Yale University Properties tried for two years to help a tenant keep open College Street’s Anchor bar, but the manager just couldn’t meet the rent, officials said Monday. No further rescue efforts are in the cards.
The officials—Yale Director of New Haven Affairs Lauren Zucker and Yale University Properties leasing agent John Pollard—described the efforts in an interview with the Independent following an outpouring of public disappointment over the news that the Anchor, a storied watering hole since Prohibition days, served its last drink Sunday night. (The original full story about the closing appears lower down in this article.)
The Moore family, which has owned the Anchor for more than 50 years, has no interest in trying to keep the business going or finding new management for it, one of the principals, Charles Moore, said Monday. “It’s difficult for us to run the business” anymore, Moore said. “If it’s not going to work, the family understands that. We thought we had made all the best decisions for the Anchor. We’re sad to see it going. But so be it. If something better comes along, we’re OK with that. The chapter’s closed.
“The bar business is a very dicey business at best. It’s tough on families. It’s tough on relationships.”
The Moores had hired David Nyberg’s management company, DWN Enterprises, to run the Anchor. Nyberg signed a lease with Yale in December 2012, Zucker said.
“He’s been a very sporadic rent payer since the conception of his lease,” Zucker said. Nyberg failed to make rent payments, then failed to meet the terms of a court-ordered stipulation, Zucker said. She and Pollard said Yale had made “accommodations” with Nyberg to try to help him stay in business; they declined to say what kind of accommodations. (“We’re not going to put out in the press our rent negotiations,” Pollard said. “We don’t disclose people’s business arrangements in the press.”)
Nyberg Monday confirmed Zucker’s and Pollard’s version of events. He conceded tthat he had fallen behind on the rent. He said he wishes he could have had more time to try to keep the Anchor open. Nyberg, once an active developer and property manager in New Haven, has been pulling back on his work here.
Moore said his attorney and Nyberg’s attorneys are currently discussing unidentified points of contention about the Anchor: “It hasn’t been a smooth road, I’ll say that.” Moore had no comment about the fate of some of the Anchor’s iconic inventory, such as the Rock-Ola jukebox. He added that his family has “always had great relations with Yale.”
Pollard said that Yale University Properties will seek a new commercial tenant for the space at 272 College St. He declined to identify what kind of business Yale would like to see occupy the space.
Pressed about its preferences for commercial tenants, Pollard said: “We do not emphasize having bars.”
“So many factors go into” choosing a tenant, Zucker said, including “credibility, facilities, experience.”
Pollard said Yale will not actively seek to find a tenant who would buy the Anchor and keep it going as a bar. Nor will Yale keep the business going on its own, he said: “The university cannot enter into becoming a bar operation.”
“We’ve made repeated attempts to rescue the Anchor over the years. We’ve proved that,” Pollard said.
“It would be totally inappropriate for me as a broker to try to go out and entice somebody to be the Anchor bar and restaurant,” Pollard said. “You have to let the market dictate that. The first time you put someone into a business that doesn’t work, you’re liable. David Nyberg couldn’t make it work. The Moores want to move on.”
Zucker said Yale notified Nyberg’s DWN Enterprises in the fall that it needed to vacate the premises. She said Nyberg asked for an extension through the end of the year to avoid having to fire people during the holidays and to give employees advance notice. Employees ended up not learning of the closing until hours before the final call Sunday.
Following is an earlier version of this article:
The doors of one of downtown’s storied businesses closed Sunday night, as the Anchor Restaurant served its last drink to the public. At least for now.
Behind on its rent, the College Street bar pulled up ... well, anchor ... after well more than a half-century as a watering hole for actors, poets, and regulars drawn to its sense of history and unpretentious charm (which one admirer boiled down to “lighthouse-shaped lamps, blue vinyl booths and a neon-lit Rock-Ola jukebox”). It was the bar where bartenders from other taverns showed up after finishing their shifts.
The word spread on social-media sites Sunday night, with tributes and regrets and calls to meet for a final drink, hushed tete-a-tete, or send-off celebration. But management threw out the last patrons (pictured) shortly after 8 p.m.
The Anchor had hit hard financial times and fell “a few months” behind in rent, according to David Nyberg, whose company managed the bar.
He said the bar did start repaying the bill, but Yale University Properties, the landlord, decided not to continue renting.
“We tried. We want it to continue. Yale hopefully will find an operator” to keep the institution going as the Anchor, Nyberg said.
