WASHINGTON -- Cleveland Park bar Ireland's Four Fields is closing on Nov. 5, and the neighborhood's always vibrant online message board has been abuzz, again, with local residents upset at the rumored chatter that Foggy Bottom's McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon will be taking over the space at 3412 Connecticut Ave NW.Wrote one CP message board poster named Jeremy:
Molly, another message board poster, had similar concerns.
"I've been to McFadden's on Pennsylvania Avenue a couple of times, admittedly 5 or 6 years ago. It is, or was then, a 'sticky floor' bar. It allowed women to dance on the bar. It sold upside down margarita's. It had a guest bartender program. (This is a marketing tactic where people are allowed to sign up to bartend for an evening with the assumption that they will attract many of their friends. It is often targeted at fraternities and sororities.)"
"The only way for them to make money is to attract a Rumors/Zoo/College type crowd. The other issue I see is that they will also compete against some locally owned and thriving establishments that are currently in the neighborhood (namely Cleveland Park Bar and Grill)."
Herb asked his fellow CP message board participants to take a more libertarian approach to the prospect of a boozy interloper:
"If we all love Ireland's, then let's focus on how we might be able to contribute towards keeping it alive. But if we don't care enough to do that, then I'm not sure by what right we would presume to tell the landlord what to do with his or her own property."
What the landlord will actually do with the property is still up in the air. The Huffington Post called McFadden's Foggy Bottom location on Thursday afternoon and was told by someone identifying himself as Joe Martin, the bar's general manager, that he didn't know anything about McFadden's coming to Cleveland Park -- and that if it were happening, he'd know.
Or maybe not? Steve Schwat, a principal with Urban Investment Partners, which actually is Ireland's Four Fields landlord, told HuffPost that McFadden's has been negotiating a lease for the space. The negotiations have run into issues "relating to liquor licenses," Schwat said. "There is not a signed lease."
Meanwhile, some message board members -- praising Four Field's owner Frank Hughes for his substantial community involvement, for hosting fundraisers, and for keeping a neighborhood-friendly establishment -- are holding out hope that the old bar won't go anywhere. "If we signal our opposition, maybe Four Fields will get a break and stay," wrote Ana Evans in a message board post.
It's probably worth remembering that even Four Fields was once the target of some online complaints. In 2005, back when Ireland's Four Fields was still known as Ireland's Four Provinces, or 4P's, a CP message board member named Steve Seidman thought that things there were too rowdy for Cleveland Park: "Does anyone know whether the 4P's has a permit to take up the sidewalk on Conn Ave to park beer trucks? In my curmudgeonly middle age, using public space to facilitate getting people drunk in the morning does not seem to be in the public interest or the interest of our neighborhood."
Stay tuned ...
Flickr photo by Mr. T in DC