A resolution passed Wednesday night asked that the Anchor Bar and Restaurant’s facade, neon sign and period furniture remain even after a new tenant moves into the space.
The request was made at a meeting hosted jointly by the New Haven Preservation Trust and the New Haven Historic District Commission, which reviews actions that may affect the city’s historic districts. The Anchor closed on Jan. 4 after University Properties refused to renew the lease to the bar’s owner, who had not been consistently paying adequate rent. Since the bar shut its doors, some residents have protested its closure, claiming that the building was an essential and characteristic part of the city.
Members of the NHHDC highlighted that the Anchor building is part of the Chapel Street National Historic District, and that any work done on it would alter its historical value.
“Some facades in the district have changed over time, and most of these changes have been made in ways that fit the historic character of the district,” member of the New Haven Urban Design League Anstress Farwell wrote in a letter read aloud during the meeting. “But this high-style facade is a special case that requires preservation.”
Jesse Richards, who organized the online petition against the bar’s closure, said in an email to the News that he will be satisfied as long as the resolution means that the culture and atmosphere of the building is preserved.
One person standing against the resolution is the former owner of Anchor, Charlie Moore, who expressed discontent at the large number of people trying to get involved in what he sees as a personal issue.
“It’s disheartening that this group of people could come along and do this,” said Moore. “I see a bunch of people that have no business sticking their noses in my business.”
Although Moore said he has no intention of knocking down the building, he said he wishes he were allowed to make his own decisions about what should happen to it. He added that he would enjoy seeing the business remain open, even if his family is no longer running it.
Moreover, Moore emphasized that he can sell his assets, which include the neon sign as well as the jukebox in the building, at any point. But he said that given his positive relationship with Yale University Properties, he would rather give UP the time they need to find another operator for the Anchor so that the business can keep running.
“Our intention is to come up with a way to carry it on in some way, shape or form,” Moore said.
Moore’s wishes might not be realized, however. In a statement to the News, spokesperson from the University’s Office of Public Affairs Karen Peart said that UP has already received many leasing offers for the space.
She added that UP cannot control the Anchor name, signage or business operations, and is thus looking at offers from various interested parties.
According to Lauren Zucker, associate vice president for New Haven affairs and University Properties, UP carries out extensive research among consumers before selecting a new tenant.
Moore’s family has owned the Anchor bar since 1963.