The Anchor’s official permittee was Albert DiCicco (pictured). Reached by phone in Rhode Island Sunday night, Albert’s son said Albert has been ill and wasn’t available to speak. DiCicco was one of the managers with Nyberg, according to Nyberg.
Yale spokesman Jim Shelton released this statement: “University Properties entered into a lease with the current owners of the Anchor Bar, who purchased the business from the Anchor’s original owners a few years ago. The current owners have decided not to continue the business.” (Nyberg said the management of the business, not the ownership, changed a few years ago.)
“I knew this would all come sooner or later. It’s been an icon all these years,” said Charlie Moore, whose family has owned the Anchor for 50 years. Moore said his family still owns the business. “It’s sad to see it go. But all things run its course.” State records list a “still active” LLC run by Moore and his mother as the business’s owners. Nyberg confirmed that he and DiCicco work for the Moores.
In a conversation Sunday evening, Moore offered a snapshot Anchor history.
“The bar originally started in Woodmont in Milford on Anchor Beach. That’s where the name Anchor came from. That was back during Prohibition,” he said.
“It [was brought] to New Haven in the ‘40s by a man Al Levett. Al Levett sold it to my uncle, Harold Singer.
“Harold sold it to my father, Marshall Moore, and his sister, Kathleen Balunas. That was 1963.”
Marshall died in 2000. Charlie (who’s now 52) and his mother Dorothea then took over ownership, and have continued owning it since. They hired Nyberg’s company to manage it. “In David Nyberg’s defense, the city of New Haven has not made it a conducive business environment downtown. I’ll single out the parking issue,” Moore remarked.
After the bar shut down Sunday evening, patrons stopped to take last-minute photos in front of the New Haven landmark before the restaurant’s neon lights turned off for the last time.
“I just lost my job. I’m not really in the mood to discuss this,” remarked one of the bartenders.
Beecher Taylor, a comic who has lived in New Haven for five years and is past winner of the Connecticut Comedy Festival, was reaching for a different kind of punch line as he talked about the bar’s closing: “It’s sentimental. It’s a New Haven nightmare. The closing was abrupt and it didn’t give us time to prepare,” he said.
Jamie Arabolos, who has tended bar in New Haven establishments for 13 years, arrived too late to gain entrance even though she was familiar with some of the staff. Arabalos sported a red hoodie as rain continued to fall on her and those gathered outside. She called the Anchor “one of the best places to go when we got out of work.” Arabolos warned that “any places bearing vintage or original signs are disappearing forever.”
Vicky Allen arrived moments after the restaurant went dark. She said she wanted to come down to “say good-bye.” Allen recalled that she had run bible studies in the bar. “They were always nice and accommodating,” she said.
“I just heard and just got out of work. It came out of nowhere for me” said a patron of 11 years, who asked to be identified only as Charlie. Charlie called the Anchor “a different kind of bar where you talk to people and you build relationships here.”
At 11 p.m. people were still coming by to pay their respects, taking pictures of the place. and chatting with each other.
“I figured on the last night it would stay open until one,” said one.
“It’s got a studied decrepitude,” said Roderick Topping of Dwight Street, who has lived in New Haven since 1988. “It’s the old ‘50s New Haven that I never knew. I was appalled when they put in a new carpet.”
“This was where I met you,” his friend said to him.
“The second time,” he said.
“The time you remember,” she said.
A man with a beard came by and tried the door anyway, even though he saw the window dark. Two more people came by. They’d heard the news and had come by for a last round, expecting to find it open. They took a picture through the window.
Charlie Moore’s favorite memories: Hanging out with Anchor regular Thornton Wilder. “Thornton Wilder and my father were best friends. As a kid, Thornton Wilder was just one of the guys. I never knew he was a double Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He was a great friend,” Moore said.
The Anchor survived the devastation of most of the businesses surrounding it along College Street in the 1970s. Then, when developer Joel Schiavone rebuilt the district as “Shubert Square” in the 1980s, he made sure to keep the Anchor there. It enjoyed a revival along with downtown New Haven since. Schiavone, an early proponent of the philosophy that came to be known as new urbanism, argued that locally owned businesses—like the Anchor, like Claire’s Corner Copia—rather than chain outlets, give cities a distinctive edge over the suburbs. Schiavone lost his College Street area properties to foreclosure in the 1990s; Yale bought them. In recent years Yale, like other landlords, has been filling downtown storefronts with outlets of out-of-town chains.
