It's the end of an era. This news comes on the heels of the Lancer Lounge's closing, and word that Bender's Tavern and the hi-dive are changing hands: After this weekend, Rockbar is going dark. Spurred by the city's recent decision not to renew Rockbar's liquor license, which expired at the end of August and had been extended until the first week of November, and also the loss of the bar's cabaret license, Rockbar will be closing for good after a pair of goodbye bashes this Friday and Saturday. Owner Jesse Morreale explains that as a direct result of these rulings from the city, his business has decreased dramatically, ultimately forcing the closure.
See also: - Rockbar's request for special event cabaret permits denied - City denies Rockbar's liquor-license renewal - hi-dive will soon be under new ownership - Quixote's True Blue slated to move into Bender's Tavern space - Lancer Lounge seized by State for back taxes
"As a result of the malicious and defamatory media campaign that the City has implemented," says Morreale in his release, "combined with making dancing illegal, the business has suffered an 80% drop in revenue. We've been given no choice but to let all of the employees go and shut down the business during the worst economic conditions in 80 years. I cannot believe the City is taking such a damaging position and action, especially one that is unwarranted, and contradicts the needs, desires, and opinions of the vast majority of the neighbors."
Morreale speculates that Tom Downey, the director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, assumed that the decision would be contested. And while this may have normally been the type of response such a mandate would elicit, that is simply not the case this time around. According to Morreale -- who appealed directly to residents and his patrons at SaveRockbar.com, urging them to sign a petition, which gathered nearly 300 signatures -- he just doesn't have the wherewithal to continue pursuing the matter. While he notes that the city's decision was prompted by the testimony of four residents who appeared in opposition, despite the fact that there were plenty of residents purportedly willing to advocate for the bar, the city's decision had an irreversible impact.
"Never have I or the business had the financial or other resources to appeal," Morreale. "We are out of time, out of money and other resources, and the financial and other data show that the collateral damage done by the City already has damaged the business to such an immeasurable level that even if we did receive injunctive relief, the business' profile, reputation, and consumer confidence have been destroyed too badly to recover from. Additionally, Mr. Downey knows very well that in an appeal case such as this, no new evidence can be provided, and thus we would be essentially paying for the privilege to relive the false testimony that the City permitted during the original renewal hearing."
Rockbar's last hurrah is slated to take place this Friday and Saturday night, giving folks one last chance to say goodbye. After the two-day going-away party, Morreale says that the bar, which anchors the ground floor of the All-Inn at Colfax and St. Paul, will be boarded up. Don't miss your chance to say goodbye. Doors for the farewell parties open at 5 p.m., and there is no cover. As with any bar worth its salt, there is no shortage of great memories from Rockbar. Feel free to share some of your own below.
See also: - Rockbar's request for special event cabaret permits denied - City denies Rockbar's liquor-license renewal - hi-dive will soon be under new ownership - Quixote's True Blue slated to move into Bender's Tavern space - Lancer Lounge seized by State for back taxes - Slideshow: Midnight at Rockbar - Rockbar has the kind of buzz that can't be bought -- or can it?
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