Live music wafted up Elliewood Tuesday evening as fourth-year students carried their student IDs and fourth-year cards down familiar stairs for the long-awaited reopening of popular local bar Coupe DeVille’s. After almost two years of closure following a kitchen fire and delays in construction, the bar surprised fourth-years with exclusive access to a private concert — the $20 tickets sold out in under a minute.
Coupe DeVille’s — known affectionately as “Coupe’s” — unexpectedly shut down September 2021 when a grease fire damaged the kitchen and upstairs seating area. Manager Ryan Rooney told The Cavalier Daily that Coupe’s could have reopened by Christmas of that year, but supply chain delays prevented them from replacing kitchen equipment.
With a reopening originally planned for late last summer, Coupe’s remained closed throughout the school year, citing construction stalled by the widespread labor shortage.
Fourth-year students, however, received an email Monday night announcing the establishment’s re-entry onto the late night scene with a private concert featuring “The Back Porch Project” band from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tuesday.
An unspecified number of tickets on sale for $20 each through the LineLeap app sold out in under one minute. Coupe’s later released 50 more tickets at 8:45 p.m. the day of the event.
Although students were excited for the bar’s reopening, many fourth-years said they wished Coupe’s would have opened earlier on in the year.
Fourth-year College student Sophia Benmhend successfully obtained a ticket to the event but did not have the required fourth-year card — a card offered for pickup on select days at Rooney’s other bars, Trinity and Boylan, that offers deals and promotions for fourth-year students. She said she would still try to enter Tuesday’s event but was unsure of her chances.
“It kind of blows that it seems like the only opportunity that the fourth-years have to go to Coupe’s at all before they potentially leave Charlottesville forever is tonight,” Benmhend said. “It was really my favorite bar. So I was definitely bummed to find out that it was probably not going to be an option for me to go here unless it opens for more days before graduation.”
Other students cited the high cost of tickets as a barrier to entry. Fourth-year College student Kasey Kiefer said she chose not to purchase a ticket even though Coupe’s was her favorite bar.
“I wasn’t going to pay a $20 cover to get into a Corner bar in Charlottesville, but Coupe’s is still really nostalgic for me and I’m excited to hopefully go again before I graduate,” Kiefer said.
The plan for the bar’s full reopening remains unannounced, with the official website still “closed for renovations.” Coupe’s management did not respond to a request for comment.