There are many things that make Los Gatos so desirable including it’s top-rated schools, idyllic location at the base of the majestic Santa Cruz Mountains and it’s enchanting downtown. Another quality of its quintessential charm is the small town appeal, of which residents are extremely proud. Unique, small businesses thrive here and large box stores are kept at bay to nurture this ‘town not city’ atmosphere. A recent For Lease sign in the window of iconic Los Gatos Irish pub, C.B. Hannegans, announcing its imminent closing has many loyal locals who frequent the restaurant-bar up-in-arms.
C.B. Hannegans History
Co-owned by the bar’s namesakes, Chris Benson and Johnny Hannegan, this friendly Irish pub has welcomed Los Gatos residents and others from surrounding cities since 1980. It is the place to go to watch the game, the Grammies, the Oscars, or just grab a pint and a burger. Their longstanding “Cheers-like” vibe where ‘everybody knows your name’ combined with a great menu, lively events and a community focus has made C.B. Hannegans a true local hangout.
This review from customer S. Goodison epitomizes how many feel about the pub: “Hannegan’s is my one-stop shop for family and friends. Whether I’m enjoying a couple beers, relaxing on some appetizers, or having dinner off their great BBQ menu. The experience is always incomparable. This is one of Los Gatos’ greatest classic bars.”
For those who enjoy scotch, C.B. Hannegan’s offers an impressive selection of single malt whiskeys sourced directly from Scotland as well as wine from many of the local vineyard estates, imported beers on tap and of course, their bartenders can whip up all of the classic cocktails. They’ve always offered a diverse menu including hearty sandwiches and pizzas but broadened their culinary horizons in 2014 when Chris Benson’s son, Max, became head chef.
Legendary Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Renowned for their epic Saint Patrick’s Day parties, C.B. Hannegans pulls out all of the stops on this Irish holiday. Los Gatos residents as well as families from all around the Silicon Valley join the day-long celebration filled with live entertainment, dancing, BBQ, beer, bagpipes and all things Irish. Another recent popular event has been their comedy nights, the last being held in June and many a graduation, birthday party or other memorable event has been celebrated at this Los Gatos Irish establishment.
Helping The Community
C.B. Hannegans has also been contributing to those in need for many years. Only five years after they opened their doors, the owners and staff at the pub set up a food preparation station in Vasona Park where the crews fighting the 1985 Lexington Fire were stationed. And, each year at Thanksgiving, they can be found cooking turkey dinners for seniors at the Los Gatos Adult Recreation Center.
Says Laura Young of C.B. Hannegans and its owners; “They are a cornerstone of the people in Los Gatos who made this town so desirable to live in.”
Why They’re Saying Farewell
Though news of the pub’s closure seems sudden, C.B. owners Johnny and Chris have been trying to renegotiate their lease, which has been a month-to-month contract, for the past two years. Since the owners and landlord couldn’t arrive at a successful resolution, it was time to part ways.
“The reality of the situation is we’ve been trying to get a lease for two years,” Benson said. “The property owners want to significantly increase our rent and they want us to invest a large amount of money into the building. After looking long and hard at our projected sales figures, we decided the numbers just don’t crunch. So, we have no choice but to look at closing.”
“The building does need repairs, but we can’t afford to fix it with a month-to-month lease. We can’t get a construction loan without the security of a long-term lease,” adds Hannegan.
The pub’s owners claim that the lease situation has also prevented them from being able to sell the business as it hampers the financial viability of the venture for potential new owners.
Catering Business to Continue
The one part of the business that will continue is the pub’s barbeque catering business. It is not dependent upon a brick and mortar location and as such, will continue after the pub’s doors have closed. “We have events booked well into next year. Those are still going to happen,” says Benson.
C.B. Hannegans will remain open through the remainder of 2016 and is set to close “sometime in early 2017.” No firm date has yet been announced. Maybe the luck of the Irish will be with us and they will host one final, legendary Saint Patrick’s Day event.
If you’ve never been to this truly one-of-a-kind Irish pub off Los Gatos Boulevard at 208 Bachman Avenue, we encourage you to drop by and raise a glass to show your support before the doors of C.B. Hannegans close for good.