Sophie Bolich

Halliday’s Pub Does An Irish Goodbye

Long-standing bar quietly closed after 50 year run on N. Farwell Avenue.

By - Jan 11th, 2023 03:41 pm
Halliday's. Photo by Michael Horne.

Halliday’s. Photo by Michael Horne.

Halliday’s Irish Pub, a long-standing dive bar in the Lower East Side neighborhood, has closed with nary a parting word. The family-owned bar’s Irish goodbye comes after a more than 50-year run near the busy intersection of N. Farwell Avenue and E. Brady Street.

The bar, marked online as permanently closed, has been out of business for several months, at minimum. Its most recent online user review is dated July 2022. Precisely when it closed is unknown.

Located at 1729 N. Farwell Ave., the building was originally constructed as a residential dwelling, and has held a collection of businesses and taverns throughout its century-long lifespan. It became Halliday’s in 1967, when Robert K. “Bobby” Halliday and Gus Kelepouris, related by marriage, bought the place for $30,000.

After Halliday’s 2006 death, ownership of the business and its building were passed to his wife, Rosemary Maniscalco-Halliday, and step-daughter, Gina Marie.

Throughout its half-century in business, Halliday’s accrued a handful of regulars visitors who filled its 17 or so swivel, padded, backed stools, though several times each year — usually correlating with St. Patrick’s Day and the odd bar crawl — boisterous crowds of merrymakers descended upon the typically-quiet establishment. 

The building itself dates back to 1888, when it was built as a mansion for Charles Hill Ross. The original structure was designed by Milwaukee architect and urban planner Alfred C. Clas, who is principally known for buildings such as the Pabst Mansion, the Northwestern National Insurance Building and the Milwaukee Central Library.

The 2,616-square-foot building has also housed a bakery and delicatessen and several different taverns.

For a thorough history of the location, see Michael Horne‘s 2015 Bar Exam.

Though the building was remodeled countless times over its 134-year lifetime, the structure never quite achieved a cutting-edge appearance. In fact, Halliday’s treated its dated character as a badge of honor, remaining cash-only until its dying day. The interior pine-paneled walls, horseshoe shaped 1951-vintage bar and Kool Cigarette vending machine further added to its time capsule feel.

The bar’s owners did not publicly announce a closing date. Multiple attempts to reach the owners resulted in disconnected phone lines.

The building, which also contains a two-bedroom residential space, is not currently for sale.

The now-closed tavern could soon be in the shadow, literally, of a new addition to the Milwaukee skyline. As Urban Milwaukee reported earlier this week, an 11-story hotel is proposed for the property immediately south of former Halliday’s.

2015 Photos

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