Ah well, the place hasn’t been the same since Dee left anyway.
posted by: ADAK on January 4, 2015 11:35pm
While it sounds like Yale might have solid grounds not to renew the lease (rent being owed) I sincerely hope they find someone to keep running it as the Anchor.
On a side note, all these old neon signs in the city need to be saved! They create a simple, distinct atmosphere to changing cities that might otherwise become vanilla.
posted by: mlpavela on January 4, 2015 11:42pm
This is still tragic. It was a great place. All the best to everyone out of work.
posted by: NYCcroc on January 4, 2015 11:55pm
This is another effed up New Haven act. Some people running things around here have no clue what they are really doing or what they are really destroying. To blame whatever is going on here only on parking is absurd. I am certainly not a fan of New Haven’s parking meter situation however I believe this is more about some sort of blend of lack of proper management, lack of social media promoting of many kinds and landlords that have no understanding or care for a local peoples need and desire for signature historical places. Its our DNA as a society that is being stolen from ALL of us.
The landlords found weakness in lack of rent as usual and are going to enrich their own coffers with a new chain store par usual too, like they really need it. Shame on them for stripping our fabulous institutions away … The selfish bastards. I think there is a much bigger story behind all of this and those at hand here don’t want it told.
I think we need to dig deeper and save this lonely yet most fabulous historic snapshot of our past before they claim another victim and giggle over some fine wine and cigars… until those next door who serve such can’t pay them either.
The right thing to do is find a new owner that knows how to run a fine old bar in the modern world, clean the place up and drop Anchor for many more decades. People please Say something before we loose this forever.
posted by: EastRocker on January 5, 2015 12:11am
Had many a great evening, and quite a few afternoons, too. It would be nice if Yale decided to rent to someone who could keep the name and decor, instead of slowly killing the local culture in favor of everything upscale, for once.
posted by: SReilly on January 5, 2015 12:37am
NHI. Please please delve deeper and get us real answers about who is really behind this shutdown of a beloved, busy, and beautifully unique downtown institution. Is this Yale!, the owners?, the management?, who?. If this is Yale pushing out businesses, citizens and students need to know. If this is city regulations making it hard to make profitable businesses, we need to know. If a dumb management company just screwed up, that’s crucial to know. Suggesting all these options but not following up with an answer isn’t good. People care about our cityscapes and don’t want them becoming cookie cutter chains. This has happened enough to start getting alarmed and we need to know what the cause is in order to start addressing it.
posted by: NYCcroc on January 5, 2015 1:20am
Well said SReilly. There is much more to this story that needs to be investigated. We need to stop this from being destroyed, enough is enough. Funny how no one noticed that the fabulous FIRESTONE neon on Union and Chapel Sts was taken down and replaced with some plastic unreadable modern crap. It was one of the last neons from the 1950s in New Haven. Its gone forever and ironically Firestone is still there. The Anchor will be next if we don’t voice our opinion about what it really means to us all. Pushing out businesses is creating a boring common anywhere USA environment. We need to keep what we have left of our unique visuals and city background at all cost. Even if the landlord doesn’t make more Quarters to add to their Billions. They’ll be better off for our effort to save the Anchor anyway.
posted by: Bradley on January 5, 2015 7:01am
I agree with NYCcroc that it is likely that parking was not the reason for the Anchor’s demise. The number of downtown bars and restaurants (chains and independents) has increased steadily in recent years and more are coming.
posted by: sonychka on January 5, 2015 7:27am
THE PUB IS THE HUB!! Organize! Collectivize!! We ought do what a group of Cumbrian villagers did. Click the linK to see how a village in rural Northern England, near the Scottish borders, bought back its version of The Anchor. It can be done. It should be done. No crying in our beers over this. Anyone interested in reviewing the model, please respond. If the sentiments attached to The Anchor are anything more than fleeting, consider this model.
