The Scoot Inn, one of East Austin’s oldest watering holes, is changing hands. A source with knowledge of the deal confirms that ACL Fest producers C3 Presents acquired the business late last week and the locks have already been changed.
The sale is for the business and brand, not the land it sits on, which has long been rented out to operators. It’s unknown, at this point, how long the lease is for or what the financial terms of the deal are.
Even before the venue underwent an expensive interior renovation last September, word had the Scoot being shopped. Since May, C3 Presents had been in the mix, working on a deal to take over the business from current owner Doug Guller, whose ATX Brands portfolio includes the breastaurant chain Bikinis and Sixth Street hot spot the Parish.
Guller didn’t respond to a request for comment on the sale.
C3, the locally headquartered concert promotions giant owned by Live Nation since late 2014, has booked large outdoor shows into the Scoot Inn’s 1,000-capacity backyard for years already. Last fall, when ATX Brands decided to book in-house and with out-of-towners the Madison Company, the changeover didn’t stick and C3 was placing shows there by late winter.
Though alarmingly underutilized in recent months, the Scoot’s outside area remains a quality concert space. The sound is excellent, there are zero sight line issues, and it’s a comfy atmosphere. The property also boasts backstage and production amenities promoters utilize to accommodate major artists.
In terms of C3’s portfolio of exclusively booked local venues, it’s smaller than Stubb’s and Emo’s, but is considered more boutique than either. The Scoot’s smaller interior, which once hosted a hefty musical calendar, was redesigned last September into an old-timey lounge called Ivy’s Room featuring piano performances from locals. The destination club also represents a recognizable and locally historic brand name for C3 at a time when they’re losing another one via a contentious trademark issue for the name “Stubb’s.”
The Scoot Inn made international news during South by Southwest 2014 when rapper Tyler the Creator was accused of inciting a riot during a performance, in which he urged fans outside to push though security. He was subsequently arrested at the airport.
From 2006-12, the property was owned by onetime Longbranch Inn proprietors Kevin “Kumbala” Crutchfield and James Stockbauer and became a hotbed for underground punk, metal, and rock. Most memorably, it hosted the Butthole Surfers for a Halloween freakout in 2010. Guller acquired the business at 1308 E. Fourth in 2012.
An earlier announced deal would’ve dealt the Scoot to Casino El Camino owner Paul Eighmey, but that fell through. Guller was responsible for transitioning the property, via several upgrades and redesigns, from lovable dive to viable event space that could host a wildly popular Mac & Cheese Festival. Its website traces the property’s history back to 1871, noting that it first became the Scoot Inn in 1955 when Aubrey “Scoot” Ivy bought what had been a general store and turned it into a saloon.
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