Live Juke Joint Piano Bar shuttered: Facebook, Yelp

According to Facebook and Yelp posts, Live Juke Joint Piano Bar in Maplewood has closed permanently. A Facebook post says it closed on July 22.

Partners Andrew Graefe, and Phillip “Spanky” Manaois to open the restaurant/bar at 7376 Manchester Road, in November 2015.

Back to approximately 2010, the corner has been the Live Juke Joint Piano Bar, the Blind Tiger restaurant, the Jumpin’ Jupiter cabaret, and Jive and Wail piano bar.


22 thoughts on “Live Juke Joint Piano Bar shuttered: Facebook, Yelp

  1. I went there once and had two dirty martinis that I swear they were mostly water. Stupid me for ordering a second one.

  2. I believe Red Brick leased real estate they own to Jimmy John’s, the Post, the Book House, Salon Lofts, and Boogaloo. Maybe the pinball bar on Sutton, too. All of those have been good and open for a long time. A bldging owner rarely causes a restaurant to close, tho most that do will blame everyone except themselves.

    Also, how does everyone here know the rent is too high? I was told that Juke Joint’s rent started out around $3,000, which to me seems cheap for that much space on that corner. Is there a Zillow for commercial rent that I don’t know about??

  3. Two words explain it all: Red Brick. The short version is that the rent and overhead are really high for that space, and the floorplan is awkward no matter how you slice it. The concept, execution, and management all have to be on point for it to work, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen that. As built, it pretty much has to be a music venue of some kind. Look for it to be subdivided in the near future and turned into trendy shops or more office space. How about an artisanal water bar with $10 cucumber sandwiches?

    • We really need another beard wax store – competition to drive down prices. Perhaps a poke bar/restaurant; they are the rage with hipsters on the West Coast.

  4. If the lease is two high, would the property owner have it closed and receive no monetary compensation or would he rather have it leased and receive a reasonable monetary compensation. The way things are going we have to losers, the leasee and the property owner. The lease should be that both the leasee and property owner both come out as winners.

    Lower the lease price. Something is better than nothing.

    • “Something is better than nothing” is NOT always true in commercial real estate. There is a lease commission, tenant improvements (at owners’ expense), real estate taxes, insurance, and other operating expenses that largely come into play to come up with the lease rate. In a lot of cases, it is worth it for the owner to leave the space vacant with no incoming rent. Sure, the owner should probably consider demising the space and other alternatives to improve marketability to other potential tenants but just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it hasn’t been considered or thought out. There are a lot of loopholes and expenses that come into play here. Also, I think you meant “too” high, and “two” losers.

      • You mention real estate taxes and insurance, which the owner pays even when the building is empty. And let’s not forget that in some scenarios, empty buildings become havens for homeless and drug dealers. And if one of them trips and falls on the property, they can sue the owner.

  5. Doomed from the start. Let’s see. A live piano bar right after an identical concept of the same kind failed in the exact same location? Seriously? I’m shocked it lasted this long. What’s more unfortunate is that this corner location would be FANTASTIC for a place like Bolyards or Side Project, assuming the space is the right size of course.

    Is the rent too high? I have no idea. But I do know that Piano bars don’t work there. So how about no more piano bars there!

  6. I heard a comedian say once that some locations are just “small business black holes.”
    This corner seems to be one of them.

  7. Wish a decent live music venue could open in the space. Something like The Ready Room.

  8. I’m thinking that most of the problem is the high rent….but not sure. If businesses were truthful on the reasons why they close….there would be no question. I remember when it was opening…and I wondered why they would do that….since the Jive and Wail had closed. I understand the high rent was the reason for them….and they opened up somewhere else, and did okay, if I remember right.

  9. The discount store that was in the location prior to the renovation stayed there for years and years, so it can’t be the parking or the location — so maybe the combination of all the licenses they have to buy, plus the high rent, is just too much for any new business? Just a thought.

  10. Does anyone have insight into why businesses cannot stay open in this location? Are there other variables at play here other than perhaps the live piano bar being an unsustainable business model?

    It is a large/oddly shaped space. Could it be a candidate for a subdivision similar to the Monarch space across the street?

    • This. A thousand times this. I’ve always said this place is too large for Maplewood to support. I would love to see it broken down into 2, 3, or 4 tenant spaces. Maplewood is really great at attracting these little independent shops and this, in addition to the Monarch space would be a welcome addition.

    • Isn’t the building leased through the Red Brick company, which is owned by the people who ran the former Rothschild’s “antique” store on Euclid? If so, I don’t think they appear to have the right idea of what works in Maplewood and seem to always rent to businesses that don’t have long-term futures.

    • I think you’re on to something. It’s a pretty large space considering the neighborhood. Jive N Wail packed it and seemed to be good operators. I’m not sure what another successful restaurant/bar concept in there would look like.

    • According to a former business owner in this location, that space is haunted. I’ve heard many stories. As he looked into it further, he found that there was a long history of past occupants with similar experiences. Whether or not you believe, it doesn’t necessarily mean this is the cause of constant turnover. But I do find the coincidence interesting. Although the space is unusual and wouldn’t work for every type of business, I find it to be a really cool, unique space. And obviously a prime location.