From the link below: “...The co-operative ownership model demonstrates one way in which local people can act together to keep a local pub open and thriving. It shows the great value placed on the pub and has provided a focus for community cohesion…”
C’mon people: money where your mouth is!!Organize! Collectivize!!
posted by: Mister Jones on January 5, 2015 7:46am
Strangest part of the article: “They hired Nyberg’s company to manage it.”
posted by: LorcaNotOrca on January 5, 2015 8:15am
I know this is woefully idealistic and perhaps unreasonable to ever expect, but I wish that in the face of rising rents, special consideration could be given for places that are, well, anchors of their community. An institution that goes back as far as Anchor shouldn’t just be allowed to leave because we lose so much more character and meaning than just some other bar. Especially with everything everyone’s already said - what will likely take its place will be sterile. I don’t really understand how all those putting in new developments and storefronts, etc. don’t understand how g-damn lame they are. Does no one in that end of the business even get it? Are there actual rules that neon signs must come down?
posted by: robn on January 5, 2015 8:35am
The heart of a great bar isn’t the decor or $1 Schaeffers, it’s people like Marshall and Dee. Find a operator with character and you’ll revive this important institution.
posted by: Bradley on January 5, 2015 8:37am
SReilly, I agree that further inquiries make sense. But I suspect that it will boil down to (1) the Anchor being unable to pay its rent regularly for reasons specific to its business and (2) the landlord believing that it can find a tenant that can pay its rent.
I’ve lived here for 25+ years and have seen lots of local businesses go under (I particularly miss Cutler s). But this a national phenomenon; for example, Harvard Square looks like an open air suburban shopping mall.
posted by: LorcaNotOrca on January 5, 2015 9:34am
To say a few kind extra words, I’d add that Anchor was one of those few “everyman” kind of bars. Completely un-pretentious and drew a crowd that included pretty much every demographic. Not quite a dive as it still had class, but it was a class many years old that only got more interesting as the interior and exterior grew more dated. A true original, indeed.
posted by: DingDong on January 5, 2015 10:05am
This is a real shame and a true loss for the community. I imagine we’ll get some celebrity-chef chain restaurant (but we can hold out hope for something unique like Ordinary). But I really don’t get how parking is to blame? It seems like New Haven has parking all over the place. Every visitor I show New Haven to remarks how downtown is marred by massive parking garages all over the place. After all, this is a bar—-people shouldn’t be driving there.
posted by: TheMadcap on January 5, 2015 10:23am
Yale is going to fill this with whatever the bar version of Emporium DNA is in their ongoing effort to sterilize certain areas and get rid of the undesirables(re: anyone not making at least $70k a year)
posted by: NYC Croc on January 5, 2015 10:23am
Mister Jones, I was biting my tongue with that fact. Mr. Nyberg didn’t do well with trying to preserve the three historic PMC buildings on Crown St, in which his crews stripped out many of the magnificent giant 19c old growth beams that spand the structures and his crew cashed in the original copper cornice. He left that project with the buildings with weather exposed holes in the roof all a mess.Thank goodness PMC was forced to keep the historic look and finished the job leaving the original buildings preserved and intact, even if they selfishly took the most valuable retail space on the first floor of two of the buildings and made them moronic one room apts behind the now sealed shaded picture windows. The landlord really helped our local communities economy with that self serving act… After that, I then hear that Mr. Nyberg is over at the Anchor. . . Well here we are today.
And Sonychka, I think you are correct that the community should organize and yes The Pub Is The Hub… Just remember where the rumblings of the American Revolution began. We need to save the Anchor because you are correct that it’s not fleeting and I do believe it’s most important to who we are and helps New Haven keep unique as a community in America.
The landlords of this property should understand this and at very least for the facts that the Anchors fabulous 1940s exterior is a fine shade of BLUE and it’s sign does actually say ANCHOR . Is there a better photo background on College St for tourists? other than the two other great institutions flanking it? Read the signs smart people who own the land, take the challenge and fix the problems without cowardly destroying the question. The right answer has been in front of you all along.
posted by: robn on January 5, 2015 10:40am
“Did I ever tell you about the time I was in the ring with Joe Louis? (awkward pause) I was the referee (high pitched laughter)” Marshall Moore (every night…probably at every table)
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 5, 2015 11:07am
I went to Yale in the Eighties, and the Anchor is central to my memories of my experience there. There were other places one could drink; the Anchor was the cool place to go. The really smart grad students went there; if you went there and hung out with them, it meant you were going places, and, more importantly, you GOT IT. If you took a date there it meant you were serious, sophisticated, you were one of the grown-ups.
There are not many places in American culture right now that take green, silly kids and turn them into grown-ups. Even by such simple things as exposure to grown-up cocktails, a grown-up jukebox, and grown-up conversation. That’s what the Anchor was. It wasn’t a place where frat bros went to get shitfaced on beer. It was a sophisticated place—maybe to a silly degree? Did the students waltzing in there think they were Susan Sontag and Robert Wilson at age 19? Maybe…but in today’s infantilized age, I’ll take it.
