CommonWealth Cafe & Pub to change hands

Some people open a bar or restaurant, hire a general manager, and walk away. Others are so much a part of the business it’s hard to picture it without them. Ross and Ahna Adair, who founded CommonWealth in 2010 with Ahna’s brother Pete Jeffryes, were synonymous with the pub for many people. That’s why Facebook freaked out a little when this was posted on the CommonWealth page on Monday night.

Dear Friends,

The time has come to advise you all, we are stepping aside.

The CommonWealth will live on though, offering all the things you’ve come to know and love. We are simply passing on the torch to our friends, Lizzie Alford and Josh Rosenberg. They have both been regulars since we opened in 2010. Lizzie liked us so much she came on staff two years ago and Josh is a longtime member of the local restaurant community.

Several factors have culminated in this carefully considered decision but we are primarily motivated by what we feel is best for our wee family right now.

We are thrilled that Lizzie and Josh want to keep things going and honor all the hard work and love we have put in. They are an energetic young couple and we have the utmost faith in their ability to carry on the tradition.

When we think about getting out of the biz a wave of nostalgia passes over us and the six years we have spent building this pub flashes before our eyes. It will be bittersweet once the time comes, and no doubt emotional. We have made so many wonderful friends here.

We have been fortunate to find new owners who will continue on with the same care and passion and we feel assured that with your support, this pub will thrive for many years to come.

Cheers! Ahna and Ross

Many responses were some variant of “sad news.” I say CommonWealth Micropub closing in December was sad news. This change doesn’t need to be.

I admit I’m not objective, as I used to work for CommonWealth. I’ve only met Josh a few times but I’ve worked extensively with Lizzie. She’s been in the restaurant industry since she was 15 and is that rare breed of hospitality pro who is both a born server and a smart manager. Relax and trust her with this.

I asked her if anything would be changing and her response was quite clear. “Josh and I have no plans to change the Commonwealth,” she wrote. “We want to save it, to save the atmosphere, the traditions, the comfort food, the good beer. That includes maintaining the current staff and culture. Pub quiz, Burns night, bagpipes, FUTBOL. Futbol fans can rest easy, we’re gearing up for Copa America, and the Euros this summer. Just to be extra clear, NO ONE is being let go or fired in this transition of ownership.”

There you have it. Think of this as a family business being passed to a younger generation. Yes, it’s weird to think of visiting CommonWealth without seeing either of the Adairs, but all the other faces behind the bar (and in the kitchen) will remain familiar.

What’s next for Ahna and Ross? First up, some travel with their daughters. “The only thing we know for sure is we plan to travel to Scotland for the summer once Ruby and Charlotte are out of Kindergarten,” wrote Ross. “I haven’t been home in over 6 years, Ahna didn’t come with me on that trip because she was pregnant so it’s been even longer for her, the girls have never been. There’s a lot of folks dying to meet them. CW has anchored us to Oakland but our families are spread across the globe. We need to go see them.”

Having been behind the scenes at CW, I saw how hard Ross and Ahna work running a business AND raising twins. I’m happy for them, not sad, and I wish them all the relaxation and passport stamps they deserve. Cheers!

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