Finnegan's Wake and Dark Horse Saloon in Canton change ownership; Irish pub to close

The Baltimore Sun

Southwestern-themed bar Dark Horse Saloon and Irish Pub Finnegan's Wake, the improbably conjoined bars at the former Canton Arts & Entertainment complex, have switched owners.

The pub is poised to close afterSt. Patrick's Day, says Marc McFaul, who after nine months at the helm sold the business to Kenny Der, a regular DJ at Dark Horse. Finnegan's is likely to be turned into an extension of the Southwestern theme at Dark Horse next door.

The switch gives McFaul's tenure the sprawling complex's second-longest run. It lasted a little over five months as Canton Arts and Entertainment, which at one point included a bar, an oyster bar and a restaurant. 

CAE opened in September 2009 and closed the next March. It remained unused except for the occasional private party until McFaul got involved May of last year with his management company Capital Pubs Management. The new businesses, split into an Irish pub and a Southwestern bar, opened in June stocked with the requisite tchotchkes.

There was a James Joyce portrait at the pub and a giant mural of Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti Western at Dark Horse. "We were doing OK," McFaul says. But the initial rush of business dropped after several months.

While Dark Horse had a solid food business, Finnegan's couldn't sustain a following. The bar had become a go-to spot for Buffalo Bills fans, but its fortunes soured along with the team's. By January, it had actually lost money, McFaul said.

The old building was also in need of a fix-up; the air-conditioning on the second floor was busted, for instance. And McFaul didn't want to keep investing money into a building that wasnt his to begin with.

Unlike his other businesses - Ropewalk Tavern, Delia Foley's - which he owns through several management companies, he didn't own the building at 2324 Boston St. It was instead owned by Smyrnioudis Brothers, Ltd., according to property records. 

"Even if the place makes a little bit, I'm putting money into someone else's business," he said.

 McFaul said he wanted to refocus his energies into the other businesses where he has a personal stake. He sold his stake in Capitals March 1.

It's not clear for how long Finnegan's will close. Der has not responded to requests for comment.

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