Up next: Breen's Cafe (Worcester, MA)
Established in 1934 and family owned and operated since the 1960s, Breen’s Cafe is a local favorite that boasts a great atmosphere, great drinks and an outstanding menu that people rave about.
Prior to COVID-19, Breen's was consistently one of the busiest bars in Worcester MA. We have a loyal customer base and this bar has been open since 1934 and family-owned from the 1960s-present. We had to shut down the day before St. Patrick's day, one of our busiest days of the year. The brother of the owner helped with a generous loan because we were unable to secure aid from the federal government during the onset of the pandemic, and we re-opened during June when Massachusetts began easing restrictions. For the first time, we used the parking lot behind the building to pitch a tent and provide socially distanced seating because in the first phase patrons were not allowed indoors. That was just to keep us afloat and now, money is running low and we are currently facing a 25% capacity limit as we endure winter. This is putting us in a difficult situation and we are operating at the bare minimum to keep employee pay and utilities afloat. We do have indoor seating, however the bar has been completely shielded off and dividers are placed between tables to ensure that we are operating in accordance to MA Covid standards. Pre-covid, it was standing room only unless you were at the bar or high-top tables, and during the Patriots/football Sunday, and during the Bruin's postseason (during normal times), Breen's nearly hit capacity without fail, it was one of the most well known hockey bars in the city. We still serve amazing sandwiches, burgers, steak & cheese, and more (if Dave wants to come give us a review on our Steak & Cheese sandwich, I bet we can give Philly a run for its money). Breen's has always been a neighborhood staple in the community, we sell merchandise from baby onesies, to sweaters and baseball hats, and chances are now, that if you are in New England, you may pass by someone who wears our merchandise. You can get a great sandwich and a beer for 10 dollars, which we don't believe a lot of places provide in today's climate, and we HAVE NOT raised our prices at all and will refuse to do so unless it is an absolute last resort. My mother Noreen is the owner of the bar, she left her job at FedEx to take over her late husband's spot as part owner with her brother in law to keep the bar in the family. Her brother in law recently retired during the pandemic, when we partially re-opened, we had to buy him out to keep the business operating in an already constrained situation, which is what prompted my mother's brother to help us secure a loan to keep us running. We went from 123 seating capacity to 30 presently. We have a large Irish family that has been amazing in coming together and supporting us on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, but unfortunately we can only get so far and it does not look like the pandemic is ending anytime soon. We are also huge supporters of the Worcester Fire Department and Worcester Police Department, and people from all sides of the community come together here. It is a welcoming family environment, and we hope to keep it in our family for generations to come. Having the Barstool Fund's support would mean the world to us, and we hope our story resonates the feeling of community that small businesses have in cities like Worcester. Thank you for all that you have done so far and the businesses you have saved.