Punk’s Backyard Grill, the restaurant and beer bar located at the Westfield Annapolis Mall, closed unexpectedly on Sunday night. “We are sad to announce that today, Sunday, January 6th, is Punk’s final day of business,” read an announcement on the Punk’s Facebook page.
Owner Dave McCabe said that while Punk’s sales were good, the restaurant spent much of last year trying to renegotiate its lease to lower the rent. Around Thanksgiving, McCabe said, the landlords at the mall “told us they were putting together a long-term affordable deal for us.”
In response, Punk’s spent money to build a new, larger bar with more seats and 20 taps, which opened in mid-December. Then, last Friday, McCabe said he received a letter from the landlord’s lawyers, saying that Punk’s lease was being terminated.
There are no immediate plans to move the Punk’s concept elsewhere, McCabe said, though he seems open to the idea of another restaurant combining picnic-style food and a good selection of craft beer. “It’s a little early for us to tell,” he said. “This one is closed. We’ll talk to customers and investors and see where it goes.”
No matter what happens with the restaurant, the Punk’s legacy will live on through Draft Punk, a beer brewed specially for Punk’s by Steve Jones of Oliver Ales in Baltimore. (It was such a hit that the hoppy IPA eventually showed up on draft at Meridian Pint, the Big Hunt and other D.C. beer bars, and Oliver will keep brewing it for the foreseeable future.)
This was the second bar closure in Annapolis in the space of a week. Sly Fox Tavern, the pub in the basement and courtyard of the historic Reynolds Tavern, closed its doors on New Year’s Eve. The owners plan to open a new beer-focused pub called the Fox’s Den a few blocks away, near the intersection of Main Street and Conduit Street, later this year.