Night life

Scully’s Tavern Closes After 32 Years in Miami

32 years ago, Chris and Cassandra “Cass” Hirsh opened Scully’s Tavern. For three decades, the couple operated the little spot that turned into a community hub where people felt like family.

The restaurant operated, with Chris and Cass working side by side. But tragedy struck in September, when Chris died after a sudden illness.

That was the catalyst for Cass to decide to close Scully’s. Instead of holding a countdown to closing or some blowout party, Cass simply shut off the lights and posted a message on Facebook.
In a phone conversation with New Times, Cass says operating the bar was simply too much for her to handle alone.

“I miss my husband and I miss us working together. It was a beautiful relationship,” she says, adding, “I want to see what else life has in store for me over the next 30 years.”

Reminiscing about the good times, she says she’ll miss the live music the most. “When we first opened, I booked bands five nights a week. [Later] I still had live music every Friday and Saturday.”

There was also the time a celebrity chef came to shoot a TV show and became a friend.

“Guy Fieri filmed several segments here for his Food Network shows. He and Chris became friends,” Cass recounts. “Guy still keeps in touch with me.”

And, of course, there are the customers and employees who became like family.

“We formed so many friendships in the neighborhood. There were people who would come in four, five nights a week for years. We also had employees who stayed with us for ten, sometimes 15 years. ”

Cass says each Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, Chris would cook a massive spread for employees and customers and throw open the doors for a family feast. “He would cook five turkeys, three hams, and all the fixings and feed everyone for free. That’s the kind of man he was. He wanted to give back to his friends.”

She compares the tavern to a child: “It’s been over 30 years. It’s like having a baby — you don’t want to leave it. We have so many great employees and they mean a lot to us. It’s a difficult situation.”

And, though right now you can’t get another order of Scully’s famous scampi chicken wings at this moment, there’s a metaphorical crack in the door.

Cass says that after she posted the closing announcement, people reached out asking whether they could help. “People are asking how they can keep the legacy alive,” she says.

A few offers sound promising, and Cass is weighing her options — including taking a consulting role if someone wants to carry on the Scully’s name. She says she’s praying that the pub Chris was so proud of will live on.

“I hope so,” she says. “My husband touched everyone’s heart.”

For now, she’s is finding comfort and joy in friends and family. “I have a big friend base and my mom is in town. She’s a big help,” she reports.

And regardless of how Scully’s story ends, there’ll always be the memories. “Everyone says that Chris adored me. It was a real love story.”

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