2014-05-09 / Front Page

The End Of The Circle

By Katie McFadden

It’s the end of an era for what some consider to be a Rockaway landmark. The Irish Circle will be closing its doors permanently this weekend.

After falling victim to bankruptcy, the restaurant and bar is now owned by New York Community Bank, which foreclosed on the property. Owner Jerry Perich has until May 15 to vacate the property. The restaurant and bar will remain open throughout the weekend and will celebrate with one last hoorah on Sunday, May 11.

The building, located on the corner of Beach 102nd Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, has a long history on the peninsula. It first opened as Charles Schilling’s Roadhouse on what was formerly called Henry Street in 1893. Although various renovations have occurred, the outside of the building is quite reminiscent of its earlier incarnations. The building has managed to withstand the 1938 New England Hurricane, as well as Hurricanes Donna, Irene and Sandy.

According to The Irish Circle Facebook page, the Irish Circle has been a Rockaway tradition since 1940. The business was taken over by its current owner in 1995. In 2002, it underwent a large renovation to bring Off Track Betting to the establishment, which was a success for the restaurant until the bookmaking business folded in 2010.

With the loss of OTB and other financial burdens, the restaurant took a hit. Perich filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2013. In February, the bankruptcy court ordered the building to be put up for auction. According to a report in the Times Ledger, only one bid, a $1.2 million offer by Mark Schachner, owner of the Mill Basin Kosher Deli in Brooklyn, came in for the property. The building went to the bank for $1.25 million.

It is not clear what’s in store for the future of the building, but locals who worked at the restaurant, families who celebrated big occasions there and those who frequented the bar have decades of memories to take with them.

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