Brendan Behan Pub To Celebrate 35 Years

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

On Sunday, June 18, beginning at 2 p.m., the beloved Brendan Behan Pub is holding an event to celebrate its 35th anniversary, welcoming all to enjoy live music, giveaways, food, drinks, and more.

The pub, which is named after the famous Irish poet Brendan Behan has been a staple of Jamaica Plain for many years and was originally under the ownership of Gerry Brennan and Finbar “Butch” Murray.

“These two guys – they did a phenomenal job by opening and creating a very friendly atmosphere with live music and all the good stuff – from the moment they opened, they were very, very successful,” said the current Owner, Michel Soltani.

“I remember myself when they opened – it was a beautiful setup.”

While Brennan and Murray had their share of success – when it was time for them to move on and retire, they sold the pub to Soltani – who at the time was involved with Mission Bar & Grill – and his partner Harry Walsh in 2007.

Soltani then became the sole owner of the pub about four or five years ago, while Walsh went on to focus on the Mission Bar & Grill.

“Since then – technically – we let it be as it is. We just did some light renovations because we didn’t want to change the inside – everybody was worried about us just destroying the bar,” said Soltani.

Although there were minor renovations to the bathrooms back then, Soltani said, “We continued doing what was previously done by those two smart guys – we just let it be and continued operations.”

While the Brendan Behan Pub has seen its share of success over the years, one roadblock almost derailed the establishment before it could reach 35 years – the pandemic. However, that obstacle was overcome by what some may consider sheer serendipity.

Before the pandemic about five years ago, Soltani had requested that the pub’s back patio be zoned so that it could serve patrons because, at the time, it was just an area for trash.

“As soon as we opened – the Covid kicked in a month after,” said Soltani. The new zoning for the back patio enabled the pub to stay open during the pandemic, even during the winter when it was covered and had heat.

“The back patio was technically a solution – we could advertise and say here, come on down, our back patio is open, and it’s heated, and that technically saved us from going bankrupt and causing us to be closed for good,” said Soltani.

While the pub was able to power through to year 35, it did not come without hardships. Soltani indicated that everyone on the staff got Covid, and significant business debt was taken on. However, through it all, he alluded to how supportive those in Jamaica Plain have been.

“During the pandemic, the Jamaica Plain people they really 100 percent supported business, especially the staff; they were treating our staff real good and trying to make sure the Behan would not close like others,” said Soltani.

Now with Covid in the rearview mirror, the Brendan Behan Pub’s celebration will not only commemorate its 35th anniversary but serve as a day for everyone to come out to a community jewel and have some fun.

“We want to get everybody coming in – checking out the back patio, checking out the front, listen to the live music, and just get together,” said Soltani.

“We are very, very excited to see the people which we have not seen for years for different reasons.”

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