The End of an Era

Charlie has left the building

We all knew that Cheer Up Charlie's was moving, but there was a small part inside that hoped it wouldn't really happen. It feels real now, though, looking at the building formerly known as the Eastside's most whimsical venue.

photo by Claire Gordon

After an epic three-day going-away party, Maggie Lea, Tamara Hoover, and company have spent this week tearing down everything they spent the last three years building. The dust has settled, and now we wait to see what will change, both on East Sixth and Red River.

photo by Claire Gordon

They've taken everything that wasn't nailed down, and quite a lot of things that were. All that is left of the band shell – where so many bands have started out – is a slab of concrete. The fences have been removed, and the outside bar has been stripped bare. The materials have been salvaged and will be used in the new space, which is an earth-friendly and nostalgic way to tie the two incarnations of Cheer Up's together.

photo by Claire Gordon

My absolute favorite part of Cheer Up's, the gold-lamé 'Stray' mural on the back wall, featuring black kittens in roguish bandanas, has been painted over, too. Standing among the debris, I came to the conclusion that doing so was the right choice. That was a part of the heart and soul of the place, it shouldn't be handed over to anyone else. Regardless if the new owners removed it themselves or kept it, it wouldn't have been right. As with everything else Tamara, Maggie and friends built here, Cheer Up's is taking it with them. Symbolically, at least.

photo by Claire Gordon

With the signs carted away, the petal parachute in storage, and the gateway torn down, it's apparent that so much of the charm of this place was how it had been curated. The happy flip side of that realization is that, although the Eastside suffers a loss, it's neither permanent nor too far to stroll across the highway to see how Cheer Up Charlie's will bring their signature style to Red River.

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Cheer Up Charlie's, Eastside, Bar Scene, Goodbye, Red River, East Sixth, LGBTQ, queer-friendly, gay

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