The Closure of a Neighborhood Corner Bar

Tangier today

It’s been a little more than a week since Tangier, a Graduate Hospital neighborhood bar, closed after 32 years in operation.  Owner Jack Roe decided to finally sell the building and bar after receiving an offer he could not turn down.  

Though I lived but four doors down from the bar, I was by no means a regular at Tangier.  Friday happy hour or Saturday nights would usually take me to other neighborhood establishments.  Many of my visits consisted of just picking up take out food or filling up growlers.  Still, it was always a nice comfort having it there.  It wasn’t just any neighborhood bar; it was MY corner bar.  The bartender and chef knew me by name and were always friendly.

Just as important, having people inside and outside the bar gave the area life. Though some neighbors were not fans of Tangier’s outdoor seating (the bar heeded wishes and took in seats when it was late) or dumpster on Lombard Street (where else was the bar supposed to put it?), the bar was a more positive part of the neighborhood than detriment.  If you walked your dog at night or were coming home late, you could at least count on relative safety at this corner because of the presence of people around.  

Times change, and after a last night send-off last week, complete with serenading Scottish bagpipe players, the bar bid farewell.  Even more telling was how tons of old and current customers filled the bar during the last weekend to say their goodbyes.  I had my chance to do so on the last Friday and ordered the signature “mystery beer” (alas, it was but Tecate).

Today, Tangier’s neon sign is still turned on but the interior lights are off.  The familiar headless camel by the window is gone.  Combined with the closure/repurposing of Brick, the 1700-1800 block of Lombard is now down to one BYO (La Baia) and has a lot less foot traffic.  Life goes on, and perhaps the new owners have something tremendous planned for the corner.  Till then, it’s a little emptier in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.  

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