World Cafe Live, a popular West Philadelphia venue, had opened this sister venue in Wilmington in 2011 in a former burlesque house that had been closed since 1959. Reopening The Queen as a music venue had been part of an ongoing revitalization effort in downtown Wilmington. However, the venue struggled to maintain its ambitious seven day a week schedule.
Hal Real explained the closing to Philadelphia Inquirer in a statement:
“We are proud of the role we have played as a catalyst for revitalizing downtown Wilmington, although we would have hoped the downtown renaissance would have grown at a more rapid pace. Despite our best efforts to make the Queen a seven-days-a-week-operation, we have not been able to generate the revenue required to sustain such an ambitious business model over the past six years.”
The Queen will remain part of the World Cafe Live family until May, after which the building owners were quick to announce it will remain open as a solo venture. However, as of this writing, there is no plan in place yet as to who will operate the venue after World Cafe Live leaves.
The space itself is a selling point of the venue. The main area of the club has impressive 60 foot ceilings and a capacity of 800 in a classic balconied theater-style space. There is also a 250 person capacity cafe upstairs modeled after a similar setup in the Philadelphia World Cafe Live.
The changes in Wilmington are not expected to affect the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, and Real will continue to own and operate that venue as well begin another venture called ‘World Cafe Live Presents’, which will put on concerts and events at other venues in Philadelphia and Wilmington.
Stop by The Queen before it ends in May, and hopefully it’ll soon find an operator to allow The Queen to continue to be a go-to music venue in downtown Wilmington beyond May.