Over the weekend, The Loon had a private closing party. You weren't there unless you had an invitation or snuck, which probably got easier as the night wore on.
This weekend, The Loon will play host to a different going away party. This one is more significant because you can actually get in, and also because this is the last time you'll ever be able to drink at the Loon again.
Late last year, news broke that The Loon was going to have to relocate to make way for a coming CVS. The big box drug and retail store had bought a huge section of the block, displacing a number of small businesses on what feels like the last unpolished swatch of Uptown. But the transition was expected to be quick, which was good news to the Loon's legion of fans and regulars.
The Loon is many things to many people. Drive by on a Friday or Saturday night and you'll see a line running the length of the bar, as young, well-dressed drinkers wait in line to get completely bent. During the day and during the week, The Loon is more of a quiet, contemplative place for the everyman to drink. It's known for a heavy pour, and it's a good bar to lose yourself in conversation. The hope was owner Cliff Gonzales could replicate it elsewhere, and quickly.
But when I spoke to Gonzales last week, he told the replacement location he's chosen for his bar won't be ready for another eight months. He's toying with finding a temporary location to keep things afloat in the meantime, but either way, whatever emerges from the other side of this relocation will not be the Loon we've grown to love. It won't even be called The Loon.
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Gonzales is changing the name, and the decades of history steeped into the walls and barstools aren't transferable either. Expect a good bar (Gonzales knows what he's doing) and expect a few familiar bar flies (he's got a very loyal following, too), but The Loon as you know it will be gone forever after Sunday.