Conor Byrne Pub to close permanently at the end of March

The iconic Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Ave NW) is closing down at the end of March.

Co-owner Diarmuid Cullen announced the closure on Instagram, saying “Sadly, as it stands right now Conor Byrne Pub will be closing its doors on March 31st.”

Cullen’s father was a bartender in the early 1990s when the Owl Saloon turned into the Conor Byrne. It’s known for its strong support of the local music scene—Cullen himself played music there when he and his current co-owners were young.

The message to customers in full:

“We came together as owners, let’s say 19 years ago, to purchase a longstanding staple in our lives. To say we had a history here prior to ownership would be an understatement.

My father worked here when Conor first converted it from The Owl. He met his best friend Gordon here…spent many an evening with my mother while she took home Halloween costume contest prizes.

Oh to speak of the bonds that were forged in the early days. It was one of the first places Patrick and I went when we first turned 21…

The idea of becoming part of the community I thought so fondly of, well, it’s a warm familiar feeling. Matt, Patrick and I played a show or two here early in our short music careers.

Don, as a young man himself, was holding up his end of the bar when we was starting his own small business nearby.

Conor Byrne Pub was a hub of activity in our lives long before we ever owned it, and it most certainly played a role in our decision to buy it. It also played a role in how we ran it, and I like to think that we have harvested communities around the local music scene, provided a safe and welcoming space for everyone, and hopefully a place to just have some fun.

To which none of that would have been possible without the truly amazing staff that stood behind the bar all these years. And to all of them, we are so very thankful, and humbled by your talents and grace.

I cannot emphasize this enough.

It should come as no surprise that the last few years have been a challenge, but even prior to the pandemic the writing was on the wall.

This industry is changing. Habits are changing. One seems less inclined to visit an old dusty pub anymore. All that is to say that as the industry changes, so should we.

But after 19 years of ownership and 30+ of memories, we are not the ones suited to change it. We are looking, and will continue to look for someone to take over this space in hoes they can continue the spirit of old, and also inspire new growth…someone to develop a new paradigm which the ever-changing industry requires if we plan to keep live, local music, and humble beginnings.

If you know me at all, you know how hard it is for me to make this decision. But my heart of hearts tells me it is time. I love this space. I love the staff, so, so, much. I love all the memories, good and bad…and I’m sure a few of the memories that have faded at the bottom of a few pints of Guinness.

Thank you, for letting me share those memories with all of you.

On behalf of Don, Matt and Patrick

All the best…Diarmuid”