By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
By Britt Chester
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Two legendary bars went dark the first week of 2012. Music Bar, which has been around since the late 1940s and most recently was known for its karaoke nights, closed its doors at 4586 Tennyson Street at the end of 2011. And a week later, Gabor's, a classic Capitol Hill dive that had one of the best jukeboxes in town, had its last call at 1223 East 13th Avenue. Initially, Gabor's was going to stay open through January — but instead, it closed on January 7, after a weekend filled with regulars pouring out sentiments and the bar pouring out the beer. "It's pretty sad," says manager Iris Thorne. "It's the end of an era. But that's okay. Everybody's ready to go on, I guess. I am." Sometime this summer, the space will reopen as Marion Street Tavern, a new bar from Sam Roots, who owns the Providence Tavern in Edgewater.
As for Music Bar, a 28 percent hike in rent forced the spot to close its doors. "It's bittersweet," says manager Marc Charron. "But with that kind of overhead, that's just not realistic for us. Business hasn't been good. We still knock it dead and hit some home runs, but business as a whole has slowed down, as everybody's business has. We're down from what it was last year and the year before. But it's still a good business. You can't shake a stick at it, because people still want to come in and party and do their crazy karaoke, but you come to a point where you just say no. We were paying outrageous rent for the last five years, but we just can't pay super-outrageous rent."
But Music Bar might not be gone for good: Charron says he's looking for another location in the area.
Club scout: Since its heyday as Bobby McGee's in the '80s, the space at 10175 East Hampden Avenue has gone through a number of incarnations, including Heartthrob, the Kadillak Club and now GLO Nightclub. The new owners are planning to cut down on potential hanky-panky by holding to a strict dress code and providing quality entertainment. The folks behind Parlay Productions, Dream Entertainment Group, Take Off Entertainment and Still Livin Entertainment just set up shop in the spot for Limelight Saturdays, with DJs Ktone and Topshelf at the decks spinning R&B, neo-soul and hip-hop. There's no cover until 11 p.m. on Saturdays — and three-for-one drink specials. The space at 4040 East Evans Avenue that got its start as Regas Christou's Deadbeat Club has also gone through a lot of identities — everything from Skin to Posh Ultra Lounge, Club Next and, most recently, a resurrected Deadbeat Club. And for the new year, a new moniker: Club Coyote.
The Irish Rover (54 South Broadway) has taken over the storefront to the north, and construction of a new rooftop bar has started. Owner Alan O'Gorman says he hopes to have both the deck and the main floor of the added space — which will be used for private parties and events — completed in time for the Rover's seventh anniversary in June. O'Gorman is also building a bigger kitchen, and says it will allow for more menu options.