Lyle Michael Farmer said he was planning to have the tavern back open this weekend but would give no details about the reason for its closing.
"It’s a very difficult economic climate," he said. "I’m doing the best I can."
Occupying the picturesque corner of Thames and South Ann streets, the tavern was opened by Charles "Chuck" Doering in 1978 in what was then Five Points Tavern, an old sailor bar. Doering renamed the tavern John Steven Ltd. after his son Matthew's teddy bear.
Offering an eclectic mix of Mozart music and seafood, John Steven quickly found a following among a new generation of Fells Point residents and visitors. Later came, of all things, sushi, which was prepared and served from a cubicle near the front entrance. Doering said he sold the business to Farmer, along with another associate, in 2006. Doering said he heard the bar had closed this week but knew nothing more.
"I'm not privy to that information," he said.