Last night's closing of Fork & Barrel, the exotic beer bar that opened last September in East Falls, caught everyone by surprise.

That apparently includes Sherman Properties, the landlord.

Sherman issued a statement today, reading:

We are very sorry to inform you that as of April 18, 2011 Fork and Barrel has ceased operations. On the evening of April 18, 2011 owners, Matthew Swartz and Matthew Scheller abruptly vacated the premises without any prior notice. Matthew Swartz can be contacted at (cell-phone number redacted). Matthew Scheller can be contacted at (redacted). If unable to contact by phone they currently operate a business at: 1135 Walnut Street Philadelphia, Pa 19107.

That address is almost the correct address of Swartz and Scheller's Farmers' Cabinet at 1113 Walnut, which opened last month.

In a statement of his own, Swartz wrote:

It's been a great year at Fork & Barrel in East Falls, but we made a business decision to close since The Farmers' Cabinet has so many of the same elements. We hope that our Fork & Barrel customers will continue to visit us in the city. We've also decided to close Tap and Table in Emmaus and bring the concept to Philadelphia in the coming months. The new restaurant will also have an Old World atmosphere, a menu based on fresh-ingredients including fondue, mussels, flatbreads, sandwiches and entrees and will feature American and European craft beers. We've had incredible opening success at The Farmers' Cabinet and look forward to our next venture in the city. The Bookstore, our 1920s speakeasy, in Bethlehem will remain open.

For a time, Swartz and Scheller were golden in developer Mark Sherman's eyes, as they briefly operated Franco's Trattoria on Ridge Avenue for him after Franco's operator up and left last year.

The closing was first mentioned at