I blame the students of 2015 Yale a little bit for this. Because surely if the Anchor were doing booming, blasting business, they wouldn’t be closing their doors. Are the corn-fed, Middle American kids of Yale preferring other, “safer,” more-like-at-home-with-Mom-and-Dad, chain-style options? If so, they don’t deserve the power and the glory of the Anchor. Even in my time (1985-89), the place felt too damn good for us….it was like a spaceship from the New York we all dreamed of descended on our dopy little lives. Maybe the Anchor wound up finally too good for the people it was servicing now.
posted by: ILivehere on January 5, 2015 12:26pm
It isn’t really Yale’s fault although they clearly don’t want any bars in properties they own any longer. The Problem is between tax’s and insurance and the parking issue (yes there is parking but people want free parking like in all surrounding areas even state street). There is simply no money to be made in a small standard bar. That’s why we have seen them all fail over the last few years. If the Anchor had updated to $15 mixed dollar drinks like everyone else has they would still be here of course then it wouldn’t be the Anchor.
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 5, 2015 12:41pm
Parking? Hey, in my day, the Anchor was filled to bursting with…I’d say eighty percent grad students and a sprinkling of undergrads. Vacillating somewhere between seventy and ninety percent. A few locals. But the point is: students don’t HAVE cars! Nobody DROVE to the Anchor! You WALKED OVER! So I don’t get that.
No, I suspect that it is dying for the reason such places in New York are dying. Rising rents, blah blah—if people want to go there, they will go. But I think young people view these places and instead of saying “Classic, historic, timeless, cool, rich with stories—awesome, let’s go!” they say “Oh, old and yucky! I bet the bathroom smells! Let’s go get a twenty-five-dollar mojito at this hotel boutiquey bar down the way!”
This is a dreadful thing about our culture. All that’s new-n-shiny—like the latest inane iteration of an iPad—is It, kiddo. The analog thing that has some groovy wear and tear…uncool to these little tech-driven babies that are used to gleamy flatscreen TV’s and gleamy smartphones. Bleh. Let’s drink to a world that gleameth not.
posted by: JustAnotherTaxPayer on January 5, 2015 1:29pm
It’s a time machine. A movie set. A place where spirits come to relax with the living. Worst of all it has to exist amongst businesses with no souls, and the competition to make every square inch of property to keep pace with the profit standards established by the juvenile bean counters, actual unknowing, unthinking, immature, hired guns, of the Yale Corporation. I guess there is no history allowed to exist for New Haven unless it is condoned by Yale, or too powerful for Yale to want to waste time fighting. That must be why the Coliseum was torn down, but it’s accompanying tower, The Knights of Columbus International Headquarters to survive. Yale sucks!
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 5, 2015 1:42pm
The Yale/New Haven relationship I lived in had a lot of problems. Namely, Yale kids were told, “Walk along this perimeter…and here, and here…but don’t EVER go past here or you will be raped, shot, and hung from a tree.” And there was a lot of crime. And there was a lot of rot.
However…it seems the only “cure” for this in America is the Upscale Mallification of everything. I gather that the Yale Co-Op—that charming general store of my adolescence—became some form of Barnes & Noble/Starbucks, then, after that concept was crushed by Amazon…I don’t know, what is it now, some yuppie department store?
The 80s experience was cool because it was ancient, superrich, Gothic Yale flirting and sometimes cohabitating with skeezy, still-in-the-seventies, vaguely mobbed-up New Haven. Those are two flavors that go together brilliantly—see the old Taft, see the Anchor. I remember moving into a cockroach-infested apartment above that old Satanist-owned bookstore down by the art gallery, and Joel Schiavone, shocked at the horror that a Yalie would be terrorized by a supercolony of cockroaches, moved me into the posh Taft at the same rate! Can you imagine that happening today in the pseudo-New York real estate climate of New Haven?
It appears New Haven was cured but the patient died on the table.
posted by: HewNaven on January 5, 2015 1:50pm
It seems like Moore gave up and even admitted he thought closure was inevitable. Yet here we have so many vocal supporters who claim to want the business to continue. I think whoever mentioned COLLECTIVE OWNERSHIP is onto something. It may also have been a good enough strategy to keep thise other places around (e.g. Cutler’s). Too late now! Moore should have let everyone know he wasn’t feeling it anymore. Someone would have stepped up.
