SLÁINTE: The Shannon — Hoboken’s Legendary Irish Bar Since 1956 — Set to Change Ownership

SLÁINTE: The Shannon — Hoboken’s Legendary Irish Bar Since 1956 — Set to Change Ownership

For the first time since opening in 1956, there won’t be a Wall minding the shop at The Shannon.

Co-owner Tara Whelan Kovatch has disclosed to hMAG that her family-owned bar would be changing ownership, effective next Friday.


She released the following statement:

Thank You Hoboken!

It’s with mixed emotions we announce that after 62 years we are handing over the reins of The Shannon.

Joan and Michael Wall came to the U.S. many years ago with a new baby, a few old suitcases, and a big dream. That dream became a reality and has been an integral part of our family’s legacy for decades.

It’s been a great run, and we are forever grateful to the many customers over the years who became our family and friends. We are leaving, but will take those memories with us.

We are confident that those taking over are right for the task and will keep the long-standing tradition of warm company and cold beer alive at the Shannon.

A heartfelt thank you for so many amazing years and fun-filled memories,
Marie, Tara and Fiona
In loving memory of Joan and Nancy

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be at your
back….until we meet again”

image courtesy The Shannon

A true Hoboken landmark since it first opened in 1956, The Shannon sits at 106 First St., across from City Hall and firmly at the head of what has become known as Irish Row. It is the oldest family-owned bar in Hoboken.

Beloved matriarch Johanna Wall stood behind that bar until the age of 86, becoming legendary not only for her longevity, but for her kindness. Although you can ask anyone who knew her—that kindness was not to be mistaken for weakness…

She ran a strict establishment in a harsh industry, mitigating any sort of unsavory behavior with a heavy hand, strong voice and piercing gaze. But as Tara, one of her six grandchildren, explained, it was easy to get back on her good side.

“All you had to do was bring her some ice cream and apple pie, and you could do no wrong,” she said.

Upon Johanna’s passing in 2004, Marie Wall and her sister Nancy Wall Guerin took over The Shannon, restoring the bar to its original form. Despite the sudden passing of Nancy in 2015, The Shannon has continued to serve as a Hoboken Irish cultural landmark and successful nightlife establishment.

Johanna Wall (left) and Nancy Wall Guerin (right).

“It’s time,” says Tara. “Marie deserves to enjoy life, and if this was going to happen with anyone, it would be with this new group of owners.”

“I want to say thank you to all our customers. This is a mixed bag of emotions,” says a tearful Marie Wall. “I’m happy to be retiring, but sad that the bar will not be part of our family anymore.” Of the new ownership, she adds, “These are a great bunch of guys… and this is all happening on my birthday, so I feel like it’s meant to be.”

hMAG will follow up with those new owners to learn more about the transition. In the meantime, stop by and raise a pint to a legendary family who have done so, so much for the greater Hoboken community.

Slán go fóill…

***UPDATE: Join them on Thursday night, April 12 for “Last Call for Tara & Marie,” as they close out one final night at the heart of Hoboken’s legendary hospitality community***

Nancy (right) with her sister Marie, standing in the threshold of The Shannon

Nancy (right) with her sister Marie, standing in the threshold of The Shannon

Authored by: hMAG