Less than 10 months after its facade partially collapsed, critically injuring an aspiring concert pianist who has since sued the establishment, the Common Ground Bar and Grill in Allston was set to serve its final round Sunday night.
“The owner is selling it,” general manager Ryan Piercy said. “I found out at 9:30 this morning. I have no idea why.”
Owner Bob O’Guin died in April, according to Piercy and an online obituary. His widow, Laurie O’Guin, made the decision to sell, Piercy said. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday evening.
The bar has been a neighborhood staple since the 1990s, drawing a clientele of longtime residents, students, and young professionals from the diverse section of Boston.
Piercy said he has been managing it singlehandedly since last November, when its concrete facade crumbled onto pianist Sonya Bandouil and her boyfriend, Alex Pankiewicz, crushing Bandouil’s right hand and requiring the amputation of a finger.
Bandouil and Pankiewicz filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court in May, claiming that the building’s owner, property manager, and the bar collectively failed to properly inspect and repair the facade.
Outside the Common Ground on Sunday, a chalkboard sign read, “Sad to say . . . We’re closing our doors for good @ 2 a.m. Come raise a pint to CG.”
Inside, more than 100 people gathered Sunday night to toast the bar and each other, to share beers, hugs, and maybe a few tears. Many were regulars who have been coming for years — or decades.
Benny Upton, 44, a firefighter who lives in Brighton, was there with his wife, Roberta, 49. “It’s like ripping our hearts out,” he said. “We met here 21 years ago.”
In 2002, after a City Hall wedding, they held their reception at the bar, posting flyers around the neighborhood that read, “Come in and witness a public display of affection,” Roberta Upton said.
“We wanted everyone there, including Mr. Butch,” Benny Upton said, using the nickname of Harold Madison Jr., a homeless man who was among Allston’s most recognizable faces before his death in 2007.
Rebecca Margolin, 34, said she met her boyfriend, Denver “Beau” Beatty, at the bar, and they came back for their first date. “Everyone’s sad that it’s going,” she said. “It’s just like a totally loving, nonjudgmental place to go.”
Beatty praised Piercy for keeping the bar going after O’Guin’s death. “It would have been closed as soon as Bob died if it wasn’t for him,” he said.
Matt Goddu, 27, a Common Ground regular who tended bar there for a time before returning to being a regular, said repeat customers helped make the bar what it was.
“This place is very special,” Goddu said. “I don’t know how many places are like this in Boston anymore, where you meet people and you just end up being friends with them for so long.”