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After 32 years, an Irish wake for the Purple Shamrock

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  August 30, 2012 04:15 PM

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(Globe file/2003)

Melissa Mullins, then 22, enjoyed a cigarette outside the Purple Shamrock in this Globe file photo from May 5, 2003.

A downtown pub that has been open longer than many of its patrons have been alive is set to shutter for good, but it’s not going down quietly.

The Purple Shamrock, set to close on Sept. 15 after 32 years of operation at 1 Union St., will host Irish-themed festivities to celebrate its long service to locals, college students, and visitors to such nearby attractions as Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Haymarket, Government Center, and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

“For 32 years the Purple Shamrock has brought people from all over together,” said Paul Wilson, director of operations for Shamrock owners the Glynn Hospitality Group, in a statement released by the firm. “While we are sad to see the Shamrock close on Sept. 15, we are excited about some possibilities of a reincarnation in the future.”

On Saturday, Sept. 8, beginning at 2 p.m., the Shamrock will host a Samuel Adams Stein Hoist, where contestants compete to see who can hold a large beer stein aloft the longest. Then, from 4 – 8 p.m. Saturday, local musician Jim Plunkett will make the last of many appearances at the Shamrock over the past 24 years.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, the Shamrock will host an Irish wake, with a parade that will include an empty casket and a group of bagpipers. A purple guestbook will be available for patrons to pay their last respects, and the bar will hand out prayer cards and offer limited-edition “Last Call” t-shirts for sale.

Saturday, Sept. 15, the bar’s final night in operation is also the halfway point to next St. Patrick’s Day, the biggest day of the year for the Irish pub. To celebrate, the Shamrock will feature live music and a full St. Patrick’s Day menu with green beer. The Shamrock encourages patrons to dress in their greenest garments and celebrate Irish traditions until last call.

The Shamrock is just the latest casualty of rising rents on downtown commercial spaces. Wilson, the operations manager, told the Globe in February that the building’s owner had asked for a 60 percent rent increase, which Wilson said it could not afford.

That location became the subject of controversy last month, when Mayor Thomas M. Menino said the fried chicken fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, which had expressed interest in opening its first Boston franchise in that space, was unwelcome in Boston due to statements made against same-sex marriage by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A.

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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