A pedestrian walks by The Snug, a bar in Portland’s East End, in 2020. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The Snug, a longtime neighborhood pub in Portland’s East End, will close.

Owner Margaret Lyons posted the news on the bar’s social media Wednesday. The Snug, self-described as “Irish-ish” and “not for the squeamish,” is located on Congress Street across from the Eastern Cemetery and near the intersection with Washington Avenue.

“In the fall of 2006, I built The Snug from the keg room up,” she wrote. “Opening the bar has been the absolute best decision I’ve ever made … until now. It’s been succeeded by my decision to close.”

In an email, Lyons said she loved the bar hours (her previous stint as the co-owner of a coffee shop confirmed that she was “definitely not a ‘morning person,’ ” she said), the camaraderie and, eventually, her ability to manage the bar from home. The pandemic was a big factor in her decision to close – not because it created financial strain, but because it made the business “less fun,” she said. Lyons was among those in 2020 who criticized the reopening plan for bars, which had to stay closed longer than restaurants, hair salons and other businesses.

“COVID took away The Snug’s ability to be irreverent, and that was always The Snug’s ‘thing,’ ” Lyons, 58, wrote. “It also necessitated the need for me to work more bartending shifts myself. While bartending is fun, opening and closing work is too challenging for someone of my age … and level of laziness.”

Fans wrote on Facebook and Instagram that they are sad to see the pub close and grateful for the community there.


“Thank you to the Snug for creating one of the most interesting and unique places in Portland,” one person commented. “You will be missed and remembered fondly.”

The Snug, lit up at night. Photo by Margaret Lyons

“Thank you for creating a really freaking cool space and have an excellent time with your future plans,” another wrote.

Lyons, who lives in Portland, has not said what will be next for her or for the bar’s location. She said in her post that when she was considering retiring from the bar business she crossed paths with “three lovely people” who have a new vision. She did not elaborate when asked for more information via email.

“I don’t think a day will go by without an old Snug memory putting a smile on my face,” she wrote. “I bet the same is true for many reading this post. Thank you for all the photographs and still frames in my mind. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, I absolutely did have the time of my life. The Snug’s last night will be soon. I’m not going to tell you exactly when, because I hate goodbyes. Let’s just leave it at slán.”

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