us to leave you, but we can assure you that these memories will live on.”
On Friday Sept. 4, however, the Boston Business Journal first reported that Charles M. Talanian, the principal owner of C. Talanian Realty, the real-estate firm that owns the Pour House, was negotiating to buy out his partners, reopen the bar and hopefully bring back some of the former employees.
Lir’s owners bought themselves out for a fraction of the $1.7 million remaining on its lease, and Talanian said he hoped to strike a similar deal with his partners at the Pour House this week.
“It’s all moving parts,” Talanian told this reporter. “We’re doing the best we can.”
The leases for both the Pour House at 907 Boylston St. and the adjacent Lir, which is located in another Talanian-owned building, were set to expire in 2024, and before the pandemic struck, Talanian had planned to connect the two buildings and develop around 60,000 square feet of office or residential space above it.
Talanian is also exploring new options McGreevy’s at 911 Boylston St., which closed in mid-August, as the building is expected to come on the market soon.
Ken Casey, the establishment’s proprietor, as well as lead signer of the Dropkick Murphys citing “economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic” as the reason for its demise in an Aug. 19 Instagram post.
Whiskey’s, a longstanding dive bar at 885 Boylston St., also closed in mid-July.
Martyn Roetter, chair of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, said that the group was originally concerned about businesses closing on Newbury Street, “but clearly Boylston Street is also in peril.”
Bar closures on Boylston Street are particularly concerning, Roetter said, because the Back Bay’s residential and business communities are “interdependent,” and while this trend raises a “huge red flag,” he was encouraged to hear of the Pour House’s plan to reopen.
State Rep. Jay Livingstone was also encouraged to hear that the Pour House would reopen, but remains wary of what the future would bring for the neighborhood’s bars and restaurants.
“The Legislature has tried to provide relief to help bars and restaurants, but until a lot of customers come back to Boston, it’s going to be hard for bars and restaurants to succeed as they did before,” he said. “You don’t have hundreds of thousands of thousands of people coming to Boston for conventions, sporting events and concerts.”
Moreover, Rep. Livingstone said: “The primary thing is no one working in the Prudential Center. Tens of thousands of people worked across the street who aren’t there…which is going to make it incredibly difficult for any business to survive there.”
Rep. Livingstone laments the closure of longstanding neighborhood establishments like Lir.
“It’s sad to see these neighborhood institutions close,” he said. “I’ve attended so many positive events at them, especially the political events at Lir over the years, and it’s disappointing.”
To buck this trend, Rep. Livingstone believes it’s now up to government at all levels to help out.
“Lots of individuals and business are struggling now,” he said. “I think government at the federal, state and city levels have all done a lot, but it’s clear we have to do a lot more.”