Do you want to hear a scary story? Really, what should you expect but ghosts haunting you out of business when you open a bar inside a former mortuary.
We’re lying. Unfortunately, there was nothing Scooby Doo about the decision we reported last week to close Capitol Hill’s The Chapel Bar at the end of summer.
“It was primarily a landlord/tenant thing,” Chapel manager Chris Fousek tells CHS. “There were discussions between both sides about certain amenities that couldn’t be agreed on.”
Last Friday, the decision to shutter the 8-year-old bar and shut down with one last party during Labor Day weekend was announced via Facebook. For the bar’s fans, it was an abrupt shot out of the dark but Fousek, who joined The Chapel about nine months ago, said it wasn’t a shocking turn of events for him and the staff of eight that works the bar night in and night out.
“I don’t feel it’s a sinking ship situation by any means,” Fousek said. “It’s a constant grind trying to keep place open, trying to keep people coming in the door. That’s the business.”
Fousek says from his perspective, The Chapel was doing fine with that business despite the grind with its continued strong happy hour performance and an increase in events.
“We still had the strong happy hour crowd,” Fousek said. “But the customer base wasn’t quite working.”
CHS attempted to contact Chapel owners Charles and Lauren Knox but so far we have been unsuccessful. We’ll also try to learn more from the partners at construction law firm Groff Murphy who share the building with The Chapel and also own the building.
Fousek said he holds out some hope that he might be part of what comes next in The Chapel’s space. There’s nothing in the works that he’s aware of but he’s holding out hope that somebody might come in.
In the meantime, he and the staff are busy putting their heads together to plan “some major parties and discounts.”
“I believe everybody is staying to the end,” Fousek said. “When you have staff of 7 or 8 people total, it’s much easy to band together.”
“We’ve all got good connections around the Hill,” Fousek said. “I don’t think anybody’s worried about finding something to do.”