“It really didn’t have much to do with COVID-19, to be perfectly honest,” Barlow’s owner Tom Devlin said, explaining how his company, Superior Dining Group, sold the building that Barlow’s occupied in August 2019 to rental company Akelius.
“We signed a one-year lease with them [in August 2019],” Devlin said. “They wanted us to sign a lease so they would have an operator in there for a year. The year is over on August 8, which was the closing day of last year, so that’s where we were at.”
While COVID-19 was not the driving factor behind closing, Devlin said that the pandemic has led to an environment that is “too unstable and uncertain” to consider renewing the lease. Barlow’s was known for hosting large functions, and Devlin said he didn’t see any of that coming back anytime soon. He did, however, confirm that his company is holding on to the restaurant’s liquor license, with the idea that they’ll open a new restaurant in the not-so-distant future.
The Superior Dining Group’s other restaurants — Brighton Bodega, Copper House Tavern, Devlin’s Restaurant, Orlean’s Restaurant, Porter Belly’s Pub, and The Warren Tavern — are doing better than Devlin expected. He said the group owns the real estate at each restaurant, and there is ample outdoor space among them.
“Slowly but surely we’ve been seeing people coming inside, especially days like today when it’s 100 degrees and humid,” he said. “It’ll be interesting what the fall brings.”
When Superior Dining Group bought the building that currently houses Barlow’s in 2008 before opening the restaurant in December 2009, Fort Point was a drastically different neighborhood. Devlin described it as a transient area, with offices continuously opening and closing and numerous businesses affected by the 2008 financial crisis. But Barlow’s managed to forge relationships with its neighbors, hosting baby showers and wedding receptions.
“We had a lot of support from our neighbors and made a lot of good friends in the artist’s community,” Devlin said. “It was definitely a good time.”
Barlow’s will finish out its decade-long run on Friday, when it closes at 2 a.m. The restaurant is located at 241 A St. in Boston.
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