We always hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Brendan O’Shea’s Pub in St. Matthews is officially closed as of this week.

Tom O’Shea, president of what is now a three pub company (O’Shea’s Irish Pub, Flanagan’s and Patrick O’Shea’s), confirmed the closure in an email, saying that business had struggled for better than a year.

An out of town group approached his ownership team about buying the business, and “we met with staff and decided this would be in the best interest,” O’Shea wrote.  The result, he added, is “We will give greater focus to our existing restaurants.”

Once the details of the sale are finalized, O’Shea said he’ll announce the names of the new owners and what that concept will be.

This is a bummer in many ways, not the least of which is the loss of a key player in St. Matthew’s increasingly good lineup of pubs. Many, including me, hoped it might take on the feel of Baxter Avenue’s row of pubs, but alas, it’s not to be.

Since I didn’t request a formal interview with O’Shea yet, I haven’t had the chance to ask if the addition of Molly Malone’s across the street (also within throwing distance of Bluegrass Brewing Co.) almost two years ago had any negative effect on sales. At the very least, the sequence of events makes that appear possible.

Whatever the reason, kudos to O’Shea’s owners for making a smart business decision to stop the bleeding. Too many owners hang on hoping things will change and lose their savings and properties keeping businesses on life support.

I went to Brendan’s only about once a quarter, and if it wasn’t a Friday night, it was never packed like at BBC—especially during ballgames. Maybe it never created its own vibe like some of its sister pubs have.

Whatever the case, farewell, Brendan. Ye always served me well, laddy!

Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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