Eddy’s Tavern closes its doors

Corner restaurant set to be replaced by Sheetz

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Eddy's Tavern closed Saturday. 

Cavalier Daily

Eddy’s Tavern, named after the University’s most notorious poet and dropout Edgar Allen Poe, is closing its doors after two years serving the Charlottesville community. Formerly known as Poe’s Public House, the tavern opened its doors in the spring of 2014 as a destination for food, drinks and nightlife and quickly became part of the Corner culture.

“I thought that it was one of the more chill bars that was on the Corner,” Bethany Forte, a third-year College student who had worked at Eddy’s as a server and bartender since August, said. “For people who, like, didn’t want anywhere crazy like [Trinity] or something, it was kind of a better environment.”

Eddy’s hosted a closing party Saturday night before officially saying goodbye to the Corner. The tavern is set to be replaced by a Sheetz convenience store. Dates for renovations of the building and the opening of the store are still unknown.

Business at Eddy’s had been slowing down in recent months. Within the past year the restaurant saw a shift in the demographic of its customers from primarily students to more local residents.

“It was pretty typical of the rest of the Corner, you know, a student-heavy crowd,” Kirsten White, a fourth-year Engineering student, said. White had worked at Eddy’s as a server since April 2014. “Starting about February or March I’d say, is when the late night crowd started to shift towards more of a townie [group].”

Outside of its role as a restaurant and night time attraction, Eddy’s focused on creating an inviting space for members of the University community. Eddy’s sought to make guests care more about who they were with than where they were, according to its website.

“The crowd at Eddy’s was very racially diverse, I think, in comparison to like the other bars,” Hannah Borja, a second-year College student and server at Eddy’s since June, said.

This past September, Borja began Pride on the Corner, an initiative designed to celebrate the LGBTQ community and create an inclusive environment for people to gather.

“I asked my management if I could start promoting Eddy’s as LGBTQ-friendly one night a week, and they were open to the idea,” Borja said.

The first Pride on the Corner was held Sept. 6 and offered guests special prices on drinks as well as food, karaoke, gender-neutral bathrooms, dance music and a diverse group of people. Pride on the Corner became a weekly event which Eddy’s hosted every Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

“[Pride on the Corner] was really awesome,” Borja said. “There [were] a lot of awesome people that [came] to it and … it was just a really cool thing to do on the Corner.”

Pride on the Corner embodied Eddy’s goal of creating a welcoming, all-inclusive space for members of the University community to gather and enjoy themselves. With the tavern now closed, the students behind Pride on the Corner face the challenge of finding a new forum that will welcome their community and host their event.

“I plan to continue Pride on the Corner,” Borja said. “Next semester I plan to come back with it.”

Eddy’s provided a unique atmosphere on the Corner; however, opinions on how the closing will impact the community varies.

“I don’t know that it’s going to create a huge difference,” Forte said. “I’m assuming that the people who went to Eddy’s are just going to find a new bar on the Corner now.”

White also acknowledged the closing of Eddy’s may lead other local bars, like Boylan Heights and Trinity Irish Pub, to see a slight increase in crowds.

Additionally, Sheetz’s opening might create more of a difference, both Forte and White said, as it may compete with local convenience stores such as Cohn’s on the Corner.

To Borja, the closing of Eddy’s will make for less diverse Corner-goers.

“I think that what Eddy’s did was that it provided a different scene than like the really heteronormative bar scene,” Borja said. “That includes not just variations in like sexuality and gender, but also in race, and I think that Eddy’s just served as a distinct bar from all the other ones.”

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