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Hennessey's Washington Bar to Close by End of Year

Potential new owners have submitted plans to town that would call for larger dining area, smaller bar area.

A Morristown icon will be gone by the end of the year.

The Facebook page for Hennessey's Washington Bar, on Morris Street, announced Tuesday afternoon the business had been sold and would be closing by the end of the year.

An employee at the landmark watering hole confirmed the news, saying employees had only found out about the pending closure a couple days prior.

"The rumors are true ... Hennessey's has been sold," the Facebook message reads. "We will be here through the end of the year. We will keep you posted as to our closing date and the end of an era in Morristown. So, come down for some cheer and tears."

During Tuesday's council meeting, Town Clerk Matthew Stechauner noted the person-to-person liquor license transfer—not yet completed by the applicant—is expected to be on the Dec. 11 town council agenda. During the meeting he said one of the applicants, Paul Haley, had submitted plans that would increase the number of seats in the dining section while reducing the number in the bar area.

Hennessey's was a .

Patch will provide more information as it becomes available.

Cynthia November 20, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Well, this certainly came out of nowhere. I remember what it looked like before they remodeled it. Sad that the quieter and more lowkey places are closing.
Ryan November 20, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Hopefully something with some good beer comes in!
Cynthia November 20, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Good beer with cheaper prices than Side Bar prices and I'm in!!!
JPB November 20, 2012 at 08:21 PM
The sad part is that the new bar is suppose to be called Haleys Comet. Not sure what time of clientele that name will attract but it doesn't sound like a quiet bar that will offer a good selection of anything. Heard Walsh is involved which means another raucous bar in MoTown. I can assure you that Chuck Slate and his trio will just be a memory to those of us who remember him. Sad! First Obama wins, then Sandy hits and now nowhere to drown my sorrows:(
Chris November 20, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Eh... out of all the bars in town, I think I have gone here the least. I know people who love this bar, but all in all, I am not really to surprised that it is closing down. Its never really busy. Its not really the hip/trendy bars like the rest of Morristown has. Hopefully something good will replace it.
Cynthia November 20, 2012 at 08:32 PM
That is the point, though. There are plenty of hip and trendy bars in Morristown, but Hennessey's has been here forever, much like The Colonial (which also has closed and has been sold). Both were certainly known as a spot for locals. I'm sad to see it go.
John Dunphy November 20, 2012 at 08:45 PM
JPB, where have you heard that re: Haleys Comet, Walsh's, etc.?
Ridgewood320 November 20, 2012 at 09:31 PM
The statement that the Walsh family is all involved is 100% false. Couldn't be farther from the truth, I assure you.
MoTownRes November 20, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Rumor has it that Art Flynn and Paul Haley are the buyers but are being backed by the Walsh family. Which would be the 5th liquor license in town the Walshes are a part of. (Dark Horse, Tashmoo, Sona, Colonial, Hennessey's).
CHB November 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Heard there was a silent partner hmmmm wonder who could be ?
Maria November 20, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I hear Mayor Dougherty owns Iron Bar and Gran Cantina with his friends. Does anyone know if this is true?
MoTownRes November 20, 2012 at 10:58 PM
The Iron Bar is owned by Jimmy Cavanaugh, he brought his license from the end of South Street where he owned Jimmy's/Phoebe's/Society Hill, etc.
Maria November 20, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Cavanaugh is not the only owner Mo TownRes! People are saying he owns most of it with some kid named Darrel and the rest is in secret trusts.
JPB November 20, 2012 at 11:27 PM
@MotownRes. That is what I heard too. Hense, the name Haleys Comet. The plot thickens.
clyde donovan November 20, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Morristown need to reduce the number of bars by 50 percent,but that will never happen because of something known as corruption.
schabadoo November 21, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Lord I hope not. There's enough safety concerns for bar patrons already.
rationalhuman November 21, 2012 at 02:15 AM
you are an idiot, clyde
