EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 27, 2014

Claddagh go bragh

Popular Irish pub no longer for sale

LAWRENCE — Brian Farrell is buying out his three partners at the Claddagh Pub and will continue operating the landmark bar, restaurant and catering hall as its sole owner, ending a year-long effort to sell a last vestige of the city’s fading Irish culture.

A Licensing Board that is itself under new management last night approved Farrell’s application to remove his partners from the bar’s liquor license, a step that needs the approval of the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Also last night, the board gave Brenda Villanova and her husband and daughter an approval they need to sell Rio’s Bar and Grill on Appleton Street to another owner who would operate it as the Spade Lounge. The ABCC has blocked the transfer of the liquor license until the Licensing Board clarified confusion about which family members own and manage the bar, which it did last night.

Also last night, the board delayed action on an approval needed to sell a third prominent bar in the city, D’Todo’s on Broadway, which is owned by City Councilor Oneida Aquino.

The Licensing Board delayed action on Aquino’s request to renew the expired liquor license for D’Todo — also called D’Cache — at the request of her attorney, Sal Tabit, who asked for the delay because Aquino is out of the country. The bar has been closed for several months.

At the Claddagh, Farrell would take over the ownership from partners John Ryan, Paul Morton and James Kearney in exchange for giving up his interest in The Irish Cottage in Methuen, which the four also own together. No money would be exchanged as part of the swap.

When the deal for the Claddagh is complete, Morton will sell what would then be his one-third interest in The Irish Cottage to Kearney and Ryan for $180,000, reducing the restaurant’s ownership from four men to two.

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