The South Austin venue, opened in 2012 as a coffee shop by day and music venue by night, unexpectedly locked out its employees on Thursday, January 12th. Early arriving customers found bewildered employees sitting outside wondering what had happened.
According to The Austin Chronicle, the venue had been going through some financial turmoil in recent months. Employee checks had been bouncing, and landlord Republic Commercial’s Thursday morning notice reading “Notice of lockout for non-payment of rent” was just the latest in a string of worrying signs.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that the Strange Brew had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2016, and that founder Scott Ward had taken a step back from the business in December of the same year.
However, the first twist came that same day, when booker Kacy Crowley announced that they had raised enough money to reopen on Friday, and the weekend shows would, despite some setbacks, go on as planned.
That turned out to be a miscommunication, as ownership soon afterwards informed Crowley that the planned reopening would not happen, and the venue would remain closed through the weekend. The weekend’s scheduled shows were forced to make last minute arrangements at other venues in the Austin-area.
Ownership continued to characterize the closing as “temporary due to financial issues”. However, last Tuesday, Strange Brew finally announced that the venue was closing permanently. The final performance will be a benefit concert that will be held this Sunday afternoon at a different site, Donn’s Depot. The lineup will feature artists such as Guy Forsyth, Shinyribs, Jeff Plankenhorn, The Flyin’ A’s, Danny Britt, Barbara Nesbitt and Jaimee Harris. All benefit proceeds will go to the newly unemployed former staff of Strange Brew.
The venue closing is certainly be a loss for the Austin community. The music venue, which went by the name Strange Brew Lounge Side, had gained a strong reputation among both fans and artists, being named both Best Live Music Venue and Best Venue to Play at last year’s Austin Music Awards.
Featured image via The Ramblin’ Geek
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