It's closing time for Abraxas Lounge in South Beach and this time, it's for good. The lounge will close on New Year's Eve.
Abraxas' property owners have sold the build and the new proprietors plan to build a boutique hotel at that location. Not much is known about the developers except that they are from Turkey and operate a company by the name of 727 4th Street LLC, according to Abraxas owner Diego Escobar, adding that construction is likely to begin in early Spring.
For the last year, Escobar has been operating Abraxas without a lease and making month-to-month rent payments, unsure of what the property owner was going to do. In September, he found out that the property was sold. A month later, he received the order to vacate. Escobar was able to negotiate with the new owners to stay until the end of the year.
Originally, he had wanted to keep the place open until he found a new location, but that plan fell through. Escobar was looking at locations in Wynwood, but the real estate was more expensive than what he could afford.
Opening Abraxas nearly seven years ago, Escobar was a pioneer in the craft beer community. The bar with a speakeasy vibe has been a cradle for Miami's craft beer industry since its beginning, hosting several events that have included Wynwood Brewery and J. Wakefield Brewing before they became full-fledged breweries. Regular patrons know Abraxas for its frequent trivia nights and spectacular list of craft beers, both bottled and draft.
Over the last couple of years, the city of Miami Beach has been clamping down on Abraxas, first taking away its outside tables and chairs, then recently threatening to cite the business if any patrons were caught on the front porch with drinks in hand.
Local patrons have been dwindling and the clientele has been becoming more transient, making it more of a challenge for Escobar to keep Abraxas open.
But the trivia and the flowing craft taps will eventually continue. Escobar is searching for a new location that will probably not be located in South Beach. "We need to be closer to our customers on the other side of the causeway," he said. "I think we will do better on the other side."
Escobar is not sure where Abraxas will end up next, but he's looking at properties in the downtown area. He plans to re-open sometime in mid-2014.
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As for now, there's only one month left of Abraxas at its current location. Escobar couldn't provide many details, but he plans on holding several events which could include some local brewers bringing kegs of their finest and a possible bottle share night. Get your Abraxas fix while you can.
"We promise to continue to provide you the best selection of craft beer until the last draft is poured and the last bottle opened," he said.