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Here’s why the original Sun Liquor lounge is now for sale

(Image: Sun Liquor)

Born on Capitol Hill as a lounge powered, in part, by Summit Ave doughnut cash, Sun Liquor appears poised to make a final break with its home neighborhood.

Owner Michael Klebeck has confirmed details of the listing on Craigslist advertising the bar now available at the NEW PRICE of $195,000. “Desirable Capitol Hill neighborhood location on a synergistic block with active co-tenants including Single Shot, Top Pot Donuts and Summit Public House,” the sales pitch reads. Sorry: “Business name not included in sale.”

Klebeck tells CHS the search for a buyer is part of the transition for Sun to focus on its wholesale liquor business.

In 2017, CHS reported on the exit of Sun Liquor’s E Pike microdistillery from Capitol Hill after logistics became too much to handle in the densely packed neighborhood. The bar portion of the former distillery is lined up to reopen as East Trading Company from Oasis Bubble Tea owner I-Miun Liu, the most deliberate, moderately paced Capitol Hill business owner CHS has ever covered. Klebeck, who founded Top Pot Doughnuts on Summit with his brother Mark in 2002, is also making plans for something called “516 East Pike Donuts” in a portion of the old space.

As we frequently remind when bars and restaurants are revealed to be for sale, it doesn’t always need to be cause for alarm for patrons — in food+drink, pretty much everything can be for sale at the right price. Finding a buyer — especially in situations when the name isn’t for sale — is a major effort that can trip up even veteran ownership. In one recent example, even as they continue to expand with new concepts, Ethan Stowell Restaurants was forced to shutter 15th and Pine’s Anchovies and Olives after eight years of business when a new buyer did not emerge.

While many sales efforts end with no buyer and a shuttering, it’s not always the case. In January, CHS reported on the Hill newcomer owners taking over 15th Ave E’s Canterbury Ale and Eats from its veteran neighborhood ownership. Late last year, longtime staff took over Liberty for yet another injection of new ownership in 15th Ave’s food and drink economy. And in November, new owner Sean Sheffer told CHS he and his brother had always wanted to run a neighborhood bar and were happy to find their chance in acquiring Nagle Pl’s Cure. “A lot of people talk about their dreams of having their own place,” Sheffer said, “I wanted to do it right.”

Do you, too, want to own a neighborhood bar — and do it right? You’ve got your chance right now on Summit Ave.

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4 thoughts on “Here’s why the original Sun Liquor lounge is now for sale

  1. My favorite bar on Cap Hill. I used to sit in the corner booth (to the left of the door) with a greyhound and notebook, writing poems and being young. The bartenders are the best and the atmosphere is so chill, hopefully that does not change.

  2. What we need to know is the P&L on a bar after you borrow $200k to acquire it and pay everyone $15+ to work in it, along with tax, inventory etc. what kind of multiple would you expect ? I gotta presume that if it was churning out money you would just hire someone to manage it and sit back on the profit…

  3. What Sun offers isn’t distinctive anymore. The crowds, even on the weekends, have been dwindling for some time. Used to be fairly busy on nights like Monday and Tuesday.