Closing Time

First it was Natty Greene’s in August, then a rash of closures in December and January with Tyler’s, Brewmasters, Battistella’s, Tir Na Nog, The Oxford, McDaid’s and The Borough following suit. It’s like the graveyard of the service industry. So what’s the deal with all the bar and restaurant closures in Raleigh? Is it a sign of a poor economy? Gloom and doom outlook for downtown?  Well if you have been to downtown Raleigh recently you know that’s not the case with all the construction that litters the streets. So what is it? If you had ever been in Brewmaster’s, well you were probably the only person in there. The only time I was ever there it was a complete ghost town. Tyler’s, it started off so promising. Cool space, albeit huge, tons of beer, and the outside bar were great. However terrible food and the aforementioned giant square footage were the downfall.  Natty Greene’s was a personal favorite; awesome staff with really good beer and food. However, like in the case of Tyler’s, the square footage was too much to overcome. Tir Na Nog and The Borough, on the other hand, the owners had a long successful run and figured it was time to move on and do something else. I loved Tir Na Nog, it was one of my go to bars back when I was younger and Raleigh really had no other options downtown. Seeing the crowd that poured in the last night they were open really does show how much a bar and restaurant can affect a community in a positive light, and not in a Drunk Town way. It’s sad to see one of your favorite watering holes or places to grab a burger close. Last year I went back to Charlotte for an overnight trip to see a band; so I decided to check to see if my very first kitchen job was still open, a small neighborhood bar called Hef’s. Unfortunately, as with many small independent establishments, it had shut its doors for good. It’s the natural course of some businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry. Poorly managed, bad food or service, and lack of profit in the end of the day will kill you. If you can’t provide a consistent product and target a certain market, you’re bound to close. People will stop coming in the doors and find somewhere else to go. It’s the cold truth, but that’s why it is so hard to run a successful bar or restaurant and why so many fail. As one chapter closes, it opens the opportunity for others in Raleigh. Liquid State, Pelagic, Vita Vite, Trophy on Maywood, Standard Foods and others have recently opened; what will the future hold for them and others in downtown Raleigh? As long as Player’s Retreat stays open, I’m good. Cheers foodies!

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