After two years of slinging drinks (and coloring books) to Cherokee Street cool kids, Art Bar St. Louis will be closing its doors March 31.
In an emotional announcement posted to the bar's Facebook page, manager Tom Halaska attributed the sudden closing to "circumstances beyond my control."
Although a fairly recent addition to the eclectic Cherokee community, Art Bar is a known hangout for the local burlesque scene (Halaska's girlfriend, Laura Coppinger, performs regularly as Mimi Le Yu
) as well a haven for Star Wars nerds, activists and artists — not to mention the kinds of creative weirdos who like to draw while they drink.
Fans of the bar have reacted to the news with anguished comments on Halaska's personal Facebook page.
One of those distraught supporters apparently created an online petition titled "F*ck that place that used to be Art Bar."
The petition (which at press time has gathered more than 100 signatures) reads:
We the undersigned pledge that any business that displaces artbar in a bid to get our money shall receive nothing from us. In short, Fuck that place, we love Tom.
You won't make any money from us, so you may as well leave Art Bar alone.
We've reached out to Tatyana Telnikova, who was also his co-owner at the time of the bar's opening
. We'll update the story if/when we hear back.
Halaska did speak to Sauce
, telling the magazine, “We weren’t able to sustain the business. We had enormous support from the community, brought in new people and had beautiful regulars.”
We received a brief message from Telnikova over email. She says she is Art Bar's sole owner and Halaska, contrary to our previous suggestion, is merely the manager "with a vested partnership." (We've updated the post accordingly.)
She writes, "I had to close it because the bar was losing money for 2 years and I could no longer afford to keep it going."
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_ Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com