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 5, 2015 1:58pm
Cutler’s? So…as one who has not seen New Haven since George H.W. Bush was (barely) in office…what has left? Toad’s? Yorkside Pizza? Bulldog Pizza? Viva Zapata’s? Mia’s the sushi joint? The Satanist bookstore? M, the women’s fashion place? That shwanky coffee joint (kind of a nineties upscale coffee joint avant la lettre) where I hear there was a freaky shooting? MORY’S? What other classic joints have gone down?
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 5, 2015 1:58pm
posted by: SReilly on January 5, 2015 12:37am
NHI. Please please delve deeper and get us real answers about who is really behind this shutdown of a beloved, busy, and beautifully unique downtown institution. Is this Yale!, the owners?, the management?, who?. If this is Yale pushing out businesses
Who.I keep telling all of you,But you are not hearing.It is the gentrification vampires.You see when Threefifths tells you something,You say I am a trouble maker, Always negative. People wake up,There is more on the way.
There Goes the Neighborhood Cafe
Danny Meyer: Union Square Cafe Is a Casualty of Rising Rents
Rest in peace, Anchor. New Haven will never be the same without you. Easily the best bar in town.
posted by: ILivehere on January 5, 2015 2:34pm
Why all the questions about who is behind the shutdown? They cant pay the rent. Its not a viable business model any longer just like Richter’s and dozens of other small bars have found out. Next time a bartender offers you one on the house say no I’d rather the place stay open.
Is there a way I can get in touch with you, Mr. Wilder? I’d be very curious to talk to you about what you remember of New Haven.
posted by: ADAK on January 5, 2015 2:45pm
Threefifths… you don’t help your cause. You say people think you are “a trouble maker, always negative” because you are! How do you not see that?
SReilly asked for real answers, a real person or company, management to pinpoint for the shut down of The Anchor.
You say the answer is some mystical “gentrification vampires”, a group of mysterious beings with no personal identification, just a scapegoat you like to blame everything on and then link to a random article with no call-outs.
Let me go get my stake and scour the streets at midnight looking for these scary badies…
posted by: NYCcroc on January 5, 2015 3:08pm
Behind that freshly painted white window, the body isn’t even cold yet and you can bet they are already pulling out the gold teeth. Speak up soon or even the bones will disappear.
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 5, 2015 3:11pm
Eva G: Yes, you can find me on Facebook under Matthew David Wilder.
posted by: EastRocker on January 5, 2015 3:30pm
I’ve been seeing a lot of Yale faculty and staff really upset about this on social media. There is definitely a disconnect from the school and the property management company.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 5, 2015 4:04pm
posted by: ADAK on January 5, 2015 2:45pm
Threefifths… you don’t help your cause. You say people think you are “a trouble maker, always negative” because you are! How do you not see that? I call it like it is.How many of you remeber Miguel Pittman ownner of Sandra’s.Yale move him out and look what they put in his place.Moe’s Southwest Grill.Like I said it is the gentrification vampires.
Sure sounds like Yale made a solid effort to help out the owners of Anchor even though they aren’t in love with having more bars in New Haven. It had its chance, but alas. Sad to see it go.
Curious what ends up there in 2017. Yale mentioned wanting a home good store, though that would likely end up in the new grad dorms on Broadway. Honestly could use a home goods store.
Gotta say, Dollar Tree and Elm City Market sure aren’t cutting it. And let’s face it, I’m too lazy to ride my bike to Ikea in this weather.
posted by: Esbey on January 5, 2015 5:14pm
To be be clear, especially to the old-timers, the Anchor wasn’t killed by homogenizing “Mallification” but rather by a set of impassioned high-quality local bar owners who simply out-competed David Nyberg. The grad students de-camped for BAR on Crown Street a long time ago. Those seeking adulthood through sophisticated cocktails went to 116 Crown, or else now to the Ordinary (the re-born Richters).
Live music at Cafe Nine and Stella Blues is better than the rock-ola jukebox. A mojito is better at Pacifico, a margarita is better at Oaxaca, a beer is better at Cask Republic. You can *smoke* and drink at the Owl Shop! In today’s downtown New Haven, you can choose a cozy bar, a hip bar, a noisy bar, a quiet bar, even an alcohol-in-your chocolate-drink bar.
