Customers learned on December 30 that Smylie Brothers had closed.

On Friday night, a couple of potential customers walked up to the front door of Smylie Brothers Brewing on Oak Street, trying to get in for a bite and a beer.

But the door was locked. Nobody was inside.

“It’s closed,” said one of the disappointed food-and-drink seekers, as the pair walked away.

And indeed, on the eve of New Year’s Eve, the busiest partying night of the year, Smylie Brothers had closed its doors for good.

In a statement posted on Facebook, owners of the brewpub thanked customers and employees, saying “your support over the past 8 years is truly appreciated.”

However, the post continued, “Sadly, as a result of the pandemic, we are no longer able to operate the business and we are now closed.”

Besides the pandemic holding down the number of customers and making it harder to find employees, Annie Coaklely, the executive director of the Downtown Evanston marketing group, said the lack of a lunch business was probably also a factor.

With more people working from home during and post-pandemic, that’s fewer employees downtown, and thus fewer customers looking for a noontime meal.

In September, Smylie Brothers also closed its Lakeview (Chicago) brewery and restaurant, after only a year in operation.

As for Flat Top Grill, the Church Street location has been shut since earlier in December.

A sign on the front door says “Due to severe plumbing issues, We will be closed for the Day. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

However, that sign has been up for about two weeks, and Coakley confirms that the restaurant has closed for good.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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