I hear from a reliable source that the Buddakhan Classic Rock Café at 713 Vine Street downtown has closed their doors. Exactly when this happened I’m not sure – but apparently word got out on the street this past Friday.
This is a shame, but it’s not a surprise.
Buddakhan had a lot going for it – a good location, a pretty decent bartending staff, good food and a killer jukebox. Most importantly, they had customers who supported it and wanted it to succeed. I was one of them.
See that photo of my silly face in the blog header? That was taken at Buddakhan. I have a book coming out in a few weeks with the cover taken inside the Buddakhan. I was going in there two or three times a week. It was a great place to hang out.
So what went wrong?
In my view, you could never count on it being open. Dan Dell, who owns Buddakhan, is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but he could never get the place open on time. Often, employees would be outside waiting for the door to be unlocked.
Happy hour at the Buddakhan started at five in the afternoon lasting until eight o’clock – or that was the idea. The Buddakhan never opened at five. On a good day, it would open maybe at five thirty. Often, it would be approaching six o’clock before it would open.
Special promotions never worked. I remember this past St. Patrick’s Day; flyers were passed out on Fountain Square stating that the Buddakhan would be opening an hour early – at four.
At four in the afternoon, people were standing outside waiting for Buddakhan to open. It didn’t and customers went to other bars. Around five thirty, the door was finally unlocked. I was the only customer waiting to get in – and this was on St. Patrick’s Day, the biggest drinking day of the year.
Soon after this, regular customers started to go elsewhere. Customers want their bar to open on time.
Three Fridays ago, I went in to have a few drinks and get some food. Same old thing. The door opened a little before six o’clock.
I ordered some food and a drink. I couldn’t help but notice that my vodka and tonic was mostly tonic.
45 minutes after ordering my food, it finally arrived cold with no silverware to eat it with. I went looking for a fork, ate the cold food – then went looking for the bartender to pay my bill. With no one behind the bar and not wanting to miss my bus – I left Buddakhan thinking I would stop in on another night and settle up.
Hurrying to my bus stop, I thought to myself that the Buddakhan was simply having an off night.
Reality is that’s been the problem all along – too many off nights and a door that never opened on time.
Buddakhan Classic Rock Café had a lot of promise. What a shame it couldn’t live up to it.
(Photo by Andrew Anderson)