Cheers bartender gets the closing credits


Eddie Doyle may not be as famous as the fictional Sam Malone, but the Boston bartender was just as integral to the sitcom Cheers. 

Doyle worked at the Bull and Finch Pub in Boston for 35 years – what became better known as Cheers – slinging drinks, dispensing advice, introducing future married couples, signing autographs and posing for pictures.  His charitable work in the community became legendary. 

But not even being the basis for Ted Danson’s Sam Malone can save someone in these economic times.  Doyle was let go from the bar he worked half his life at last week. 

“I’m a casualty of the economic situation that we’re in,” Doyle told the Boston Globe, who spent part of this week cleaning out his office.

“It’s the end of an era,” added Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the former Red Sox pitcher who often sipped draft beer in the basement pub that Doyle presided over. “That must mean in these tough economic times everybody’s going to be sober in Boston.”

Besides being the guy who knew every regular’s name and their drink, Doyle aspired to give back to the city where he was raised. In 1979, after reading a Globe Santa column about two brothers who were trying to keep their family together during Christmas, he got the idea to hold an auction at the bar – then known as the Bull & Finch. The regulars, who included everybody from doctors to construction workers, contributed $570 to the charity – bidding on homemade pasta dishes, desserts, and a game of Monopoly.

Doyle’s auctions raised millions for various Boston charities.  Besides the gaping hole behind the bar, Doyle has decided to walk away from the charity auctions and spend time with his family, write a memoir about tending bar and work on his house. 

Cheers and Fenway Park were two things visitors always wanted me to take them to when they came to Boston.  Which is saying something for a city once known as “The Hub of the Universe” and the “Cradle of Liberty.”

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