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

Molly Malone's Irish Pub is temporarily closed after a fire scorched the building.
Molly Malone’s Irish Pub is temporarily closed after a fire scorched the building.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)
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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 opened in 1969. The bar is expected to be closed for several months. Aside from a period during the COVID-19 pandemic, this marks the first time the bar will be closed for any stretch of time since it opened, owner Damian Hanlon said.

“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!”


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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 extinguished the flames 19 minutes after they received the 911 call, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

“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 probably 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.”


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

The Celtic punk band Flogging Molly got its start — and its 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.”