In news that came as a surprise not only to those of us who’ve enjoyed many an after-work drink and perfectly salted shoestring fries perched on one of the uncomfortably high bar chairs, but also to its dozens of employees, DUMBO mainstay reBar has abruptly shuttered its doors.
Via Gothamist, owner Jason Stevens sent out an email to his employees early this morning, which read: “Rebar is bankrupt and closed. Please dispose of your keys and do not enter the premises. Please forward to any staff not included.” Employees who did not see the email showed up to work this morning only to be greeted by a sign taped to the door, which stated: “reBar is Closed and Bankrupt. DO NOT ENTER.” In addition to this, the company’s website has already been shut down and emails to Stevens have not been answered.
Adding to the confusion of this abrupt closing, one upper-level employee told Gothamist: “Today was payday and roughly 50 employees are not getting their two week paychecks. We are suppose to have a wedding tomorrow and Sunday as well as every weekend for the next year plus. Literally hundreds of couples who have paid in full or partially to have their weddings at rebar and other venues have been screwed by this man. Not to mention the dozens of purveyors and vendors who are owed money.” And another reBar employee is answering phones today by saying, “Jason has stolen all his employees money, got bankrupt, and is on the run.”
It is, of course, impossible to know the inner workings of any business that is not your own, but in the years that we worked in DUMBO (Northside Media Group has now moved to Downtown Brooklyn), reBar always appeared to have a healthy clientele base, as well as a profitable and busy side business as a wedding venue. (A Saturday night wedding reportedly would cost as much as $25,000.) For now, this news has many of us—not least the screwed-over employees—scratching our heads, and we hope to have more answers in the days to come, as well as wishing the employees find resolution and, most importantly, financial restitution from Stevens.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen