Popular L.A. bar Molly Malone’s Irish Pub closes after fire

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, a beloved Los Angeles bar known for its extensive Irish memorabilia, perfect Guinness pours and nightly live music, is temporarily closed after a fire scorched the building.

The blaze largely damaged the exterior of the 95-year-old building that houses the bar, which first opened in 1969. The bar is expected to be closed for several months. Aside a period during the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure marks the first time the bar will be shuttered for any stretch of time since it first opened, said owner Damian Hanlon.

“It was a scary day for our little pub on Fairfax but we are blessed,” Hanlon wrote in an Instagram post Thursday. “Our doors will be shut (for now) but we plan to be back better than ever before you know it!”

The Los Angeles Fire Department received a report at 1:17 p.m. Thursday that the bar at 575 S. Fairfax Ave. was on fire. Firefighters fully extinguished the flames 19 minutes from when they first received the 911 call, said LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.

“There was heat and smoke inside the structure,” he said. “But the flames were largely kept to the facade and the exterior of the structure.”

No injuries were reported. Officials have not determined the cause of the fire. But Hanlon told The Times firefighters believe the blaze had likely started outside by the bar’s front door.

The pub’s dark walls are covered with Irish memorabilia and art, including paintings by Irish portrait painter Neil Boyle. The work depicts both notable Irish figures and the bar’s longtime staff members and customers, according to the bar’s website. Hanlon said firefighters were able to save the artwork.

“The firefighters did an incredible, great job,” he said. “It’s all very sentimental to us. To have lost anything would have been a shame.”

The pub, long known as a hangout for musicians, initially featured Irish troubadours performing drinking songs and traditional Irish ditties. But its list of bands has since expanded and the pub now features music from a variety of genres.

The Celtic punk band Flogging Molly got its start — and it’s name — in the 1990s performing at Molly Malone’s.

Hanlon took over the business from his mother, Angela, a native of Dublin, who bought the bar after the family moved to Los Angeles.

Now, Hanlon’s daughter is a bartender at the pub a few nights a week. Keeping the family tradition alive is more motivation to rebuild, he said.

“My mom put her heart and soul into this place,” he said. “I want to see things continue on.”

More to Read

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.