It's the sign on the door that no one wants to see, ever.
After opening just 37 days ago, Bearcat Bar has abruptly closed. The casual restaurant, bar and arcade materialized in January, a quick replacement for owner Kim Bartmann’s 2 1/2-year-old Third Bird.
“It closed for the same reason that most restaurants closed,” said Bartmann. “It was losing money. Third Bird was losing money, and Bearcat was a last-ditch effort to generate business of a different kind.”
It’s an address that has seen plenty of movement over the years. Remember Ruby’s Cafe? Nick and Eddie? Cafe Maude on Loring? Oh, and three-star Third Bird?
“I just think [the Third Bird] was too modern, too progressive for that location,” said Bartmann. “It’s a destination location. In my humble opinion, you have to go high, or go low, and being a neighborhood place just didn’t work. I love Loring Park, and I love that space, I had my wedding reception there. I’m proud of what we did there, but I also failed, and that’s the stark reality of it.”
The quick closure is an indication of the challenges of the restaurant business.
“This business has so many different measures of success,” said Bartmann. “I always say that sustainability is defined by the ability to repeat an action, and the first action we repeat as a restaurant is opening the door every day. Unfortunately, that’s not something we can do in that location any more.”
The Loring Park operation is a rare misfire for the savvy Bartmann, who operates seven Minneapolis restaurants: Bryant-Lake Bowl, Barbette, Red Stag Supperclub, Pat’s Tap, Tiny Diner, Gigi’s Cafe and the seasonal Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet.
Bartmann does have some good news. Construction is slated to begin next week on Trapeze, the Uptown champagne bar she announced last year. It's slated to occupy a small storefront that's adjacent to Barbette.
“We’ll hopefully be open by the end of next month,” she said. “Although you know how those things go. That’s probably a little ambitious. Let’s say ‘April.’”