Don’t Know Tavern Receives Aid From Barstool Sports

| January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Barstool Sports and its founder Dave Portnoy recently started The Barstool Fund to support small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was started with a $500,000 donation by Portnoy and it has now raised more than $20 million with donations from celebrities such as Tom Brady, Guy Fieri, Dana White, and Kid Rock. South Baltimore’s Don’t Know Tavern was notified on Wednesday that it was one of the latest businesses chosen to receive aid from the fund.

Don’t Know Tavern owner John Leonard told that Barstool will help cover the bar’s monthly overhead until the bar is fully open and making money again. “I’ve always enjoyed the site [Barstool Sports] and now I’m a huge fan,” said Leonard. “Everything he [Dave Portnoy] has done is pretty unbelievable. I wish they could help everybody.”

So far 94 businesses around the United States are part of the fund and new recipients are being announced every day on the website and on social media where Barstool posts Portnoy’s FaceTime calls with the winners. Claddagh Pub and Dough Boy Fresh Pretzel Co. have also been awarded funds.

Leonard sent in his video last Wednesday and got the FaceTime call from Portnoy one week later. He received an email from Barstool Sports letting him know that if he received a FaceTime call from a random number he should answer it.

Not only has Don’t Know Tavern been struggling since the pandemic hit, but Leonard’s car was also destroyed in a fire last week when it was parked in a car port.

In the video Leonard submitted, he said “It’s been a really tough year” and that he hopes “to see another year” business-wise. Leonard is set to celebrate his 10-year anniversary of owning the bar this year.

In the FaceTime call, Portnoy said there were multiple people from Barstool who were recommending they support Don’t Know Tavern. “Seems like its right up our alley, a very Stoolie type of place. We want to help. ” said Portnoy.

“The times we have been open for carryout only, it has been nearly impossible. We are just trying to keep people working. When we had 50 percent capacity, we were able to stay afloat,” Leonard told when discussing business struggles, further noting how the bar missed big revenue days such as St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, West Virginia football, and Ravens football, especially as the playoffs approach.

Don’t Know Tavern has a staff of 20 that has continued working during the pandemic. He noted the added stress they have been under with COVID-19 protocols and making sure customers are abiding by the new rules. But, Leonard said overall his customers have been great and responsible.

He also reiterated how thankful he is for the support Don’t Know Tavern has received from its regulars and the great tips that have come in

Leonard is hopeful things get back to normal soon and said business “was great” before the pandemic hit.

Leonard has received a lot of support via text message and social media since the news of joining The Barstool Fund. “It’s great to see people do care,” he said.

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Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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