Crossfade has received word that Best of Miami 2011 Readers' Poll winner Bar will be closing after July 4. The news comes as a shock, even though there have been previous rumors of the venue's closure.
Sources tell us that it wasn't OHWOW's choice to close. In fact, it was hoping to extend the lease for a few more years. Unfortunately, this comes down to business. And the powers that own the Vagabond, located next door, also own the entire building.
We've been told negotiations to renew the lease, which had been taking place for the past four months, recently collapsed and Bar is being forced to vacate.
Owner Al Moran says the building owners initially seemed open to keeping Bar as a tenant. But after several offers to renegotiate were left unanswered, there wasn't any other choice but to close down and relocate.
Moran also confirmed that Bar received a notice to vacate after the July 4 weekend. It's unclear if Bar will remain open until the very last possible moment. But he seems determined to keep Bar in Miami. "This city needs it. There is nothing comparable to it."
In other words, the venue will be relocating. "We are 100 percent reopening in the fall," Moran insists. Where? That's unclear at this point. "Miami doesn't have a lack of space," Moran jokes. "It's only going to get better. I'm kind of excited to go into a new space and do exactly what I envisioned."
When asked if downtown, Design District, or Wynwood were possibilities. "Not Wynwood. I can't stand that area and it's only getting worse."
Vagabond owner Carmel Ophir, however, put it more lightly, saying that Bar's lease was up in February and it's been occupying the space on a month-to-month basis ever since. According to Ophir, negotiations fell through, it seems, because of necessary structural improvements and the cost of those upgrades. He says that once the renovations are done, Bar's owners could renegotiate a return if they wanted.
Crossfade asked Ophir if the Vagabond's owners are interested in taking over the space, he says that's always a possibility. The owners already own
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several bars and nightclubs in South Florida, including Lost Weekend and
Kill Your Idol in Miami Beach, and Respectable Street, Monarchy, and
Feelgoods in West Palm Beach. We imagine adding another venue in such close proximity to the Vagabond wouldn't be a bad idea.