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Coral Gables’ most beloved Irish pub closed last year, but now it’s making a comeback

MIAMI HERALD — MARCH 17, 2021 — BY CARLOS FRIAS Martin Lynch was on the fifth hole of the Biltmore golf course when news went out that Coral Gables Irish pub he cofounded, JohnMartin’s, would reopen with new owners.

Irish eyes smiled on St. Patrick’s Day.

Lynch and partner John Clark closed their pub, one of the longest-running restaurants in South Florida, on its 31st anniversary in April of 2020. They had long planned to not renew their lease and ease into retirement, sped up by the coronavirus restaurant closures. That retirement was made perhaps more plush after they sold the name to Breakwater Hospitality Group and Black Market Miami owner Erick Passo, who announced Wednesday in a press release they would remodel and reopen JohnMartin’s in the fall of 2021.

“I’m really happy that the name will live on,” Lynch said. “We were giving up the lease one way or the other. And I think this is fantastic because it keeps the name going.”

The new JohnMartin’s is likely to be very different from the original.

“The place definitely needs some work, there’s no doubt about it,” Lynch said.

The new spot “will be updated with a new look and feel,” created by a design firm, Big Time Design Studio, which will handle the “reimagining of the space,” according to a press release from the new owners. The building is owned by Terranova, which writes that it wants to bring more multi-use spaces to Coral Gables.

“JohnMartin’s had a tremendous impact on South Florida’s bar scene, and you will be hard-pressed to find a restaurant or bar that rivals their iconic status and reputation for hospitality,” Emi Guerra co-owner of Breakwater Hospitality, which built The Wharf, said in a press release. “Our team is proud to breathe new life into JohnMartin’s and to continue the tradition of providing the same welcoming service but with a fresh new look and feel suited for the times.”