After five-and-a-half years in business and a highly publicized effort to avoid eviction last July, Liam Flynn’s Ale House has closed for good.
Owner Liam Flynn posted a farewell message on Facebook last night inviting patrons to visit the Irish/Scottish pub at 22 W. North Avenue for one last pint.
“It is with a heavy heart that I say this,” he wrote. “This is the last night of Liam Flynn’s Ale House at the North Avenue location! If you can’t make it, look for us in the future. You have been the best friends ever. I know the pub has meant a lot to a lot of people. We did everything here and had joy doing it. Well, anyway, so long and thanks for all the fish! Slainte mhath.”
Flynn, who owned the pub with his wife Jessica and had a staff of about 15, did not give a reason for closing in his Facebook message. As recently as Monday night, he denied that he had any immediate plans to shut down. Reached at the pub by phone after midnight, when there were still patrons at the bar, he declined to discuss what prompted the announcement.
“I’m not going to talk about it tonight,” he said. “Call me or text me tomorrow.”
Liam Flynn’s opened in summer 2011 as one of the first tenants in the revitalized North Avenue Market. Many of its fixtures were salvaged from the old Chesapeake Restaurant.
It quickly became known for its live music, including free midweek jam sessions that drew dozens of musicians. Flynn hosted a traditional jazz jam on Sunday afternoons, a gypsy jazz jam on Mondays, an Appalachian old-time jam on Tuesdays and a Celtic/Irish traditional jam on Wednesdays, among others. The sessions were a treat for people stopping by the pub after seeing a movie at the Charles Theatre and other activities.
Last summer, Flynn disclosed that he was trying to raise $50,000 in seven days with a GoFundMe campaign to avoid a July 20 eviction by his landlord, Center City Inc. He said the money would be used to pay off past debts and relocate. With the help of online contributions and a last-minute silent auction, he was able to raise enough money to postpone the eviction and stay in his location until the end of 2016.
There were signs that changes were coming.
Last spring, Flynn opened a second business, O’Flynn’s Crab and Cask House, at 3432 S. Hanover Street in Brooklyn. It features live Irish music on Tuesday nights.
On Christmas Eve, Flynn wrote in a Facebook post that his landlord told him to remove picnic tables from in front of his pub but that the business was still open. Then, on Dec. 31, he wrote that that night would be the pub’s final New Year’s Eve/Hogmanay at the North Avenue location.
The Baltimore Old Time Jam, one of the groups gathered regularly at the pub, also announced in December that its sessions would move to the Five and Dime Ale House in Hampden starting Jan. 10.
Asked about the Facebook posts on Jan. 2, Flynn said he had no immediate plans to close. Then he posted his notice about closing the next day.
Representatives for Center City Inc. could not be reached. Their phone line was not recording messages.
In Facebook comments, patrons expressed sadness about the closing and thanked Flynn for what he created.
“You had a good run, and you …provided untold numbers of people with a convivial place to gather, for all kinds of events, musical and otherwise,” wrote Myron Bretholz.
“So many wonderful memories,” added Nell Ziehl.
“Truly a community-making spot,” wrote Philip Rink Jr. “The neighborhood, and groups throughout Baltimore, will miss it.”