Story and photo by Hal Goodtree.
Cary, NC – Connolly’s Irish Pub, long a stalwart of the food music and neighborhood scene in Cary, closed it’s doors without comment or announcement last week. Chairs and tables are neatly stacked inside, but the Pub has not been open in several days.
A Place for Local Bands
When Connolly’s opened in 1999, it was just one small room in Cornerstone Shopping center (corner of Davis & High House).
I remember playing there with Bonus Room in December of 2006 – jammed in behind the front door. A cold breeze would waft over the band every time someone came or left.
Soon after, Connolly’s expanded into the space next door, adding a proper dining room. But the timing was bad and the economy tanked. Sami, then the manager, would sometimes remark to the bands on the lack of a robust dinner trade.
I played there again with SHMaK last year – good times, good crowd. Lots of other bands played there, too. Almost every weekend had something. Our buddy DJ George was a regular favorite.
Facebook and Twitter lit up with the news last week:
Sorry for the last-minute cancellation.. but Connolly’s Irish Pub finally closed their doors for the last time.. Anyone know a venue looking for a party this Sat nite.. I can help ;) – DJ George on Facebook
Others lamented the end of an era:
Everytime I drive past Connelly’s and see the lights off it makes me sad. Please come back! – Karyen on Facebook
…too bad. I have played some of my favorite gigs there over the years and I met some of my dearest friends inside that building. Hopefully it will rebound into something else. – Bob on Facebook
Met some amazing friends here!! First place I ever strapped the bass on and played in with Eric and Rupert. – Bart on Facebook
The food at Connolly’s had its fans as well. Good burgers, fish and chips – just your basic pub food, but well prepared and lots of it.
The closure of Connolly’s leaves a gaping hole in the Cary live-and-local music scene. There are still a few places to hear live music in Cary – open mikes and jazz duos, mainly. Not too many places have the space or the cash to bring in full bands.
Rallypoint on Harrison Ave still books local bands in Cary. I’ll be there with my latest group (A Fifth of Blues) on Saturday, February 11. Rallypoint owner Drew Schenk always treats the band well and we’re likely to draw a couple of hundred people to the pre-Valentine’s show.
But I’ll miss Connolly’s.