Tristån and I locked up the Tavern at 4 pm on November 30th for our last time. It was a sad moment shared between two people who had worked so hard to make AFK the place it was. We said our goodbyes, and I sat in the parking lot to watch my last sunset as a bar owner.It was bittersweet; we accomplished so much in our ten-year run. AFK exceeded all of my expectations and ended up something I couldn’t have imagined when I started.

There aren’t many words left to say. I have said most of them, screamed them, and cried them. Still, I know our choice to end the lease at its 10-year mark was the right call. It doesn’t make it hurt any less. I know that so many of us will be left without a safe place to be now. Closing was the smart choice, but that doesn’t mean it came easy.

If you’d like to see my record of the closing, you can click here. There are a few missing images right now, but it’s close to being finished.

The Killing of AFK Tavern 

The Tavern is gone. What does it mean for the future? I said that we’d make a return one day. So when is that? What does return mean? Well, that’s complex. We have debt from the first shutdown. It is our major hurdle that we plan to work on in the next year. This debt was one of the factors that went into the closing. We knew we could handle what we had but not much more. I have a page dedicated to things that help us with that if you’d click this. The other limitations of opening again are all things we’ve done before, and we have a good measure of confidence that it will happen again once we wrap up the debt.

As for now? I’m sorting things, getting ready to put stuff up on Ebay. The beautiful people at my Patreon will help me keep the website updated with fun drink & food recipes. And we’ll be working on our other ideas like pop-ups, commercially available food products, and room parties as restrictions allow.

Here we are again.

Our lease is ending for those of you who don’t know, and you can find out more about that by clicking here. If you’re up to date, read on, friend! But seriously if you aren’t up to date click here.

Tuesday night was the last night of indoor service. It was a strange slow-paced night in comparison to the tidal wave of Saturday. It, too, had lots of emotional goodbyes, distance hugs, and elbow high fives. We were so happy to get to see so many of you.

We wanted to run till the 28th to give people time to say goodbye. However, the shutdown changes our plans. In a way, it makes it more simple for those of us left here. Considering the fear of another shutdown is why we left our lease. One more would have killed us forever. We could see this coming; we’re not blind. I know we made the right call.

So what’s the plan? Right now, we still have stock to sell. So at least until Saturday, we’ll be running food and drink for delivery and to-go. As for outdoor seating, we have five covered seats as the windstorm took half our covers. While we’re running, we will allow people to be on the deck. We don’t assume this will change our plans much. However, our hours will be reduced going forward as we had a much narrower business level in the shutdown. We’ll pin that down ad-hoc as we’re willing to be surprised this time. But planning for the worst is how we survived this long.

So friends, if you’re looking for the last burger or a Firebat, this is the week to get it done. We have new to-go vessels for drinks, so grab a six-pack of Onys or Mana potions. If you missed your chance to come to say goodbye, now is your chance. We will be resetting things for photos shortly so that the inside will look “classic” for a couple of days. Join us and stand in the rain on the deck, or grab some to-go. We hope to see you.

However, if we don’t see enough people, we will plan on closing it up early and being done after this week. It’s not where we wanted to be. But during covid no matter how hard you work to be safe, the ultimate control of your fate is in the hands of others and not yourself as a business owner…hell as anyone who has to work in this. So it’s something we’ve become accustomed to at this point.

-Kayla

Did you know I have a Patreon where you can get AFK Drink recipes? Check it out!

Become a Patron!

 

I wish this post could be about many other things.

In February, I was composing one talking about the distillery, the new location, plans for the future, and how amazing 2020 had kicked off. I was in the process of looking for a new building to buy and starting to set down plans for the future beyond this location and keeping AFK going for a long, long time.

Regrettably, this is not that post. We put it off due to the stress of last week. But, November the 28th will be the last official day of operation of the Tavern. It’s the end of our 10 year lease, and we really couldn’t in good faith push on. We had the choice of rolling the dice now and bankrupt. Or taking our licks and having a chance to reopen in the future.

In a way, this is a triumph; we did ten years; we’re walking at the end of our lease, not going bankrupt. Physical location aside, our goal starting out was to foster a community and be a community center. We did that! We did that in spades. Cry for what we’re losing but look at what we have! One of the most amazing communities ever. Just wall to wall decent people who helped make this dream of mine reality, a place where I didn’t feel alone. Where so many of you didn’t feel alone anymore, and that is AFK, not a location, not a silly menu…that community is what has and will always be the most important aspect of this entire adventure.

To the people who’ve shown up every week to help us limp across this finish line, thank you. The gaming groups who showed up for the pods, the new friends in the bar, the every-week-take-out people, the folks who always order delivery, and the everyday regulars who never really left us. Seriously thank you. I often thank many of you in person, but it’s worth restating here. It’s been rough running the Tavern like this, and your humor, patience, and attitudes made it so I could get up and do this day after day.

But if you didn’t manage to make it in or grab some take-out, or you still don’t feel comfortable with it. We’re not going to hold in against you. We’re not ourselves right now; AFK is a ghost under the restrictions. It blocked us from all the things that made us…us…so we’re pretty much not ourselves and haven’t been since March.

We still have plans for the next year… they’re just different now. We’ll be posting theme menus you can make yourself, we’ll be running events sans location, and much more. You can check out this link if you’d like the list I’ll be going into in a separate post. There is also a Patreon if you’d like to get some drink recipes out of me. We’ll have fun with this afterlife.

Please don’t go freaking out and pointing fingers. We came to this choice here ourselves. Sure, a lot of things outside our control dragged us down here. But no bake sale, t-shirt, or event would have changed any of this. If you’re into hindsight, check out our Twitter because there has been a lot there. But this post isn’t about that, and to be frank, and I am so done being angry at things I have no control over.

In closing, here at my home, crying while typing… I’m still excited about the future. But even I will have a hole in my heart till I can walk in a place that accepts me again. Thanks for reading. Hopefully, I’ll see you all again.

-Kayla