In contrast to the great local owners of all these places, after thinking about all of David Nyberg’s projects I can only conclude that he is King of the Half-Baked.
posted by: budman on January 5, 2015 5:14pm
Yale didn’t shut down the Anchor, the Anchor shut down the Anchor by not paying rent. While I am super sad to see it go, this is piss poor management and should not be blamed on the landlord.
posted by: HewNaven on January 5, 2015 5:37pm
Property owners will always have their way with tenants. The solution must lie in preventing consolidation of property (e.g. Yale Properties) and encouraging broader ownership amongst residents, even if it means collective ownership, worker’s collectives, etc.. That is the only way to prevent this type of situation. The landlord model is as old as civilization yet people here are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened.
posted by: robn on January 5, 2015 6:52pm
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 5, 2015 7:06pm
Sorry, I have not set foot in New Haven in a zillion years, so WHAT DO I KNOW, but I do know as a citizen of Los Angeles, California, and a frequent visitor and former citizen of New York City, New York, I was repulsed by these words:
“In today’s downtown New Haven, you can choose a cozy bar, a hip bar, a noisy bar, a quiet bar, even an alcohol-in-your chocolate-drink bar.”
Right. In other words, “In today’s gentrified New Haven, you go to various boutiquey artisanal mixological places that don’t smell like pee and don’t have toothless old guys in ‘em!”
An alcohol in your chocolate drink bar? Really? Was this written by a man? With testicles?
I guess the forceful, dynamic libertarian who wrote these words imagined that New Haven was roaring with CHOICES!—you know, like a cineplex with sixteen screens? Only sometimes all those choices are REALLY SHITTY. Because all those forceful, dynamic bar owners got together and pitched to the LCD!
There is one cultural force at work here that is really scary. I was in New York in the nineties in the Giuliani moment when Wall Street money invaded previously semi-grotty artist world and took over the real estate. Why, I asked, why? Can’t they stay in their nice Chelsea apartments? No, I was told, they craved the “authenticity” of “where the artists lived.”
Well, guess what. That’s all gone now. A place like the Anchor…no one craves the “keepin’ it real”-ness of that. No, they want an…“alcohol in your chocolate drink” bar! They want places that reenforce their self-image: as hip, upwardly mobile, urban and YOUNG! In fact, why don’t we drag the Anchor jukebox into the street and play Fun’s anthemic tune “We Are Young” while swilling…choco-tinis! YOLO! We’re killin’ it, bro!
posted by: robn on January 5, 2015 9:09pm
We should heed MDWs warnings. There are no better experts on the subject fake authenticity as those from LA.
posted by: AverageTaxpayer on January 5, 2015 9:23pm
One would think there’d be plenty of smart business people wanting to buy the Anchor from the Moores, in order to breathe new life into a historic establishment in a prize location.
Unfortunately those same smart business people tend to think twice before entering into a long-term relationship with Yale as their landlord.
posted by: LorcaNotOrca on January 5, 2015 10:00pm
@matthewdavidwilder : that was a brilliant response! It would have been all too easy to blame the landlord (can’t blame us for being suspicious), but it’s even more disappointing to hear that it suffered from shoddy management. I’d love it if someone actively stepped up and reclaimed it. Yale might not actively try to make it another bar, but maybe if someone takes the helm? Whatever happens, holy hell, please don’t tell me it’ll become a home goods store. That translates to me as “another gift shop.”
posted by: TheMadcap on January 6, 2015 9:25am
“Right. In other words, “In today’s gentrified New Haven, you go to various boutiquey artisanal mixological places that don’t smell like pee and don’t have toothless old guys in ‘em!””
Don’t worry, there are still plenty of dive bars in New Haven as well, heck one of them was right downtown(Elm Bar) until last year)
posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on January 6, 2015 11:05am
Average taxpayer- You said it. I run a bar/restaurant that has been in business for decades, and although I have always loved the Anchor and am pretty sure I could run it successfully under normal circumstances, I would not think of entering into a contract with Yale properties. My guess is they want that bar to go away anyway. Yale does not want any liquor licences in any of their properties unless they serve expensive french food with it. Keep an eye out for some chain to replace the Anchor. One more reason to stop going down town, Toads is next, Yale has been lawyer-ing up to remove that New Haven institution, go now and enjoy it before it is gone.
Here is a partial list of forced out LOCALLY OWNED businesses Yale has killed: Yale Co-op (80 years serving the community!) the Liquor Store on Broadway(forgot their name) Demery’s Copper Kettle Yankee Doodle Gentry’s Rhumba Bespoke I know there are a lot more but these are a few that came to mind immediately. Others I forgot?
