Pratty’s C.A.V. in Gloucester, MA completes 30 years in business on April 1, 2016 and will celebrate with a weekend full of festivities and fundraising to support local war veterans. The real history of this establishment started back in 1947 as a veteran’s club called Cape Ann Veterans (CAV) and was run by John Madruga. It was located above where Connolly Seafood is now and later moved to the current location on Parker St. It was started by the Korean War veterans and in the late 1950’s Earl Foote bought the business and changed it to Earl’s Cape Ann Vets. After about 15 years in business, Sherm Anderton took over and renamed it Sherm’s Cape Ann Vets. After working for both Earl Foote and Sherm Anderton, James Pratt bought the business in 1985 and renamed it Pratty’s Cape Ann Veterans.
James Pratt, known locally as Jimmy, got involved in the bar business at a young age. His father, Ralph Pratt, owned the original Hideaway, Kazbar, and Ra-Jo’s with his wife Josie. Josie Pratt also owned a Lebanese restaurant and night club in Magnolia, next to the current fire station, called The Open Door. Jimmy started working at Ra-Jo’s at age 13 as a dishwasher and from there worked his way through the ranks and had pretty much every job in the restaurant. Jimmy was in the US Coast Guard and would often take leave to come manage the restaurant with his older brother Michael while his parents would vacation to Florida. While in the Coast Guard, Jimmy Pratt served in the Vietnam War from 1969-1970 on the US Coast Guard’s 378ft ship, the Cutter Hamilton.
Earl Foote, who at the time already owned Earl’s Cape Ann Vets, purchased Ra-Jo’s in 1971 and renamed it Little Earl’s. At that point, Jimmy started working for Earl at the Vets bar and continued under Sherm. When Sherm was ready to sell the business, there was no question who the buyer would be. Jimmy became the proud owner of Pratty’s Cape Ann Vets in 1985 and continued the family legacy of bar ownership.
Pratty’s is an essential part of the local sports community. For all 30 years in business Jimmy has been a sponsor of local little leagues, men’s and women’s softball teams, dart teams, and basketball teams. Currently, Pratty’s sponsors 8 different teams and not only has almost every team won their respective championship in the past 3 years, but every team has a member of the Pratt family as part of their roster. For Jimmy, it is not just about owning a bar, its about supporting the community and giving back to the town he grew up in.
Throughout the years, Pratty’s has been featured on the big screen from Hollywood productions to television specials. Known to the regulars as “Parker Street Palace”, Jimmy has created an environment that fosters the veterans of all ages.