UPDATE (Jan. 18): Not so fast. Although the Baltimore Business Journal reported soon-to-be new owner (paperwork still needs to be completed to make it official, he said) Steve O'Donnell would "likely 'keep everything the same'" at J. Patrick's, O'Donnell says that's not the case. During a phone conversation this morning, he said he will likely leave it as an Irish bar, but that "it can't stay open and operate how it is right now."
"Is it going to stay J. Patrick's? It can't stay that way," O'Donnell said. "The whole place needs to be gutted. There's leaks all over the place. We can't open it up like it is right now."
O'Donnell bought the building without walking inside of it. He also says he was unfamiliar with the way J. Patrick's operated, which includes the performances from Irish bands and dancers. O'Donnell hasn't ruled out incorporating those elements, but it's clear he wants to turn the new bar into a place the entire Locust Point community (including the former J. Patrick's clientele) will want to go to.
"We're going to perform a market research survey and give the residents of Locust Point a place to gather and get good food and drinks," he said.
It's also undecided whether it will remain J. Patrick's Pub or if it will take on a new name. ("Am I going to keep the name? I haven't even thought about it.") O'Donnell said he had hoped to open for St. Patrick's Day, but that was before he realized the entire building needed to be renovated.
"So much is in the air because of the condition of the place," he said.
O'Donnell, a first-time restaurant owner, says that while almost everything is up in the air in terms of the direction of the establishment, he's confident he can make it a winner.
"It'll be the place to be," he said. "I'll tell you that right now."
Posted Jan. 17:
On Jan. 1, J. Patrick's Pub in Locust Point closed. Nine days later, it went to auction and, as the Baltimore Business Journal reported, Steve O'Donnell, president of the Elkridge steel distributor Steven F. O'Donnell Inc., purchased the beloved Irish staple for $430,000.
O'Donnell, brand new to the restaurant business, could have pressed the restart button on J. Patrick's, turning it into a chic gastropub or a retro diner or a hip Thai fusion spot ... or anything, really.
Instead, O'Donnell apparently realized some establishments don't need to start over. He told the BBJ that he will likely "leave everything the same." You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the Pub's passionate regulars.
Interestingly enough, the BBJ's report says O'Donnell, an Irish-American from Roland Park, had never been to J. Patrick's before. O'Donnell purchased the building and its liquor license, the article states.
No word yet on when J. Patrick's Pub will reopen. I've placed a call to O'Donnell and will update this post if he has new information.
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