With Little Fanfare, Tom English’s Scheduled to Close on April 1st
Boston, MA– There’s never been a shortage of neighborhood watering holes that bear the label "iconic". More often than not, all a bar has to do cement itself as a local fixture is remain open for more than a year without renovation and someone will eventually immortalize it as a fabled wonderland of endless streams of beer and unjustifiable hubris. The Lower Depths? Iconic. Phoenix Landing? Iconic.The Kinsale? Iconic. There are so many foam-sticky icons scattered throughout the greater Boston area, you have to wonder if the local bar scene has taken on ecclesiastic status or simply suffers from a wholesale lack of imagination.
Despite decades of standing tall since… well, no one can really remember, Tom English’s would rarely be the sort of bar referred to as iconic. Not even with a paint job. Not even in the wildest dreams of tourism officials or would-be screenwriters. Tom English’s is a nondescript corner bar more renowned for Keno, wobbly pool tables, and $7 buckets than it is for extravagant accolades. It’s brusque, unwelcoming and the sort of place where you might find some unidentifiable food substance attached to your glass despite the fact they don’t actually have a kitchen. In short, it’s a bar to drink in. Not to Instagram.
And as of April 1st, it will be permanently closed.
Tom English’s demise was first hinted at in 2017, when the parcel on which it sits was sold to Adam Sarbaugh of Cornerstone Real Estate, a local development firm specializing in both residential and commercial properties. At the time, Sarbaugh indicated that while he envisioned a mixed use development being built on the spot, he would seek a liquor license transfer for the immediate future. Sarbaugh’s attorney at the time further indicated that the owner had no interest in running “the Tom English’s concept” anymore.
But its fate was finally sealed in April of last year, when the Boston Planning and Development Authority approved Sarbaugh’s decision to construct a mixed-use development consisting of a 38-unit residential condominium with a ground-level gastropub style restaurant and a market.
The adjacent Dorchester Market, a small independently owned convenience store, will also close in early April.
So while both join the ranks of the nearby Dot Tavern and the Cornerstone Pub as the latest casualties under the heel of the ever encroaching promise of urban renewal, try to shed at least one single solitary tear for the soul of Tom English’s into your $9 PBR tall boy at Bukowski’s this April Fool’s Day. Some of us have lost the better part of many a paycheck there.
Tom English’s is located at 957 Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester.