Kelly’s Irish Pub & Eatery — the Quad-City area’s go-to St. Patrick's Day party host — has closed.
“It was just time to move on,” said Dan Kelly, who opened the bar and restaurant at 2222 E. 53rd St., Davenport, in 2004.
“We had a great 13 years there,” Kelly said. “It's time to close it down and move on to something else.”
He closed the bar's doors on Sunday. Its website and Facebook page have also been taken down. Kelly didn’t comment on why the bar closed, saying, “It’s surreal and kind of too fresh to go too deep into it.”
“We tried to come up with different solutions and that’s where we came up,” he said.
He does not plan to re-open Kelly's Irish Pub.
“It’s not temporary for me," he said. "It's gone. It’s not something that will come back.”
Robert Meyer, store manager of Grand Appliance and TV, which is located in the same plaza as Kelly's, noticed the closed sign outside the bar on Tuesday.
"I was just surprised to see it," he said.
Grand Appliance and TV has been part of the strip of businesses on 53rd Street, owned by Davenport-based Montgomery Landsqc, for three years.
Meyer said he and his colleagues frequently stopped by Kelly's for lunch.
"They've been a great neighbor and they will be greatly missed," he said.
Kelly didn't say if he saw the closure coming ahead of time, but he referenced a post written Tuesday by Greg Dwyer, co-host of area radio station WXLP-FM (96.9), better known as “97X,” in which Dywer wrote, “And I suppose in some small way I was part of the problem. I loved that place, but only went a couple times a year.”
“I think that kind of nails it home,” Kelly said. “If there’s locally operated places you like, don’t take it for granted. Support your local bars, restaurants, bands, artists."
“The bar and restaurant world is a great and exciting thing, but it’s a seven day a week deal," he added.
After growing up in the bar business — his father, Jerry Kelly, who died in 1999, ran the former Kelly's Circle Tap on Locust Street in Davenport for 21 years — Dan Kelly told himself, “I’m gonna go out and do it.”
“So many people spend their whole lives wanting to open a bar,” he said. “I took my chances and I did what people dream about doing for 13 years.”
Along the way, he made Kelly’s Irish Pub into a place for “great parties and great people.”
His annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival, which Kelly called Iowa’s largest, swelled to an attendance of 20,000 people in recent years and featured skydiving leprechauns, concerts, over 100 kegs of beer and specialty food, such as corn beef and cabbage nachos served in a helmet.
“I keep thinking about all of the great people we met and all the people who met their spouses or best friends there," he said. "We affected people’s lives in a positive way.”
Many have reached to Kelly after hearing about the bar’s closing on social media or driving up to see the hand-written “Closed” sign taped on the establishment’s front door.
“It’s kind of amazing how many positive comments, emails, phone calls and texts that I’ve gotten,” Kelly said. “For me, it’s real positive. It’s about people and the experience.”
Looking forward, Kelly said he wants to focus on spending time with his wife and four children and “take a time out for awhile.”
“I want to spend time with the people I love,” he said.
Kelly, a Davenport native, also plans to spend time thinking about new business ideas.
“Now, it’s like, let’s see what the next dream is,” Kelly said. “Wouldn’t it be great if the next 10 years were even better than the last 10 years? That’s my look on life.”