One month after the Anchor Bar and Restaurant served its last drink, the owner of the establishment is still in talks with the landlord — Yale University Properties — and prospective buyers to preserve the historic facade and interior design.
The Anchor Bar, located at 272 College St., closed in early January after the owner Charlie Moore was behind on payments to UP. Since Jan. 5, over 1,000 people have signed an online petition to preserve the Anchor. The online petition and online commentators say that the Anchor Bar has been an integral part of New Haven’s downtown character, and they ask UP to not replace the restaurant with a chain store. Although UP has not officially announced a new tenant, Moore said that he is confident that UP will preserve the building given the outpouring of concern from the community and support from UP.
“There has been so much interest from so many genuine people interested in the preservation of the Anchor that I couldn’t imagine that it wouldn’t survive in its present shape and form,” Moore said.
Moore said he has spoken with the University about the building’s preservation, but he declined to name any concrete proposals or potential new tenants. Lauren Zucker, associate vice president of University Properties and New Haven affairs, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
City Economic Development Administrator Matt Nemerson SOM ’81 said Yale is likely to preserve the building because there is no potential that the entire block where the Anchor Bar is located would be redeveloped.
“Sometimes whole blocks get redeveloped and some buildings fall by the wayside in the process,” he said. “But sometimes there is just a small building [and] its current use ends, but the building can be saved.”
Nemerson added that the Anchor Bar is one isolated closing with a unique signage and facade that Yale could easily save.
Colin Caplan, the owner of the New Haven food-themed tour service, “Taste of New Haven,” said that although he is not directly involved in negotiations with UP, he has talked to many restaurateurs throughout New Haven who have expressed an interest in leasing the space. Caplan, who signed the online petition to preserve the bar, is unsure how exactly potential owners would transform the Anchor Bar, but he did say that the general consensus from his culinary network was that the Anchor Bar should be preserved.
“When you think about all the movie stars and students who have visited there, there’s nothing that can replace these type of places that are now being pushed out of our society,” said Robert Greenberg, New Haven based artist and frequent patron of the Anchor Bar.
Although Moore said he is certain the bar will survive, he plans to put the Anchor Bar sign and other significant parts of the restaurant, including the jukebox, up for sale in order to offset the health care costs for his 89-year-old mother. He added that he is trying to sell the sign and the other items to the same buyer, ideally, the new tenant at the space.
“I’m looking to keep it all together so that whoever is the new owner or purveyor of the Anchor Bar has it all intact.”