Downtown’s Main Bar closing, building set for demolition

Columbus Business First

The Main Bar is in its last days.

The downtown watering hole at 16 W. Main St. will close for good Feb. 28. No new operator will be moving in as the building is set to be demolished to make way for new development.

“We’re exploring our options for what we can do there,” local attorney and developer Scott Schiff said. “We’re not in a hurry, but we expect to announce something this year.”

Affiliates of his Schiff Properties have owned the site for five years in addition to multiple neighboring parcels.

“We have about a 21,000-square-foot rectangle,” he said. “We’re going to get it development ready.”

Schiff said he expects a mix of either residential and medical use or residential and retail use to be built.

Demolition of The Main Bar building is expected to occur within 60 days.

Jim Velio, co-owner of the bar since the early 2000s, said even if he were able to keep the bar going, he probably wouldn’t have due to the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bar has gone through a cycle of openings and closings and reopenings in the past year. Velio said there’s been very little walk-in traffic due to the decline of downtown office workers and visitors. The tight space only allows a few customers anyway under the current operating restrictions.

“It just doesn’t make sense to stay open,” Velio said. “It’s been a good place, but it’s time to move on.”

The bar does plan to have going-away festivities Feb. 26 to 28.

The brick building dates back to the late 1800s and has been a bar for much of its life, according to information from Columbus Landmarks. In 2015, that organization named the building one of the region’s most endangered.

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