Optimally, we’d hope to see the historic facade and furnishings be reused in situ with a new restaurant / bar. If that is not possible, we hope Yale and the owners of the Anchor Bar would consider carefully deconstructing the historic elements and making them available to a downtown New Haven business that would reuse them in a new operation. Places like the “ordinary” and Louie’s Lunch are great models of how successful businesses can use historic preservation. If Yale and the Anchor owners could help facilitate an effort to preserve the facade, it would be a win-win for everyone.
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 6, 2015 11:38am
OH MY GOD! They killed Yankee Doodle. THEY KILLED YANKEE DOODLE?
posted by: HewNaven on January 6, 2015 11:51am
I think in a few examples cited (e.g. Yankee Doodle, Cutler’s, Anchor) the customers - old and new - are more loyal than the owners. The owners wanted out,they weren’t forced out. Which is again why collective ownership may be a measure to preserve historic businesses from going away.
You like it? Put your money where your mouth is! Let these families rest after decades of working.
posted by: clare on January 6, 2015 12:24pm
Sad to see the anchor go but 2 things to keep in mind. Yes, its a cool bar and speaks to the history of the city but you still need strong and active management which obviously didn’t occur here and second, all these folks commenting need to support such bars, restaurants, shops that they want to remain. Here’s a great article from Esquire on the slow loss of the dive bar. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/death-of-dives?src=spr_TWITTER&spr_id=1456_126559062
posted by: Esbey on January 6, 2015 1:10pm
@MDW, so your argument is that you have no idea what New Haven is like, but you can sit in front of your screen and imagine something that you don’t like and it upsets you. Further, the only good bar is filled with toothless piss-soaked old men, and therefore we should all lament the loss of a nostalgic 1949 cocktail lounge frequented by Pulitzer Prize winners and Ivy League grad students.
And, anyone with tastes different than yours is “girlie.” (Side note: the current term is “gay” and it is no longer an insult. Sorry, times change.)
I get that you imagine you were very Authentic when you ventured one-half block off of the Yale campus to get a drink in a somewhat old bar. In my imagination I compare your corner of old geezer LA-LA land to today’s downtown New Haven. We have plenty toothless drunks, drag queens, ghetto hip-hoppers and near-naked underage clubbers puking at bus stop, right along side the barrel-aged mixed drinks, the dark chocolate (yeah, I said it), the French food and the great live theater and music.
You’d hate it. Please don’t visit.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 6, 2015 2:30pm
Without changing it, the Anchor would make an for an excellent breakfast joint, that could easily double as an evening coffeehouse/dessert bar.
After the loss of the Copper Kitchen, maybe Yale will see the light on this one?
posted by: Theodora on January 6, 2015 4:06pm
Tried this place twice. Treated rudely both times. Read that they were behind on rent repeatedly (not surprising given the lack of customer service). Yale gave them a bunch of chances. Anchor owners given a break for the benefit of employees. Did not inform employees until the doors were basically closing.
Why is anyone defending them?
posted by: matthewdavidwilder on January 6, 2015 5:20pm
Esbey: What you described is eminently imaginable. It’s what civic life IS, more and more, in a post-Bloomberg-New-York cityscape. It’s “diversity” as presented by Uber Capitalisme: a panoply of 31 flavors, each of them reflecting your Ascendantness to you.
Before, “booming neighborhoods” meant a mix of old and new (to use my own city, see the combination of old Orthodox Jews’ shops and hipster sneaker joints on Fairfax—a rarity). Now, it means a mally combination of new and new, lightly perfumed with an authentic spritz of “artisanal” realness. I’ll sit with the 1949 Pulitzer winners, you sexy young thing, you!
posted by: robn on January 6, 2015 7:14pm
The formula is simple. Set the beer prices so you can pay your rent. If the crowd doesn’t continue to show up then they’re priority is cheap over cool. And if anyone insists it’s the same thing, please explain that to the bartenders who’s pay is set by the profits and who also have to pay rent (not to mention put food on a table for their families).
posted by: Stylo on January 6, 2015 10:42pm
Yale didn’t “kill” Yankee Doodle.
“Vice president of the University, Bruce Alexander, said, “If they had been in one of [Yale’s] properties, we would have made every effort to keep the business going so future generations of Yale students could enjoy the same pigs in blankets we did”.”
I’m with Anderson Scooper: A comfy hangout serving breakfast/lunch, a la Copper Kettle but with Anchor decor, would be great. Please, Yale, you’ve done some good work, but no more chains for downtown right now. Keep New Haven quirky.