The Daily Pulse:

Valarium Owners Confirm Club Will Close

It's official: According to a post on the clubs' website, the Valarium and Cider House will close later this month. 

The note refers to "new rule changes" from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission that would make the clubs' current operations unfeasible. (We'll be checking the details next week.) Owner Gary Mitchell had discussed the venues' ongoing financial struggles this spring, when discussing plans to convert an adjacent parking lot into an outdoor music park. "Right after we opened, the economy got so bad that it wasn't viable," he said then. "Now we're operating on a wing and prayer, hoping that the economy will be viable again."

The final event at the Valarium will be the club's Taboo dance night on Saturday, Nov. 24. The Dec. 11 Halestorm concert has been moved to the Tennessee Theatre. The Napalm Death/Municipal Waste concert on Nov. 25 has been moved to J.J.'s Bohemia in Chattanooga. Brian Coakley, the organizer of the regular Midnight Voyage EDM shows at the Cider House and Valarium, says he's already in discussion with other club owners about possible locations for those shows. 

The Valarium opened in November 2007; the smaller Cider House followed a couple of years later. Mitchell--the former owner of Blue Cats in the Old City--said when the club opened that he envisioned the 1,000-capacity Valarium, in the space formerly occupied by the Orpheum and the Electric Ballroom, as the anchor of a new entertainment district.  

Here's the full message from the Valarium website:

Dear Friends and Patrons,

The Valarium and CiderHouse will cease operation on November 25th. The last event will be Taboo on November 24th.

Due to new rule changes from the TN Alcoholic Beverage Commission concerning the minimum percentage of food an establishment must sell in relation to its gross sales, our venues will be closing. We also cannot comply with the minimum number of days they require us to be open per week. Since we cannot meet their requirements, we will relinquish and not renew our ABC license when it expires November 24th, 2012.

We have never received any citations for over serving or serving an underage. However, we have been told we will be fined, prosecuted, or subject to revocation procedure for not serving enough food. They do not recognize the fact that we are a big, fast-paced venue where people come to see shows, dance, drink and socialize on a large scale, not to eat dinner. This is as unreasonable as them passing a law stating that all restaurants must install a stage and dance floor.

Also, we cannot comply with the minimum number of days they require us to be open. Good business practices dictate that you don't open when it's not viable. Opening for the sake of just being open forces you to offer drink specials, steep discounts, ridiculous contests, and promotions that may encourage over serving. If the primary mission statement of the TN ABC is to promote temperance, what could be more temperate than not opening on off nights? We are not aware of any other state that has these rules.

As it happens, the timing of our license renewal date puts us in the forefront of any enforcement action. Our attorneys predict that a large portion of the nightclub venue licensees in TN will not be able to comply with these regulations. However, on their advice, our only recourse is to relinquish our license when it expires on November 24th, 2012.

We would like to thank all of our friends and patrons for supporting us and allowing us to bring such amazing national, regional, and local musical talent to our stages. We would also like to thank our employees who made it all possible.

Good luck to everyone as you move forward out in the world.


Valarium and CiderHouse Management

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