Motown Resident November 21, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I also heard the "Iron Bar" is owned by a trust in addition to Jimmy, which did not have to disclose the trust ownership. It's hard to believe that the ownership of the trust couldn't be disclosed somehow, does anyone have an idea how to pursue that?
Tara H. November 21, 2012 at 03:55 AM
So sad to hear this! I love Hennessey's for being one of the last of its kind around here. People who come here to drink do exactly that- drink. No worries of packed crowds, covers, expensive drinks, getting dressed up, overly loud music, or any other of the now "club setting" types the bars have turned into. And it's nice to see the same bartenders and familiar faces. Oh and the biggest disappointment- it's the best for St. Pattys Day! I vote Hennesseys anyday over Dublin Pub, Sona, Grasshopper, or any other "Irish" themed bar in Motown. What a shame :(
Alex November 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Yes, I agree - turn away businesses!! NO to anything that might bring people and $ into Morristown! Sheesh, what is everyone's problem with bars?!?! How many of you have ACTUALLY ever had any issue at all related to a bar or bar-patron?
Anthony November 21, 2012 at 04:41 PM
All good things in this world come to an end guys. Let's just home that the new owners do diligently in the name of building character (like Hennesy's had), craft beer and maybe an upscaled tech. approach (possibly ordering with a tablet that the server carries) to streamline things (especially because they are increasing the dining seating) to make up for closing down something we all knew and loved.
motownfan November 21, 2012 at 05:49 PM
This is a sad announcement. Fifteen years ago I changed employment and ended up in Morristown. I was introduced to Jim Hennessey and his non trendy place and became a regular customer. That old show Cheers could have been based on Hennessey's. Sure the place attracted a wide range of personalities...but it was always friendly. It was normal to strike up a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you, who then was a stranger no more. The draw of the place was its personality (and good beer), and unfortunately I haven't found another one even close to being that comfortable for any customer of any ilk to walk in and sit down and feel welcome. I hope Jim enjoys his retirement. I will miss him and his comfortable and welcoming bar where everybody knows your name.
Nordrom Keni November 21, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Right on Cynthia. I'm tired of all these overpriced trendoid bars and restaurants where everyone wears their NYC best. How about a simple place where you can wear crappy jeans and a t-shirt and have some drinks without all the pretentiousness? The only places left are Pete's, Danny's...I think that's it. Cutters was a great low key place, then it closed and George & Marthas took its place. Blech.
Nordrom Keni November 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Morristown needs to reduce the number of clyde donovans by 100%, but that will never happen because of something known as human stupidity.
Nordrom Keni November 21, 2012 at 05:53 PM
You can find that same atmosphere at Pete's (although the bar is very small). Just a matter of time before Pete's closes.
Lois Lane November 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Glad to read that new owners are thinking larger dining and less bar space. It would be nice to have a decent "grown up" place for residents to go for cocktails and dinner, even better would be small plates/tapas. Right now the only place that fills the bill for that is David Todd's.
Motown Resident November 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
David Todd's is a "grown up" place with "grown up" prices. $40 for drinks before dinner, (1 round) and $250 for dinner and apps. for four. (I know, you have to pay to play)...............
Paddy O'Furniture November 22, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Good for Jim bad for those of us who have patronized the place we called "the Wash", "ham-bones" and "second home" for 35 years or more. Go in and look at the picture of the original Washington Hotel near the front door. There is a history and legacy there! You can't stop progress but we can hope for simple reminders of how it used to be and Hennessey's always reminded me of the good old days.
Nancy Bodnar December 04, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Very sad for Hennessy's patrons. Hope he enjoys a happy & well deserved retirement. Many fond memories of good conversations while sitting on the pew before remodeling...;-)
Angelina Fontaine January 11, 2013 at 03:18 AM
that sounds accurate, the trust was created by his mother...i am sure there is a way to find out..just not sure how

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