“It’s very hard when you build something from scratch and something happens that’s out of your control,” Christopher Walsh told Boston.com Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t cause this.”
The owner of Conor Larkin’s Grill & Tap, a popular bar near Northeastern University, announced Tuesday that the bar has permanently closed, a direct result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
For Walsh, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“March and April are when I do most of my business for the year,” he said. “And unfortunately, [COVID-19] happened right before St. Patrick’s Day, which obviously is one of the biggest days of the year in Boston. I’d ordered all the product and everything, and then on the 16th, that was it.”
Walsh said that, as students began to vacate the university, the whole neighborhood was “a ghost town,” and takeout and delivery didn’t seem like a viable option. There were ongoing talks about rent abatement with his landlord, who Walsh said was helpful and understanding, but ultimately the “financial hole” was too great.
Walsh opened Conor Larkin’s in 2002 with the goal of creating a gathering place, a goal he said he felt had been achieved.
“It was a long 18 years, and I met fantastic and very interesting people throughout those years that I cherish as an owner,” he said. “It brings joy to me to know that I helped create someone’s memories along the line.”
Still, he feels the sting of the shutter, the latest in a string of permanent closures that have been a direct result of the pandemic.
“I’m really broken up by this,” Walsh said, while expressing appreciation for his staff and regulars. “It was so unexpected and happened so fast. No one was able to prepare for this. It was a big portion of my life, and I’ll miss it.”