Irish pub The Half Door will close after two decades in Hartford

Photo of Leeanne Griffin

The Half Door, an Irish gastropub that's been a mainstay in Hartford's West End for more than 20 years, is closing, according to an emailed statement from a spokesperson Tuesday afternoon. 

The pub will close Jan. 23 after Locals 8 Restaurant Group, The Half Door's parent company, "was unable to reach an agreement with the landlord on how to move forward at the current location," according to the statement.

Sales at the restaurant had never returned to pre-COVID levels, said Allie J. Gamble, the The Half Door's owner since it opened in 1999 and CEO of Locals 8. 

"It seems like the night [bar] business hasn't really returned in general," Gamble said in a phone interview. "We've been sitting and waiting and hoping."

The Half Door opened in August of 1999. Gamble said he signed a new, 10-year lease with the building's landlord in the summer of 2021. Locals 8 set a goal of buying the property at 270 Sisson Avenue, "but we couldn't make the numbers work," he said.

Locals 8 "is determined to reopen the restaurant at a new location later this year," the statement noted, which Gamble confirmed. 

"We're going to deflag, and put everything in a container and hopefully find a new home for it," he said, adding that a new location might feature a larger food menu if there was more available parking. The Half Door, at the corner of Farmington and Sisson Avenues, currently has just two dedicated parking spots.

The Half Door has been a staple for Irish-influenced fare like shepherd's pie, Guinness lamb stew and "cobblestones" (shaved steak sliders), along with an international beer selection. The pub is an annual destination for St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and most recently welcomed large crowds during the World Cup in November.

It's business as usual at Locals 8's other restaurants, Gamble said, including the Plan B Burger Bar restaurants in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Tisane Euro-Asian Cafe in Hartford and Butchers and Bakers in Farmington.