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The Old James Joyce (a.k.a. Brewhouse Cafe Avondale) Closing April 28

The tavern in Avondale Estates has changed its name several times recently.

The Avondale Estates bar that kept changing its name -- from James Joyce Irish Pub to the Hail Mary to the Avondale Arms and finally -- is closing its doors on April 28.

Ashley Wheldon, one of the managers, said Wednesday afternoon, that financial problems brought down the bar on East College Avenue in Avondale Estates.

She said all dozen employees have been offered work at the Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points, the other bar owned by Denise and Michael Gerard.

The bar may not have drawn enough customers, but it got attention because of its identity crisis.

The James Joyce opened in 2002 and developed a loyal following. and reopened a few days later as modeled after a place in Grayson.

Denise Gerard has said she expected the Hail Mary folks to keep running the bar, but they pulled out in December.

The Gerards took over the pub again and named it the Avondale Arms for a short period. The name Brewhouse Cafe Avondale was added last January.

Patch has not been unable to reach the Gerards for comment during the last week by phone, email and dropping into the bar.

The bar maintains a strong Irish atmosphere, with a dark, polished bar and booths and framed posters celebrating Irish sports and culture.

"The atmosphere is great, it reminds me of home," said Sean Reilly, a native of Limerick, Ireland, who was enjoying a beer Wednesday afternoon. "It's not a redneck bar. Look at this workmanship," he said, gesturing around the room.

"They should have left it the James Joyce," he said.

Online comments to other Patch stories showed .

Tim Norris sat at the bar drinking a beer, reading the paper and watching a soccer game.

"I tried all the different incarnations," he said. "It's too bad. I'm not here often enough to say but it looks like there's not enough people."

When the James Joyce closed last fall, patrons held a mock funeral. No plans have been announced for April 28.

Michael Goettee April 18, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Makes me very sad. I hadn't been back since it quit being James Joyce. Sports bars don't interest me, but it was nice to have a pub atmosphere here. I hope someone can buy it and turn it back into something that will bring me back.
clm1950 April 18, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Really sad. We enjoyed the James Joyce. I'm glad all the workers still have a job at the Five Points location.
Virginia Lester April 19, 2012 at 12:43 PM
This place had something missing but not sure what it was? Food was mediocre. We once went w/ a coupon and customer base was sadly lacking but they wouldn't let us use the coupon for some reason....only could use it between certain hours, on certain days, for certain meals! That turned us off to the place, so we decided not to patronize it again!
Julia Ewen April 19, 2012 at 08:02 PM
IMO what killed it was the parking problem. A neighboring business that had been willing to share its parking with the Joyce suddenly became unwilling to do so, and very unfriendly "No Parking, violators will be towed" signs sprouted up overnight like mushrooms on a downed log. That cut the main entrance off from most of the parking (on the other side of the pub) in winter, and entry was not available through the patio. Another business, a retail shop, that abuts the other side of the posted parking lot, bit the dust also. It's not a walker-friendly street. The Joyce used to be full all the time before the parking was jerked out from under it. At least that is my observation. It's been one of my faves and I'm very sad to see it go.
Lucinda May 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I loved the old James Joyce. I enjoyed meeting friends there, and had several parties there, and the owners were so kind and helpful. I hope it finds new owners soon...who will return it to the neighborhood pub it once was.

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