“When the first bomb went off it shook the building, and everyone instantly got real quiet. I was making my way into the kitchen, but processing it in my head I thought it was cannon fire, something to celebrate the end of the race,” Brendan Griffin said, recalling the April day of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Griffin is the g.m. of City Table and City Bar, which are connected to the Lenox Hotel. The hotel fronts Boylston Street and its entrance is 100 yards from the marathon finish line.

“But as I walked into the kitchen, the second one went off. Then I saw runners, marathon runners coming from Solas (the bar on Boylston Street located at the front entrance of the hotel) with their numbers on, running through our kitchen, and I knew immediately that something was not right,” says Griffin, who plans for four months to make sure the Lenox Hotel’s four-day marathon festival goes without a hitch.

“I went back into the restaurant and people were a little bit nervous, but because we’re on the back side of the hotel, we still didn’t quite realize that was going on,” he says.

“Then suddenly the Solas staff and the people from the New Balance party started to come through the kitchen, and continue running right out of the hotel onto Exeter Street. It was at that point that we knew something serious had happened. We (his restaurant staff) locked the Solas doors and got everyone inside. Then we went back up to City Table and by that time the Boston Police had put the hotel in lockdown. They gave the order: ‘No one in or out.’ They locked us down,” Griffin recalls.

“Now, we had police stationed at every door in order to make sure that no one came in our out. They also came in and grabbed our surveillance video right away.”

The restaurant and its customers were kept in that lockdown for about 45 minutes as everyone in the bar silently watched the televised scenes of carnage that were unfolding right outside the hotel’s front door.

“People were dead silent, watching TV to see what was going on. At one point the police came in and made an announcement to turn off all cell phones, telling everyone that they could detonate any other possible devices. After they made that announcement, you could see people become visibly upset and nervous. Until then, they were kind of curious, but now their demeanor had shifted to really nervous,” Griffin remembers.

Shortly thereafter the police swarmed the hotel, ordered everyone to leave, and told them to use the Exeter Street entrance, then turn right onto Huntington Avenue, away from the finish line area, which was now a designated crime scene.

“I tried to go up to my office to get my keys and wallet, but the cops wouldn’t let me. After the customers and guests left, a crew of us hung back to make sure all the kitchen equipment was properly turned off. Once we had that secured, about a dozen of us left together, and we were easy to spot, because we were all wearing our matching New Balance outfits. They are one of our biggest clients, and every year for marathon week they outfit us head-to-toe in New Balance gear. They also hold a lot of private parties at the hotel starting on Thursday evening, and on race day they take over Solas, which is a great viewing spot,” Griffin explains.

The hospitality dozen walked to a South End park rendezvous, and that’s when Griffin called a friend who is a chef at the Beehive Restaurant, which is located a short distance away. Once he explained their situation, they gladly welcomed everybody in.

Griffin’s crew spent an hour at the Beehive, and once they realized that they were not going to be allowed back into the hotel at least for that day, they decided to walk to South Boston and set up camp at Shenanigans bar on Broadway.

“It’s all kind of a blur, but I think it took us a half-hour to walk to the bar. Once we got there we posted on Facebook that we were okay, and after that it got completely nuts,” said Griffin.

“For the next hour-and-half, between rounds of beer, all I did was continuously responded to people texting and e-mailing. It was great. It took your mind off what was happening. It was great to know that people that I haven’t talked to in 10 years, guys that I graduated with were checking in to see if I was okay. In fact I went over that list the next day and it was amazing,” recalls Griffin.