A team of buyers that includes Dropkick Murphy’s front-man Ken Casey plans to buy the Lower Mills Pub this month in a long-rumored deal that would bring new ownership— and likely, a kitchen and new look— to one of Dorchester Avenue’s last remaining old-school barrooms.
The pub, one of the few in the neighborhood that features live music, will be renovated this summer after Casey and his key partner— Brian O’Donnell of Milton— close on the sale.
There’s no name yet, but Casey told the Reporter that he and O’Donnell plan a “family-friendly, neighborhood place” that will include a new kitchen.
"It would definitely be a nice tavern with TVs, but we definitely want to put some focus on food," said Casey. "It probably won’t have the biggest kitchen in the world, but we will put one in there.”
Casey owns two other popular bar-restaurants: McGreevey’s on Boylston Street and the newer Whiskey Republic in Providence. Casey and partners are working on a third eatery for the new Ink Block in Boston’s South End.
The Lower Mills Pub is an attractive location to both Casey and O’Donnell, in part, because O’Donnell can walk to the business from his home on the Milton side of Lower Mills. O’Donnell’s wife— interior designer Taniya Nayak, whose work has been featured on HGTV— will be a part of the team that designs the Lower Mills establishment, Casey said.
Casey, a Milton native himself, used to frequent the Lower Mills Pub. He says he hopes to keep a neighborhood feel to the place, while opening it up to the street more and giving it a more welcoming appearance.
“We’re not turning it into a sushi joint,” joked Casey. “My whole thing with all these places, my favorite part is designing it. A big part of it for me, obviously, will be to have some music in there. We’ll want to build on what the pub has been and make it better.”
Casey says it won’t be a “rock venue,” but he envisions traditional Irish music and acoustic sets on the small stage.
The sale of the pub has been in the offing for months, but was delayed by complications with the current ownership. The pub was owned for decades by two men, one of whom — Nicholas Byrne— died five years ago. At a hearing before the city’s Licensing Board last January, attorneys for the Byrne family and co-owner Jeremiah Nash asked for permission to extend the bar’s existing license for two months while they finalized a plan to sell the property. The board approved their request, while noting that the bar was presently operating without a proper license, which was never amended after Byrne’s death.
Casey said on Tuesday that he expected the sale to be completed by the end of April.