Since 1997, long before East Fourth Street was a bustling entertainment district, Flannery’s Irish Pub
(323 Prospect Ave., 216-781-7782) has been providing good cheer in the form of beer, spirits and food to large and consistent crowds. It is a staple destination on St. Patrick’s Day and is stop number one for many bound for a Cavs or Indians game.
This week, the legendary Cleveland pub changed hands from MRN Ltd., the principal developer of East Fourth, to Doug Petkovic, a partner in Michael Symon Restaurants.
“The opportunity presented itself to acquire Flannery’s and I decided to take advantage of it,” says Petkovic, adding that this is not a Symon venture. “We looked at the opportunity as a group as we always do, but decided that the project didn’t fit with what we have going on right now. We’re very focused on two new restaurants in Vegas and the Lolita property.”
Petkovic, along with partners Jeff Schmittgen and John Gaydosh, said there was much to love about the bar and restaurant, and that he was fortunate to become its next steward.
“This is an iconic property and location, and they have done a great job over the past 20-something years of building the brand of Flannery’s,” he notes. “It’s difficult enough to create something new and build a brand – all I hope to do is build upon that and improve it.”
The 8,000-square-foot, 150-seat bar sits at the corner of East Fourth Street and Prospect, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lola, Mabel’s BBQ, Chinato, Red, House of Blues and Hilarities. Petkovic, who took possession this week, said that fans of the property should expect no major changes in name, concept or even staff, but they should look forward to numerous physical improvements.
“We are working with management to form a plan as to how we’ll go about the changes,” he says. “They may come in stages or over time, but we don’t foresee a large shutdown for an extended period of time. But we are going to sink a considerable amount of money into the property. It’s tired; it needs some love.”
If your favorite server, bartender or manager happens to work at Flannery’s, you should expect to continue seeing their smiling faces in the future, adds Petkovic.
“The cornerstone of that property are the employees, who are awesome,” he says. “One of the most difficult things in the hospitality industry right now is labor, finding good help – even finding any help. Flannery’s has some employees who have been there for 20 years.”