If you wandered past Chapel Hill, the nearly seven-month-old bar on the 4300 block of SE Hawthorne on Tuesday night, you might’ve thought, “That’s weird. Why does this place seem closed?”
Ditto to anyone who visited the bar’s website on Wednesday, which has been stripped of all information except for a biblical quote and this sentence from owner and managing partner Steven Cook: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, Chapel Hill is permanently closed. We're forever thankful for our community and the incredible support during our brief run.”
Cook says the sudden shuttering of his own business took him by surprise, which occurred just three days after his birthday and two days after hosting comic Nicole Byer, the host of Netflix’s Nailed It.
When asked to elaborate, Cook, who’s a also a partner in the bar Church, responded with this email response:
"I am still reeling from the sudden and unexpected loss. My heart really goes out to the staff who all unexpectedly lost their jobs during the holidays. The circumstances leading up to this are complex multi-faceted. We were struggling like any new business, but there was never any indication that this was a possibility. I showed up on Tuesday, 12/18, after bringing past rent current, to find that the lease had been terminated. My business partner and I disagreed on the long-term viability of the project and were in the process of resolving the issue through a buy-out. The landlords were aware and kept up to date on the progress throughout the process, and never indicated to me that this was in the works. I am unclear on the motivation behind the action or the sudden and extreme execution."
We are reaching out to the landlord and partner for comment. Stay tuned for further developments.