Salt Hill Pub closes Hanover location, cites COVID-19

by Allison Wachen | 6/6/20 3:44pm

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by Divya Kopalle / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Salt Hill Pub’s Hanover location has permanently closed, according to a June 2 announcement from the restaurant and bar. It will join The Skinny Pancake, Morano Gelato and several other Hanover eateries as one of the latest in a series of downtown Hanover closures tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Co-owner of Salt Hill Pub Josh Tuohy wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth that closing Salt Hill Pub’s Hanover location was “the right decision for [the restaurant] at this moment — it was a choice, not a have-to.”

Tuohy said that the location served carryout until March 27 per New Hampshire government regulations. On March 27, he said that they decided to close for “internal cleaning projects” and “await further information from both the state and Dartmouth College regarding any return to ‘normal.’” 

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said that she “wasn’t surprised” that the pub closed. She noted that the pub, which opened in 2010, was struggling even before the pandemic, adding that its location on Lebanon Street made it less visible than other restaurants. Tuohy said that  “over the last two years, [the restaurant had] entertained some offers from potential buyers, but no deals were made.”

Griffin said that the restaurant’s owners debated whether to renew their lease last year, though they ultimately decided to see the year through. She also said that prior to COVID-19, Salt Hill Pub put the restaurant’s equipment up for sale.

Helena Hemberger ’21 said she was “pretty upset” that Salt Hill Pub was closing because she and her friends enjoyed going to Salt Hill Pub’s Wednesday trivia nights. 

Hemberger said that since Salt Hill Pub stayed open later than many other Hanover restaurants, its hours aligned better with a college student’s schedule. She added that Salt Hill Pub was an affordable bar for undergraduate students, compared to Murphy’s, where she said she would go only for special occasions due to its high prices.  

She noted, however, that she does not think that Salt Hill Pub’s closing will make a “difference” to a lot of students because the pub was not “frequented as much as other [restaurants].” 

Sarah Gupta ’19 said that while she did not go to Salt Hill Pub often, she would go to the restaurant for end-of-term happy hours hosted by the linguistics department, which she said that many professors and students of various majors attended.

“There was not another place like it in Hanover. This was the closest thing to a bar,” Gupta said.

She added that the social activities at Dartmouth tend to “revolve around Greek life,” so “[i]t would be nice if you could find things in town.” She said that “[t]he College supports alternative social spaces, but it is always nice to get off campus.”

Griffin said that it is “too bad” that Salt Hill Pub is closing because “they were doing the bar games, the sorts of things that other restaurants aren’t doing in Hanover.”

“They came as close as we come in Hanover to a student pub,” Griffin said.   

Tuohy wrote that he hopes that Dartmouth clientele will continue using the Salt Hill Pub’s other Upper Valley locations in Lebanon, Newport, Newbury and West Lebanon for catering and as a space for annual events and gatherings.

Hemberger said that she’s unlikely to go to a different Salt Hill Pub location because she would likely want to have “a drink or two,” after which “driving would not be ideal.” She said that she liked the Salt Hill Pub in Hanover because it was “super convenient” and “walking distance.” 

Salt Hill Pub’s other locations are still running, and according to Tuohy, they have been “very busy these past few weeks.” The Lebanon, West Lebanon and Newbury locations are offering patio seating and takeout, and the Newport location is offering takeout. 

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