The Blind Tiger is closing, and its owner is looking for a "new den." Housed in an 1803 building, the Broad Street bar has been serving lawyers, tourists, co-eds, wedding parties, and general merrymakers since the late '80s. But according to Blind Tiger owner Lisa Brown, her lease is not being renewed and she has to move out by January 31, although she claims that no one has told her that officially.
Since Blind Tiger occupies two spaces, 36 Broad and 38 Broad, Brown has two landlords. Developer Mike Shuler owns 38 Broad, while attorney Simms McDowell owns 36 Broad. According to Brown, the current lease agreement includes an addendum that said that if McDowell didn't renew, Shuler wouldn't either. Shuler says McDowell is not renewing. McDowell could not be reached for comment.
As of today, Brown says she has not received verbal, written, or other notification from her landlords that she must end her lease. "I've been trying to get information knowing that my lease is running out, and they've been unavailable," says Brown. Shuler says he has spoken to Brown's broker.
When it comes to a new property, Brown says Blind Tiger fans shouldn't expect a redo. "It will never be the same and I'm not going to try to recreate the Tiger or reinvent it," Brown says. "The architecture, the part of town, all of that is really important. I'm not saying it will ever be the same, I don't know if I'd want it to."
At the moment, Shuler says it's impossible to say what he'd do with the property, noting that the site may have a renovation in its future. "It desperately needs it," he says, adding that he loves the Blind Tiger.
With four months left on the clock, Brown says she wants to do her best to take care of her employees and pay homage to this downtown favorite and its killer back patio. "We're going to bring back every band that's played here, we're going to have parties," she says. And of course, she's welcomes any interested business partners.
"I've worked my ass off for the Blind Tiger to make it what it is in a snotty ass neighborhood," says Brown. "This has caused a lot of pain to my staff. Some people have bailed, some people have stuck by me. I just want to do right by my employees."
Cover photo by Flickr user swackglamor