Alex's Closure a Loss for Art Community

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, January 13 2014 at 6:14 PM, Updated: Mon, January 13 2014 at 11:16 PM

A piece of Ashland history, Alex's Restaurant and Bar has closed.

The restaurant has been in business since the 1980's, but signs posted on their doors this weekend say the restaurant's run is over.

NBC 5 News was unable to reach the owners for comment. 

However, the former owner said the business is getting shut down because its bills went unpaid.

A Loss for the Art Community in Particular

Robbie DaCosta, a musician who played with his band every Monday night for the last five years at Alex's is particularly saddened.

"I think it's a devastating thing for the community right now, especially for the art scene for the music scene. It's tragic. It's downright tragic," said DaCosta.

DaCosta, along with another artist showed up Monday afternoon to remove pieces of their art.

"The work, the subject fit the place," said painter Gabriel Lipper.

It was the place and atmosphere DaCosta described as "the living room of Ashland" that people loved.

"Alex's was our favorite place," began Erin Duffy who attends a knitting group every week at Alex's.

"It was just a nice place to gather, they had the fire places and we had our favorite little booth," she said.

Financial Troubles Played a Role

However, the music and atmosphere weren't enough to keep it open.

"From what I heard it was difficult to pay the bills," said DaCosta.

According to Alex Reid who opened the restaurant back in 1987, Alex's closure was a consequence of not paying him, the landlord, and others for too long.

Reid said he previously took the current owners to court because he had not been paid the money he was due. He says the owners declared bankruptcy and after that the financial troubles snowballed. 

The former owner would not go into detail about how much money he was owed, and only said the current owners owe him "quite a bit of money."

He also said it was disappointing to see the restaurant close since he and his wife put their heart and soul into opening it.

Former Owner: Music Played a Part in Alex's Downfall

According to Reid, the building itself is too old to withstand the abuse that comes along with music, dancing and heavy equipment. Other people we spoke with said maintaining the building space was expensive as well.

Reid said he believes too much music may have contributed to Alex's downfall. He says it became more of a bar and nightclub where people were showing up later at night, rather than a restaurant attracting business throughout the day.

On the contrary, DaCosta said the music is what attracted people to Alex's and made it unique.

"It won't be the same without Alex's, but I'll just keep rocking and rolling," said DaCosta.

For now, he said he'll do his best to keep Alex's spirit alive.

"If you like something, support it or it goes away," DaCosta said.

Meantime, one employee said they were shocked to hear the news.

We reached out to the landlord and owner, but neither of them wanted to make any comment.

 

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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