The James Joyce/Hail Mary Becomes the Avondale Arms -- For Now

The pub will soon become the Brewhouse Cafe in Avondale Estates -- or something like that, the owner says.

Avondale Estates' most popular watering hole is having an identity crisis.

The establishment known for years as the and for the last two-and-half months as The Hail Mary sports bar started calling itself the Avondale Arms last weekend.

That won't last long, owner Denise Gerard said Sunday night.

Gerard, who also owns the popular Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points, said the Avondale pub will adopt a similar name soon. It will keep elements of a sports bar, such as multiple television sets, she said.

What happened?

The James Joyce opened in 2002 and had a loyal following. It stopped operating under that name in late September, .

It opened a few days later as The Hail Mary and had a ribbon cutting attended by the city commission.

The Hail Mary in Avondale was modeled after and run by the Hail Mary sports bar in Grayson. Gerard said the folks who run the Hail Mary had planned to take over with a long-term lease in January.

"Last week we met and they said, 'We can't do that,' " Gerard said.

Gerard started running the pub again, needed a new name quick and went with the Avondale Arms.

She said she immediately changed the menu, using many dishes from the Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points. Business was good over the weekend, she said.

She'll said she'll need to nail down a name before January when liquor licenses are renewed.

"Everybody says you should call it the Brewhouse in Avondale," she said.

Patch telephoned the manager of the Hail Mary Sunday and left a voice message, but didn't get a call back.

 Gerard said the Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points has a large following of soccer and rugby fans. She hopes some of them will come to Avondale Estates, especially fans with children.





Karla Schell January 01, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I miss the good ol' James Joyce, the neighborhood atmosphere and a good place to meet friends after work. The too loud TV's and standard bar food are not really what we need here in our community. We can get that anywhere! I have been sorry to see all the changes; not all for the better. I hope that we get a return to good tasting, fresh food and drink again.
Julia Ewen January 06, 2012 at 02:10 AM
The new sign is up: Avondale Arms Sports Pub. I still say "sports pub" is the wrong image to attract the locals from Avondale Estates and Decatur. Just call it the Avondale Arms, and in old fashioned pub style, include on the sign a picture of a tankard and a dish of food to let folks know it's a food and drink establishment. You can keep the big screen TVs for the sports fans. Just keep the volume low enough that the rest of us can talk to the "one who brung us". Maybe Irish isn't "in" any more, but the sports bar has also had its day. What with satellite TV in every home and the Growler selling beer in large take-home containers, home offers greater comfort and the same food and grog without the drawback of driving home drunk. We don't want a drinkers' hangout. We want a family-oriented place that will serve good moderate priced dinners and lunches as well as the snacks and bar food for those who just drop in for "one" and an update on what the team is doing. We don't mind sharing the space with people interested in sports, but MUST it be the main focus? Single ladies and older people have the money and time to go out to eat. Those on the beer and wings budtet, not so much these days. Some market rethinking might be in order.
David February 06, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I went back to the Joyce after a long time not going there, because of how bad the wait staff were. On my seonc visit to the Hail Mary I saw the manager and the staff having shots of Jaegermeister while on duty. On the 3rd visit, it was so cold in there because the doors were all open and a cold breeze was blowing through. I made the observation and bartender ignored me. When I finally said somehting directly, he said didn't you see I was busy? I havent been back there since.
David February 06, 2012 at 06:30 PM
The hot brown was good at the Hail Mary
David February 06, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Don't expect Gerald to care about what we say. WE've sent lettters directly to her about problems at her bar. She never responded and never did anything to change things.


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