Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Blow to Berkeley Entertainment: Beckett's Closes

By Kathleen Richards
Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 11:42 AM

In another blow to entertainment and nightlife in Berkeley, Beckett's closed its doors earlier this month for good. According to the Daily Cal, the transfer of ownership to new owner Jean-Yves Duperret, who apparently plans to open a bistro in the space, began back in early May.

Martin Connolly, who owns Beckett's as well as Johnny Foley's Irish House in San Francisco with his wife Mary Connolly, said the decision was the "toughest" he's had to make in his life. Though he said the business had ample support from the community, the main problem was that they had too big a space for their needs. "We rent 6,000 square feet but we're only using 2,000 square feet," he said. With that extra floor of space came the added overhead costs, such as insurance, which is what ultimately became too burdensome, he said. "The business wasn’t profitable."

The Connollys opened Beckett's in 2001 and helped rehabilitate the building, which was designed by Bay Area architect W. F. Yelland and once housed the music instrument shop Tupper and Reed. In addition to being an Irish pub, Beckett's also featured regular live music, including the popular singer Nicole McRory, who has been battling cancer. "It became a real community center over there," said Connolly, who added that he has no plans to close Foley's in San Francisco.

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