Missoula Reacts to Closing of Elbow Room
News came this morning that the new version of Missoula's Elbow Room is closing it's doors for business.
It was the summer of 2011 that we learned the historic 'double wide' would be demolished to make way for a new 2 story 'events' center. Regulars and locals were crushed, as was the building itself.
Construction of the new Elbow Room began on Stephens Avenue, just south east of the old location, raising hope for bringing in more artists and shows to Missoula with the promise of an events center.
The new bar offered a new menu, with frequent changes in chefs, making it difficult to determine just what to expect for repeat diners. The regulars did not follow, the DJ nights flopped, and as one Missoulian puts it "I gave them 3 chances and the service was always terrible." In addition, the events center never came to fruition.
Judging by Missoula's reaction, it is no surprise that the Elbow Room is closing it's doors. They will be open for one final night tonight (October 22) if you would like to join them for one last toast.
Just a few of today's reactions on Facebook:
- Mark Allen Schmidt its sad to see as a fellow business owner, but they shot themselves in the foot by trying to take a dive bar and turn it into something fancy. People went to the elbow at the double wide because it was a dive and it was nostalgic but this new place has none of that same old charm. I wish them luck in their next ventures.
- Kris Wosepka They tried to transform a blue collar by day and rowdy young crowd by night into an Iron Horse south. Problem is, Missoula already has an Iron Horse. The same element forced out by the transition from double wide to top shelf were the folks keeping the power bill paid.
- Christopher J McMullen Missoula has a good selection of bars. The hip & trendy uptown bar that the establishment was trying to become may of pushed out the, kind of trashy, kind of redneck, mostly townie crowd that kept it alive as a dive bar. I will miss the chalices of beer the size of my own head so maybe they didn't completely forget about their roots but something was lost in the remodel.
- Danica Bayliss The enemy of good is better. I walked out the one time I went there, one or two other people there and NO employee in sight for ten or fifteen minutes. She gets us water finally and then disappears for another 10. We then became the next to disappear, kind of like this business. Should have stuck to the trailer bar...at least then you had (a) business.
- Angie Ewell Went once to catch one of the second acts for Jester Fest a couple weekends ago, walked in, all the lights were ON and a few people sitting at the bar. We walked around looking for where the comedian was going to be, saw nothing. Asked the bartender, he said he didn't know anything about a comedian. He asked another person sitting at a table, came back and said "oh, looks like it was canceled because no one showed up last night". I would think management might have called the other bars that were part of Jester Fest so they could in turn tell people before they wasted a trip across town. Not impressed. Actually not impressed with the double wide either, I couldn't get a drink if my life depended on it. I would have to ask someone that was tall to order a drink for me.
- Rob Carlson The new bar design was an epic fail. Putting the bands in what I would guess was the little front room away from the main bar was just stupid. The outdoor area at the double wide was awesome the new bar outside was once again to seperated from the main bar. They should of called in John Taffer from bar rescue cause it needed help from the inception...
- Christopher Toulouse We all saw this coming. You took us all out of the trailer park and put us in the "upper east side". We loved that double wide and everything it stood for. There never was and never will be another trailer house/bar where you will see a guy in long underwear buy a complete stranger in a suit a shot.
- Alycia Dunn Should have kept the double wide. So many great memories there. It's sad they r closing their doors, but when they "upgraded", n tried to be like the iron horse, they lost a lot of business. It wasn't a fun place anymore. RIP to the old elbow. It will forever be in all r memories.
- Holliday Jeremiassen Feel bad people are losing their jobs, but after the doublewide the place just lost all its heart & soul. They couldn't compete with the Sunrise and Dark Horse so close offering live music & way more fun atmosphere. I'll miss watching sports there and nursing one of the giant beers though... (even if you were at the mercy of whatever the bartenders wanted to watch)
- John Castillo their mistake was trying to reach a different demagraphic of people.....the old place was were people with less money would go have a drink....they took advantage of all the lower class of missoula to try and reach out to the higher class when they already had it good....i thought they were sapose to have fights in the upstairs of that place
- Korrie Knechtges Butler Saturday night & frankly every night at the old elbow room would be packed wall to wall with people.....bummer....it was so packed they made an outside bar ---awesome!!! Hope someone can come in & buy the building & make it an actual dance club like it used to be!
- Korrie Knechtges Butler Yep- saw this coming a mile away!! Instead of just upgrading or revamping what they had....they redid the whole thing & made it too big & too fancy!!! I think if they would've made it look similar to what it was & maybe expanded just a little....the old customers would've followed. Last time & the only time I went in there...it was a Saturday night....there were 2 other people besides us in there. No dancing , no music, no dance floor that you could see from the bar (which is why half the people went to the old one - people watch).....the nostalgia that was the bow - bow was gone it was sad & i never went back! The bartender was awesome but we never went back super bummed! That was our hang out for Thursday night ladies night to only return Fridays & Saturdays too some weeks great times were had at the old bow-bow.....people & friends you hadn't seen in ages you saw there!! It was super fun!!!
- Rob Tabish what? you mean a pretentious sports bar that serves over-priced sandwiches and snack food, located in a place that is hard to get to [if you could find parking] that caters to a demographic that doesn't really fit in with the kind of clientele that WAS its mainstay, couldn't make it in a town like Missoula, where we ALREADY have more bars than we need filling the same niche? i blame the uncomfortable seating.
- Ericka Gutierrez So sad to hear! I loved the double wide, but thought the new Elbow Room was to much like The Iron Horse. I have so many great memories!! I'm sorry for all those that lost their jobs, some I'm lucky to call friends now. When one door closes, another opens. Best of luck!!
- Sam Dasios Looks like we have a bunch of businessmen commenting around Facebook today about this... It's funny to read how a lot of people are complaining about upgrading from a double wide to a really nice place. That's a no brainer! All these businessmen commenting can go start their own bar, since they clearly know the logistics behind everything. Hope the employees there find new jobs quickly, I didn't go too frequently, but I really enjoyed the new Elbow room.
- Nicole Brodeur Carney Terrible place. Husband forgot to grab his card at the end of the night and the next day we went to get it and they had ran it but left no receipt or anything to show what had been charged/tipped. Had to call the bank to see what the charge was. Really unimpressed.