Owner con­firms Anna Lif­fey’s closes

Pop­u­lar Ir­ish pub first opened in ’97

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Este­ban L. Her­nan­dez

NEW HAVEN — Anna Lif­fey’s, a pop­u­lar Ir­ish pub known for hold­ing sports watch par­ties and serv­ing tra­di­tional Ir­ish fare, closed its lo­ca­tion on Whit­ney Av­enue.

Anna Lif­fey’s owner Pa­trick Mans­field said Fri­day the restau­rant was clos­ing as its lease ex­pired. Mans­field did not spec­ify why the lease was not re­newed, other than “it wasn’t an op­tion any­more.” The de­ci­sion was made “just a few days ago,” Mans­field said.

The pub also was known for hold­ing mu­si­cal per­for­mances, open-mic nights and trivia nights. It first was opened in 1997 by three Ir­ish-born friends ea­ger to bring the Ir­ish pub to Greater New Haven and stave off po­ten­tial home­sick­ness.

Anna Lif­fey’s last day was Sun­day.

“That was it,” Mans­field said solemnly.

Af­ter word spread of the bar’s clos­ing this week, peo­ple started reach­ing out, Mans­field added.

“I would like to thank ev­ery­body, all the cus­tomers over our years,” Mans­field said. “We ap­pre­ci­ate them, and they’re won­der­ful peo­ple with great cus­tomers. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate their

sup­port . ... There was so much love from so many peo­ple. It’s nice to hear all that.”

Mans­field said there was no an­i­mos­ity or “is­sues” be­tween him and build­ing owner John W. Colleran. Mans­field said the two are cor­dial. Colleran was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment Fri­day.

Mans­field didn’t spec­ify the num­ber of em­ploy­ees who lost jobs due to the clo­sure, only say­ing it was “less than 10 em­ploy­ees.” He said he be­lieves most of them will be OK and find sim­i­lar jobs.

Cou­pled with Trin­ity Bar’s clo­sure while un­der­go­ing re­pair fol­low­ing a fire, Anna Lif­fey’s loss leaves Christy’s Ir­ish Pub as the only Ir­ish-style bar and restau­rant in down­town New Haven. John Greco, man­ager at Trin­ity Bar, said Fri­day they’re seek­ing to re-open by Christ­mas or New Year’s, though he said that could change based on re­pair progress.

Mans­field said the Play­wright Ir­ish Pub in Ham­den is an­other op­tion for lo­cals seek­ing a nearby Ir­ish pub. “It’s kind of a vac­uum,” Mans­field said. “It’s kind of un­for­tu­nate.”

An em­ployee at Christy’s ear­lier this week is­sued a state­ment on be­half of its staff on Anna Lif­fey’s clo­sure. The pub on Or­ange Street faced crit­i­cism ear­lier this week af­ter post­ing what many con­sid­ered an in­sen­si­tive post on Face­book aimed at Anna Lif­fey’s clo­sure. Christy’s is­sued an apol­ogy fol­low­ing the back­lash.

Christy’s founder, Christy Mul­hall, was one of the orig­i­nal co-founders at Anna Lif­fey’s. Mul­hall is no longer as­so­ci­ated with his name­sake bar.

“We’re sad to see a fel­low busi­ness close and we ex­tend our deep­est sym­pa­thies to the staff at Lif­fey’s,” Christy’s state­ment said. “It was a home for many and Christy’s first ven­ture with Pa­trick al­most 20 years ago. Many re­la­tion­ships were forged there and cher­ished here at Christy’s as well.”

Anna Lif­fey’s other lo­ca­tion in Fair­field closed in June. Mans­field said it’s pos­si­ble they may look to open else­where, and said he’s con­sid­er­ing re­lo­ca­tion. But for now, he’s “tak­ing a breather.”

“We had a good rep­u­ta­tion,” Mans­field said. “We’d been here at this lo­ca­tion for al­most 20 years. I think peo­ple just like Anna Lif­fey’s. They like to come here and have a beer, or a cock­tail. Re­lax. I think there’s al­ways a need for a good place where you can come and re­lax.”

Este­ban L. Her­nan­dez / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Out­side Anna Lif­fey’s on Whit­ney Av­enue in down­town New Haven.

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