Irish pub De Vere confirmed on Monday night that it would be shutting down its Davis and Sacramento sites for good. Sunday will be his last day.
Many Davis companies saw their sales increase dramatically when UC Davis resumed classroom teaching on September 22. However, Henry De Vere White, who owns Vere’s two pubs with his brother Simon, said that didn’t amount to a huge increase. in their clientele.
âWe have always built the pub for everyone who lives there,â he said. “We love to have (the students) back, but it wasn’t a rainbow unicorn.”
After the first pandemic shutdown in March 2020, the Davis Pub, located at 217 E St. reopened for alfresco dining in June 2020. It closed two months later, de Vere White stating: âIt’s tough to put a pub on a sidewalk. “
It would take 10 months before it reopens – in June 2021 – with limited hours and a small pub menu. He added a few extra hours and things like Sunday brunch once he had enough staff.
Irish Pub De Vere debuted in Sacramento in 2009. The 3,780 square foot restaurant is located at 1521 L St. Davis Pub opened in October 2011. It is 4,850 square feet, not including the patio . The ambitious Davis project remodeled the former Soga’s restaurant space to include an eclectic mix of seating and an imported Irish bar.
This 10-year lease expires on October 1. The choice not to renew Davis’ lease also triggered the decision to close the Sacramento pub, said de Vere White. âIt really got us thinking, ‘How do we see the future coming? A five-year lease is a big commitment. We haven’t seen a way to take that risk.
They struggled with the choice. “It’s a tough decision, especially when it’s your name on the door.”
Davis Mayor Gloria Partida was shocked by the âhorribleâ news: âI wonder what we can do as a city to be more proactive in keeping more unique restaurants in town? “
She said that while everyone has suffered during the pandemic, she is particularly troubled when it comes to a local business. âIt would be an advantage to come out of the pandemicâ¦ where we are not just a sea of ââfranchises and chains. This is certainly what makes us a more desirable place.
More than two dozen Davis businesses have closed permanently since March 2020, most of them restaurants. Davis lost its largest outdoor food court when Bistro 33 closed in June 2020. Now it is losing its largest indoor space.
The Davis pub underwent a minor renovation last year, with further paint and bathroom upgrades. The Sacramento pub has received a bigger update. De Vere White said that since sales were already low, this was a good opportunity to make improvements without losing a lot of revenue. They did a lot of the work themselves. He hoped it would bring people back to the door and inspire them with a new look.
Despite the impending closure, he had only good things to say about the “immense support” of the owner, the Nielsen family. âA big thank you to the community, to our staff and to our owners who are truly all of our partners. It has been a wonderful 10 years. My brother and I feel very blessed.
One of the biggest challenges of the pandemic has been the constant changes, especially for bars and restaurants. Every time it opens and closes, it’s expensive. Kitchen and bar equipment cannot be left inactive. They often require repairs to restart. This is the pub’s third closure in 20 months, he said.
Meanwhile, staff shortages and supply chain issues plague the industry. Last week, the Davis pub ran out of Guinness and Smithwick’s beers – two iconic Irish pub drinks – because they were nowhere to be found. Glassware was also lacking, among others.
De Vere White met the employees on Monday and they agreed to stay the whole week to say goodbye to the community. Although a traditional Irish goodbye is to leave without telling anyone, it is fortunate that they chose to stay. Davis has about 55 employees and the Sacramento pub employs more than 70. Letters of recommendation are already in preparation.
UC Davis professor Andy Jones has led the popular pub quiz since the opening of de Vere in Davis. It is a tradition that he established at Bistro 33 in 2007. His last quiz was set for 7 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday.
âSimon contacted me yesterday (September 27), just after breaking the news to his staff at the Davis pub,â Jones said. âI felt great affection and empathy for the Vere White brothers and their staff. I have befriended many de Vere employees over the years and have been delighted to be associated with an organization that treats its employees so well.
Jones and his wife, Kate Duren, don’t have much fun at home. The pub and Davis Farmers Market served as a space for socializing. “Every visit to the pub has reminded us of how lucky we are to live in this community.”
For taking the quiz, Jones asked to be paid in restaurant credit. He and Duren ate an average of two dinners a week. He also used his credits to secretly pay bills for other customers.
Jones called the Irish pub the fanciest âthird placeâ in town to meet friends. âMy wife and I had our 50th birthday parties there, hosted parents and college friends there, and my daughter came with my wife and I there. It has been an important part of our lives. “
Jones said he shared 15,000 trivial questions at de Vere’s and plans to continue offering remote print quizzes on https://www.patreon.com/votrequizmaster.
Mayor Partida said de Vere was a favorite before the pandemic. She and her friends had loved watching Davis’ traditions unfold from the pub terrace. They kept a table by the sidewalk to watch the kids go by for the Halloween Treat Trail or to attend the city’s tree-lighting ceremony on E Street Plaza.
She urged businesses in this situation to contact the city to see if it can help them. “We do everything we can to support our businesses and try to give them resources and advice.”
And after? The Vere White brothers are interested in several other Sacramento projects. They own The Snug, a cocktail bar on R Street, and Ro Sham Beaux, a natural wine bar on J Street that opened during the pandemic. They have a partnership with the Wong family for The Public House on L Street, next to the Sacramento de Vere pub. This de Vere operated as a take-out burger bar called Snug Jr. during the pandemic, but closed when the pub reopened.
Henry de Vere White has said that once they leave the pub spaces he plans to take a few weeks off. “It’s been 20 long months.”
Will they come back to Davis? âWe’re always looking for something. â¦ We love Davis but we’ll have to take a little break and see what happens. Sometimes when you close a door, four or five open.
Several members of the Davis community have offered to contribute to a fund to save the precious pub. De Vere White said he was grateful for the support but didn’t know how to respond.
âWe’re going to end on a good note,â he said. âWe had a wonderful 10 years. “
The hours this week for the Davis pub are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday (kitchen closes at 9 a.m.), 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday (kitchen 10), 4 p.m. to midnight Friday (kitchen 10) , from 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday (kitchen 10), and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday (kitchen 3).
Last Wednesday whiskey includes half-price installments all day. And until Sunday, “anyone can come and get a pint and tip the staff well,” said de Vere White. “We will do everything we can to take care of people.”
– Wendy Weitzel is a Davis writer and editor. Its Comings & Goings business column airs on Sundays. To see his spreadsheet of businesses that opened and closed during the pandemic, visit https://bit.ly/DavisEntreprises.