It’s the end of an era in Little Five Points (L5P). Divey live music institution Star Community Bar closed in the wee hours of New Year’s Day after 28 years on Moreland Avenue. But sources tell Eater Atlanta music and drinks at the bare bones bar with its bank vault shrine to Elvis — “Grace Vault” — may not be gone for good.
The abrupt closure of Star Bar, owned by Kahle Davis, was announced on Facebook Tuesday, December 31, ahead of planned New Year’s Eve shows and celebrations asking all to come out for one last drink. According to the post, Star Bar was given its “walking papers” the day after Christmas and the building’s owner is renting the property to another business.
People immediately began posting remembrances along with their shock and anger in the comments. Others took to speculating on the bar’s sudden demise, including rumors of rent owed, the bar being on a month-to-month lease, and the liquor license not being renewed. At one point, Star Bar responds to a commenter saying “the landlord tells me the new operators will have a liquor license in a week or two.”
Below is a screenshot of the original post on Star Bar’s Facebook page. The post, along with nearly 900 comments, was removed from the page on Thursday, January 2.
As of publication, the renewal of the current liquor license or a new liquor license for the property have yet to be filed with city of Atlanta. Eater continues to check the property’s liquor license status.
Davis has yet to respond to multiple requests for comment and clarification on what lead to the closure. He initially told Eater Tuesday evening he would respond “tomorrow [New Year’s Day] or the next day [January 2].”
Anna Foote, the outgoing board chair for the Little Five Points CID (community improvement district), tells Eater the building’s owner is in “active negotiations” with a possible new leasee, is “committed” to the bar staying put as a music venue on Moreland, and that his preference would be for it to “remain being called Star Bar.”
“The [building’s] owner has advised me that he is working diligently to secure new bar owners who will be a good fit for L5P and who are committed to continuing that space as a music venue,” Foote says. “The [Little Five Point] Alliance and the CID are working in collaboration to help bring in resources and to coordinate city, county, and GaDOT activities that are intended to improve security and quality of life, while preserving the Little 5 Points we all love.”
Foote’s new role is as CID representative to the Little Five Points Alliance, a non-profit organization which serves as a bridge between area businesses and residents.
She goes on to say that while this iteration of Star Bar may be gone, her hope is the community and bar regulars will allow the new owner and/or business to become part of L5P.
“It is not always easy to find a property owner or a business owner who understand and embrace the uniqueness of L5P. But it is our wholehearted expectation that the experience people want to have in L5P will continue.”
Atlantans will likely learn whether the future owner retains the Star Bar name or reopens as a completely new establishment within the next month.
Eater reached out to the owner of the building for clarification on what lead to the closure of Star Bar and for details on the new owners. Check back for updates.
David Heany and Marty Nolan opened Star Bar in 1991 inside an old Citizens and Southern National Bank (C&S Bank). The bar quickly became known around Atlanta for hosting eclectic musical acts ranging from funk to punk, weekly comedy shows, and annual tribute festivals like Bubbapalooza and Hollyfest. Heany died in 2018 at the age of 67.
Davis, a longtime Atlanta musician and band manager, became Star Bar’s fourth owner in 2013.
437 Moreland Avenue NE, Atlanta. starbaratlanta.com.