Brennan's to Close, Relocate in Spring 2020 as Saint Louis Chess Club Plans Expansion

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PHOTO BY CHRIS KEATING
  • PHOTO BY CHRIS KEATING

This one hurts, St. Louis — but fortunately, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Today, Brennan's (4659 Maryland Avenue, 314-497-4449) announced that after almost seventeen years in business it will close this spring and hopefully relocate to another space in the Central West End. The bar shared the news on its official Facebook page, although other details are sparse right now. Owner Kevin Brennan says that the move is due to the expansion of the Saint Louis Chess Club and that he does not currently have a new building identified, as first reported by Sauce Magazine.

"To put it simply, word got around about this big change sooner than we'd hoped," the Facebook post laments. "We can't tell you too much about our plans for the future at this time, but we're getting ahead of the rumors to let you know the situation."

Billionaire Rex Sinquefield is the founder, president and chairman of the board for the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which first opened in the Central West End in 2008 at 4657 Maryland Avenue, just next door to Brennan's. Since opening eleven years ago, Saint Louis Chess Club has already expanded once, relocating the World Chess Hall of Fame from Florida to 4652 Maryland Avenue in 2011. A partner business, Kingside Diner, which is chess-themed, opened next to the Saint Louis Chess Club in 2015. (The diner operates a second location in Clayton.) With Kingside, the grouping of businesses has been dubbed the "Chess Campus," and now, it appears that it will add the Brennan's space to its board.



Over almost two decades, Brennan's has become a St. Louis institution for its affordable drinks, casual digs and cheeky sense of humor (perhaps best represented in funny behind-the-bar messages like the one pictured above). We at the Riverfront Times certainly hope Brennan's does find a new home, as it's one of those rare bars that feels both established and Cheers-esque for regulars while still innovating and helping push forward our local cocktail scene. It's familiar and welcoming, but it's never lost its edge — for seventeen damn years. In its Facebook post, the bar similarly waxes nostalgic.

"We could go on about love lost and love found, lifelong friendships made, nights we may have stayed a bit too late, visits from Andy Cohen, Dave Chapelle and Julio (if you know, you know), and more," the post reads. "For now we'll just say, 'such good times.'"

Such good times indeed. As for what's next, the Facebook post mentions that the next three months "will be a wild ride," hinting that Brennan's final service may hit in early March.

"We look forward to the challenge of creating something new and original that still feels like something old and familiar," the post says. Thank you to everyone who has ever passed through our doors on Maryland Ave at one point or another. As we work to finalize our plans for the future, we hope to see you in for a drink soon. We know one thing for sure, the next three months will be a wild ride."

The post does not mention Brennan's Work & Leisure (3015 Locust Street, 314-620-3969), the sister business that opened in Midtown last year.

A request for comment from Brennan's was not immediately returned. This story will be updated with new information as it's available.

Here's the post in full:

4659 Maryland.

We could go on about love lost and love found, lifelong friendships made, nights we may have stayed a bit too late, visits from Andy Cohen, Dave Chapelle and Julio (if you know, you know), and more. For now we'll just say, “such good times.”

Trust us, this isn’t an easy note to write, but here goes.

In Spring 2020, after nearly 17 years of business, Brennan's on Maryland Ave will close its doors and seek to reopen in the Central West End at another location.

We look forward to the challenge of creating something new and original that still feels like something old and familiar.

To put it simply, word got around about this big change sooner than we'd hoped. We can't tell you too much about our plans for the future at this time, but we're getting ahead of the rumors to let you know the situation.

Thank you to everyone who has ever passed through our doors on Maryland Ave at one point or another. As we work to finalize our plans for the future, we hope to see you in for a drink soon. We know one thing for sure, the next three months will be a wild ride.

Stay tuned,
Brennan's

Follow Liz Miller on Twitter at @lizzaymillah. We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at liz@riverfronttimes.com.
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