March 10, 2009

Beloved Cheers bartender downsized

Bartender Eddie Doyle says he has been laid off from the Boston pub Cheers after 35 years because of the economy.

The Boston Globe described Doyle as a beloved local institution -- a man who signed autographs and posed for pictures for fans of the classic TV sit-com Cheers, which was inspired by the Beacon Hill tavern formerly known as the Bull & Finch. Doyle also helped raise more than $1 million for Boston charities.

However, Doyle, who is now in his late 60s, said he was informed by the bar's owner, Tom Kershaw, a few weeks ago that he was being downsized due to the recession.

I'm a casualty of the economic situation that we're in, Doyle told the Globe.

Business is way off, Kershaw told the newspaper, adding that he plans to keep sending Doyle a weekly paycheck until the end of the year. It was very tough. Personally, for me, it was a disaster. Eddie and I have been friends for 40 years.

Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn said he was saddened to hear the news.

He's as important as George Washington to this city; he's that well known, Flynn said of Doyle. "The Cheers bar was internationally famous, but before it was internationally famous I think Eddie really brought them that notoriety and that attention. They say it's a bar where everybody knows your name, but it's really a bar where everybody knows Eddie


It's the end of an era, declared Bill Spaceman Lee, a former Red Sox pitcher and regular Cheers patron. That must mean in these tough economic times everybody's going to be sober in Boston.