All these years, nobody wanted to buy a Broadway legend. Charlie’s, a last of its kind Capitol Hill hangout that had been perpetually on the market in recent years, will close later this month, employees of the 39-year-old restaurant are saying.
Charlie’s owner Ken Bauer said he could not confirm the closure Tuesday afternoon but would be able to say more about the situation later this week. The Hill’s social network has spread the word in the meantime. The Facebook and Twitter lamentations for decades of pool tables, reasonable prices, and unreasonably late nights run thick.
UPDATE 6/17/2015 9:15 AM: The restaurant will close Pride weekend, according to a statement:
Sorry to announce that after 39 years we will be shutting out doors. Our last day will be either Saturday or Sunday pride weekend so please come in and say farewell to our awesome family
Bauer and business partner Charles Quinn opened Charlie’s in 1976 and survived through the changes on Broadway mostly by not changing. Open 9 AM to 2 AM every day, Charlie’s still featured cheap steak nights and “cozy booths” even as Broadway sprouted six-story developments, craft cocktail bars, and a light rail station. Gasp — there are even places to park behind the 217 Broadway E restaurant. Sadly, CHS never tried the Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup.
After Quinn died and as the end of Charlie’s 10-year lease approached, Bauer and wife Christine had put the “bar and grill” on the market. CHS wrote about the attempt to sell in 2010. At that time, it was listed for just a little more than $385,000. Bauer said he was looking forward to stepping away from the seven-day-a-week schedule but that running Charlie’s had been a labor of love. “If we don’t sell, I’ve always told friends I hope they carry me out of here feet first,” Bauer told CHS at the time.
CHS also asked Bauer this week if a sale was imminent but he declined to comment, again, and said he would need a few more days before he could say more.
“I’ve always told my employees ‘Everything is for sale,’” Bauer told CHS in 2010.