Tuesday, December 31, 2019

[SHOOT!] Star Bar to Shutter After Nearly 30 Years in Business

Beloved Atlanta bar and live music venue Star Community Bar is slated to close after its New Year’s Eve show, according to a post on its Facebook page.  

TONIGHT at 1am the cover charge ends and the Fire(water) Sale begins!  
ALL liquor drinks and shots $4!  
ALL beer, cider and wine $3!  
NO COVER AFTER 1am  Last Thursday we got our walking papers. The landlord has decided to rent the space to someone else, giving our employees 5 days to find new jobs. If you know any bars that are hiring please send us a Facebook message. Tonight is your last chance to party at the Star Bar. Let's do it up right. See you tonight!"

Entrepreneurs David Heany and Marty Nolan opened Star Bar on Halloween night 1991 at 437 Moreland Avenue in the heart of Little 5 Points.  The bar occupied a roughly 6,000 square foot space previously home to the "Moreland Avenue Office" of Citizens & Southern National Bank (C&S Bank).  

In addition to serving as a venue for local and regional musical acts, Star Bar also hosted weekly comedy and karaoke nights.

Heany and Nolan sold the bar in 2001. Kahle Davis and Susan Pavlin bought the business in 2013. The business was put up for sale in 2016 for $425,000.  

As of 2016, the owners were paying $7,500/month in rent. At that time, the bar was signed to a five year lease which ended September 2017.  The listing indicated that the Star Bar owners were guaranteed "first right of renewal."

A source with knowledge of the 2016 sales offering tells ToNeTo Atlanta that the owners pulled the listing, opting instead to continue to operate the business.  It's unclear when or for what term the owners signed a new lease, but with most commercial leases three to five years in length, an abrupt closure less than three years after what was likely a new lease, is a bit odd. 

Star Community Bar is at least the third business in less than a week to blame their abrupt closure on not being offered a new lease.  Galaxy Diner near Tucker closed December 29 reportedly due to not being offered a new lease.  Ippolito's Neighborhood Italian will close their Kennesaw restaurant as of January 1 saying "the shopping center has determined that it did not want to renew our lease and has asked us to leave."  

Fulton County property records indicate that Bank of America, the eventual owner of C&S, still owns 437 Moreland.  It's not yet known who the "someone else" that the landlord has leased to is, or even if they exist, or whether it is just a reason given to non-renew Star Bar.  

UPDATE: As of January 5, ToNeTo Atlanta has confirmed that rumors last week of a possible reopening are true.  Under new ownership, Star Bar could reopen as soon as Wednesday, January 8! 

Are you sad to see Star Bar close?  What is your favorite memory at the Star Bar?  What would you like to see open in place of Star Bar?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Anonymous said...

Greedy landlords are why Atlanta can't have fun things. Another dry cleaner, lame taco place, and mattress firm soon to come.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing greedy about a landlord trying to maximize its investment. Most bars and restaurants fail. It's sad when bar/restaurant owners try to blame landlords for putting their employees out of work. A landlord cannot terminate an existing lease. Most commercial leases require exercise of options anywhere from a year to 6 months before the original lease term expires. So if the business does not protect itself and its employees by renewing or extending its lease and falls into a month-to-month term, then it's on them, not the landlord, when the landlord decides to lease to a more stable tenant willing to commit to a longer term.

Anonymous said...

2@anonomous almost 30 years is not a stable tenant ? Uhhhh ok

Anonymous said...

well, the current owners tried to dump the business in 2016 with their lease running out in 2017, so that leads us to believe they were on a month-to-month tenancy the past two years. And month-to-month leases are not stable no matter how long the tenant has been there. If another tenant comes along willing to sign a long term deal, of course you terminate the existing tenant that you could lose at any time. Does that make the Landlord greedy? Or just smart?

Anonymous said...

"so that leads us to believe they were on a month-to-month tenancy the past two years." So, in other words you are speculating and therefore have no idea what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

Of course I am speculating to a degree - but it's either that or they signed a 2 year lease and then felt blindsided when it ran out and the Landlord suddenly expelled them. So which do you think is the more plausible scenario? Having worked in restaurant leasing for 22 years I feel pretty confident in my speculation.

Anonymous said...

I thinks it’s inexcusable to close the Star Bar without giving any notice to the thousands of Atlantans that have passed through those doors and felt at home. Many of my best memories were made at the Star Bar through the years. I’m sure I’m not the only person to feel great sentimentality for this beloved institution. It’s a slap in the face to those of us that have always supported the Star Bar. To just abruptly close without any fanfare or the opportunity to have a last “Star Bar” experience is unforgivable. No time to say goodbye to the Elvis Shrine, or the downstairs lounge, have a last toast, completely sucks. The thought of a makeover for the space is appalling. It should be left “as is” at least until everyone has a chance to see it again, and to take their pictures to remember it the way it was. I’m a native Atlantan and I despise how easily Atlanta landmarks are tossed aside, with no respect for the history of a place that was so beloved by so many people. I think if the public had known the Star Bar was in danger of being closed, hundreds of fans would’ve stepped up to save it. “Save the Star Bar” would’ve worked. To the landlord, you REALLY screwed up with the handling of this. I have absolutely zero interest in supporting whatever new venue you have planned. If the rumors are true and you hope to retain the Star Bar name, you better not change a single thing within the space. That would be salt on the wound you have already created.

backstagepass said...

this has got to be one of the most ignorant comments Ive ever read. there are so many errors in what you think you know. basically the whole argument you have is based on your own feelings. your knowledge of business and the legal ramifications of tenant/ landlord relations are completely ignored because you just wanna do a couple of shots.

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