Seasons Eatery and Pub, the longtime Circuit avenue institution beloved by sports fans, locals and tourists alike, will close its doors on Sunday, Feb. 3, after 27 years.
In a conversation with the Gazette on Wednesday, Robert Murphy, co-owner of the building, confirmed the year-round Oak Bluffs restaurant and bar would close after the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
“We’ve been saying for the last five years we want to sell or lease the building, and no one really believes us so we’re thinking if we close it down someone might come forward and do something with it,” Mr. Murphy said. He owns the building with James Ryan. “Both of us have other interests and want to do other things.”
Mr. Murphy said they have not sold the building yet and are looking to either sell or lease the property.
“My partner spends most of the year in Florida and I want to do other things,” Mr. Murphy said. “It’s a business that’s with you all the time. We run it year round, it gets pretty intense and it’s not my main function . . . I don’t have the time to devote to it that I once did. It was a great challenge.”
“We bought it for the real estate and never expected to run the restaurant,” he continued. “It’s just time.”
Mr. Murphy and Mr. Ryan also co-own the Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs, along with Michael Santoro. Mr. Santoro is general manager of Seasons. Mr. Murphy is a real estate agent in Oak Bluffs and Mr. Ryan owns Ryan Family Amusements, a Cape Cod based arcade company which includes the game room next door to Seasons.
Mr. Murphy said he and his partner have been planning to close the restaurant since last fall. But when a leasing arrangement fell through a month ago, “we put our thinking caps back on.” Mr. Murphy said they chose to close the doors now to give a new business a chance to get settled in before the summer season.
“It’s been well thought out and a long time coming,” he said. “And if we continue to say it’s one more season . . . that’s been going on too long.”
The restaurant does not have a final party planned but Sunday marks a natural ending: the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will face off for Super Bowl 47.
Mr. Murphy said he would like to see the property continue as a restaurant “but we’re not limiting it to that.”
Mr. Murphy and Mr. Ryan bought the property in foreclosure in 1986, remodeling the building to start one of Circuit avenue’s most popular watering hole’s and restaurants. The nightclub Atlantic Connection next door drew strong crowds in the summer months, but Mr. Murphy said the restaurant began to downsize after they decided to close that venue in 2006. Mr. Ryan moved the popular Dreamland Game Room to the nightclub location later that year.
“Since then we’ve been winding down to move out of the restaurant,” he said.
The arcade will continue to operate, and if there are no interests in the Seasons space, Mr. Murphy said the arcade may expand into a part of the restaurant space.
Even with the competition of more restaurants staying open year-round, more liquor licenses, and increased costs of health insurance, Mr. Murphy said Seasons “had been there for so long it was stable and we never had some of the startup problems other businesses had.”
Mr. Murphy said he’s at the restaurant for a portion of every day and he’ll miss the people most of all.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years, they’re who I’ll miss most of all,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet thing. We’re trying to move on but it’s also extremely difficult.”