A new bar modeled after a 1980s New York area tavern is planned for downtown Decatur.
The new tavern will open in place of Colbeh on East Court Square, which had been for sale for a while, but was sold yesterday by Steve Josovitz of The Shumacher Group, and closed. Colbeh opened in April of 2012 in a space that was previously Zucca, a pizzeria. I was never fond of Colbeh and had it on ToNeTo's DeathWatch soon after its opening. While they did last far longer than expected, their closure comes as little surprise.
Business partners Michael Condon and Paul Vinces of Decatur's Calle Latina along with industry veteran Brian Buchanan plan to open "Truman," a neighborhood tavern, in the Colbeh space. Buchanan was most recently involved in the liquor distributing world, but he also previously held a management position at Buckhead Life Restaurant Group among other hospitality endeavors.
Buchanan tells me that Truman will be modeled after a historic tavern in Manhasset, New York. Publicans, as Buchanan knew the tavern in the 1980s, was a popular, neighborhood tavern where, as they would say in Cheers, "everybody knows your name." Publicans, previously known as "Dickens" was the setting for the 2005 memoir "The Tender Bar," a book by JR Moehringer. In the book, Moehringer tells of his single-mother upbringing and being practically raised by the patrons of Publicans. The bar, which has a nearly 70 year history as a number of different establishments, was most recently known as Edison's Ale House.
When discussing the idea for the Decatur bar with Buchanan, I learned that its name came about in a rather odd fashion. After winning a vintage pub sign that simply said "Truman" at a Renfroe Middle School auction over two years, the trio decided that the sign needed a home and that home would be a pub, a pub called "Truman." The partners are all residents of Decatur and have searched for the past two years for the perfect place to open their dream bar.
Plans call for the Truman to be family friendly and approachable for all. The tavern will be open seven days a week, serving lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Buchanan and his partners envision offering "better bar" food with an emphasis on quality and value. Expect elevated bar menu classics with some seasonal and local flare added to the menu.
Inheriting an existing 3200 square foot restaurant, the partners don't envision doing too much to the space. Barring any unforeseen issues, plans call for Truman to open in late August or early September.
Are you excited for a new neighborhood-centric tavern to be opening in Decatur? Are you surprised that Colbeh closed? Have you read "The Tender Bar?"
Please share your thoughts below.