The new concept will be modeled after a family-friendly sports bar, The Hail Mary in Grayson, Georgia, said owner Blake Hawkins.
“We’ve been open for nine years,” said James Joyce owner Denise Gerard, a native of Ireland. “The Irish pub concept hasn’t really worked for us.”
The James Joyce will close with farewell celebrations Friday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 2. There will be a soft opening as The Hail Mary Oct. 4, with the new business planning to be in full swing by Oct. 6.
When it opened in 2002, The James Joyce was the toast of the town, with its mahogany wood interior and authentic Irish décor. But as the economy took its toll, business dropped off and Gerard and her husband Michael began looking to make changes, specifically considering the concept of a sports bar.
“I also own the BrewHouse Cafe in Little Five Points, a sports bar which has done very well,” Gerard said. “Americans like to be able to watch their sports and have a beer in their neighborhood."
The Hail Mary was established in 2008 in Grayson by a group
of sports-loving friends, according to their website. After traveling the world and visiting many pubs, they created the concept and named it after the famous football play, a long shot pass from Dallas Cowboys’ Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson, during a critical playoff game in 1975.
“We’re bringing the concept to Avondale but the store will remain independent of The Hail Mary in Grayson, Hawkins said. In the future, the company will offer franchises.
“We’d been talking to Blake for about a year about the business,” Gerard said. “When we found out he was looking for a second location we thought it would be a good fit for the city.”
“We’re really excited about coming to Avondale,” Hawkins said. “We’re very community oriented and believe in giving back,” he said citing the Grayson Children’s Fund that sponsors several charity events throughout the year including a golf tournament to help underprivileged children.
“We’ll have something for everyone -- from $1.50 draft beer on up,” Hawkins said. The menu will feature familiar items such as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie as well as new items such as chicken wings and a full children’s menu. The family friendly business will feature bingo night as well as trivia and open mic night.
All current employees will remain on staff and Daniel Acree will remain general manager. Gerard will retain ownership of the property and maintain a percentage of the business as a silent partner.