Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Upper Deck Tavern to close next week

Staff //February 19, 2018//

Upper Deck Tavern to close next week

Staff //February 19, 2018//

Listen to this article

The Upper Deck Tavern, the second-floor bar that’s been at 353-B King St. since 2002, will close at the end of the month after the building’s landlord decided not to renew the bar’s lease.

Bar owner Ken Newman said he found out Feb. 12 via email that the landlord was not renewing his lease. He said he wasn’t completely unprepared — he knew the landlord had reservations about a bar on the second floor and said he had been “inattentive” to the bar as of late.

“I was well aware of the things I could’ve improved with Upper Deck Tavern, but I’m not certain it would’ve changed the outcome of what happened,” Newman said.

He added that he’s not bitter and that he doesn’t want to dwell on the negative of what’s happened; he’d rather focus his energy on the future.

“It is a really good time to formulate another step in this ‘follow your dream’ triptych,” Newman said.

Newman said he expects large crowds to come to the Upper Deck and share their memories of the bar, but he said no one should look at it as a funeral or an obituary. He’s currently looking for a new location for another venture, and he said he’s open to ideas and suggestions for concepts or locations.

“All of us at Upper Deck are already planning and looking for another location,” he said. “We’re going to take careful steps to look at many opportunities and many locations. Mostly, we want to take ourselves someplace and do something even better.”

Newman said he’s focused on finding a place that embodies the “Come as you are; be who you are” vibe that he tried to instill in the Upper Deck. He has owned businesses on King Street since 1993, first with the Horse and Cart Cafe and then the Upper Deck. He said that as poetic as it would be to find a location on King Street, real estate there has probably become too expensive for him to afford.

“We would have to more than triple our business to stay on King Street,” he said. “Possible, but in that sense, I’m not even sure it would be the same business. More than anything, I think we’re trying to find the right space that feels comfortable.”

Newman said the Upper Deck team is going to do its best to stick together into the next venture, especially because Newman credits his bartenders, whom he calls “producers,” for the bar’s success.

“I’m not the face behind the business,” he said. “I’ve just been the head behind the business. My producers have been the face of the business. All respect and gratitude goes to them.”

Newman said whatever his next venture is, it’ll be the end for him.

“This will be my last chapter, because three is enough,” he said. “Three is enough. … And it’ll be my best. It’ll be our best.”