So, everyone will gather at the corner of Mass. and Comm. Aveenues around 2:00 on Saturday afternoon to re-dedicate the bridge across the street after Tommy Leonard.  

Who, you ask is Tommy Leonard? 

He is the 82-year-old former US Marine who became the legendary bartender at the world famous Eliot Lounge. 

There is not enough room in any column to tell you all about the Eliot Lounge when Tommy Leonard was the bartender. 

Just Google the story Charlie Pierce wrote for Sports Illustrated when the owners of the building forced the Eliot out of business.   

Charlie’s lead was, “Once there was a place where nobody batted an eye the night the horse walked in”. You can read the rest yourself.  

On this Patriots’ Day weekend when the Boston Marathon is run, you should also know that Tommy loved the Marathon. He had run it several times himself, and since the Eliot was right on the Marathon route, Tommy made the Eliot the center of the Marathon universe.  

There was a clock in the Eliot that counted down the days until the race was run. There was a Hollywood- style Walk of Fame out front where the famous runners had left their footprints in the cement. The Eliot was a special bar all year but on Patriots’ Day weekend, it was a really amazing place to be.  

So back in the early 1990s, then Boston Mayor Ray Flynn decided to name the bridge where Comm. Ave runs under Mass. Ave after Tommy. Not after some rich contributor, not after some big-time Boston heavyweight, but after a bartender.  

Ray had run the Marathon himself many times. And was a frequent visitor at the Eliot. 

You probably know that one of the traditions of the Marathon is that the Mayor of Boston crowns the male winner. That never happened when Ray was Mayor because he was always out running the course. My guess is that he will be the last Mayor of Boston to run and finish a Boston Marathon.  

On the night of the dedication, I, of course, was at the Eliot.  We all headed out for the ceremony. But somehow, the Mayor didn’t make it.  

I saw him at Foley’s on St. Patrick’s Day last month and that story came up. We couldn’t remember … was it a fire … or some type of emergency meeting. But, Ray couldn’t make it to the dedication. 

So the late, great John Henning, a regular at the Eliot, and the Dean of Boston television reporters at that time took over the ceremony. And when he interviewed Tommy for his news story, John asked, how does it feel to have a bridge named after you.  

Tommy answered … “Hey I’ll take a bridge”.  

We all cheered and went back into the Eliot to celebrate with a few cold ones.   

Among the folks who were there that night was Eddie Doyle, the bartender at the Bull and Finch Pub down on Beacon Street, which some wildly popular television show decided to name Cheers.  

Eddie and Tommy were great friends and kindred spirits.  

If the Herald or the Globe had a story that some family from Virginia had their van and all their stuff stolen while they were visiting Boston and walking the Freedom Trail, the phone lines would light up and they would swing into action. 

Everyone walking into their bars that day would be asked to contribute a couple a bucks, a new drink would be created with the proceeds donated, and that money would be given to that family. As Tommy used to say, I don’t want anyone to come to Boston and think of us in that way.  

I can’t imagine how much money Eddie and Tommy raised in those days for all kinds of worthy causes.    

So when the management of the bar that the national media called Cheers decided that they no longer needed Eddie’s services, all of us were stunned.  

Just like Tommy was the Eliot, Eddie was the Bull and Finch.  

Everyone came to the Eddie Doyle going away party because everyone knew all he did for so many people, especially children’s charities.   

Mayor Tom Menino declared the auspicious occasion Eddie Doyle Day in the City of Boston and promised a special tribute.   

The next time you drive by the Hampshire House on Beacon Street, look just across the street and you will see an official city sign that reads “Eddie Doyle Square” in his honor.  

So Eddie Doyle has his own square. Tommy Leonard will have his own bridge again. And Ray Flynn promises he will be there this time.   

Charley Manning, a former bartender at the Eliot Lounge, lives in Boston.