The Austin Chronicle

Beerland No More: Owners Planning a Name Change

By Kevin Curtin, May 27, 2020, 6:00pm, Earache!

Ryan Garrett confirmed this afternoon that the venue at 711 Red River will no longer be called Beerland. The name survived the club’s original run 2001-2019 through two different owners.

After shuttering in late May 2019 amid a worker’s strike over late pay, former owner Richard Lynn, who bought the venue from founders Randall and Donya Stockton in 2017, sold the business to Stubb’s GM Ryan Garrett and musician Ned Stewart, who continued calling it Beerland when they reopened on Dec. 31.

The continuation of the name, while the interior underwent significant remodeling and the business restaffed, evoked a venomous response from some faithful regulars of the original bar on social media. This week, the Beerland Instagram page deleted its posts, indicating an imminent name change.

“Maybe we were shortsighted in operating as Beerland for a total of 70 days,” Garrett told the Chronicle on Wednesday afternoon. “After weighing the response, pro and con – there were supporters and there were people who clearly didn’t agree with us proceeding with that – and after having a discussion with my partner, we decided that the best path forward for us is to transition from Beerland and open under a new name.”

Garrett says the reason he had kept the name had been to preserve the history of Red River, Austin’s most vaunted live music corridor.

“Right before we signed on, there were seven clubs on that block and three of them were shuttered,” he explained. "I’d always been enamored by Beerland. I’m not saying I went there five nights a week, but I saw some really great shows and my business partner played a number of really great shows there. There’s a storied 20-year history.

“Our objective was to see if we could come in, modify operations a little bit, and proceed as a venue. It didn’t work out. I’m not bitter about it. I know there’s strong feelings, but I’m here to advise that when – and if – we do reopen, we will not reopen as Beerland.”

Garrett says the venue’s “hunkered down and weathering the storm” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Opening at the currently state-mandated 25% capacity doesn’t make economic sense. He and Stewart have not yet decided on a new name.

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