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Downtown Bar Drama

Downtown cocktail bar locked out of its space by another bar: It's a speakeasy drama

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Barringer Bar exterior
Barringer Bar has closed in the wake of a contract dispute with host Clutch City Squire.  Barringer/Facebook

Something has clearly gone wrong with the relationship between Clutch City Squire and Barringer Bar. When Barringer opened in March, it brought an upscale atmosphere to what had been Clutch City's second floor. Owners Robby and Cheiko Cook redecorated to help distinguish Barringer from Clutch City, which is slightly dive-ier and has emerged as a popular place for restaurant industry employees who work in the various bars and restaurants that have opened during the latest wave of downtown revitalization in and around the 300 block of Main.

It's a perfect symbiotic relationship — Clutch for when someone just wants a beer and a shot; Barringer for those who want a cocktail in a more low-key atmosphere than its more crowded neighbors. Which is why Barringer's announcement that it has closed in the wake of a contract dispute with Clutch City is so surprising.  

 

Clutch City's only comment came via Twitter.

Meanwhile, no one's talking about the circumstances surrounding the dispute or the prospects for resolution. The Cooks said they needed to consult with their attorney before making a statement. Clutch City owner Steve Hannigan referred a request for comment to his attorney. The attorney also declined to comment but suggested the matter could be resolved this week.

Eater notes that some social media sympathy has come Barringer's way. Liquid Ninjas, an account for local bartenders, has been promulgating a #NoToClutchCitySquire hashtag, but the account has only gotten three retweets from its 473 followers so far.  

An amicable solution could result in the continuation of both bars' peaceful coexistence, but, given the involvement of attorneys on both sides, that seems unlikely. If nothing else, a swift resolution could result in Barringer flying high again in a new location.  

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