Superior nightclub plans to close for goodA long-established Superior nightclub is closing today, and its owner blames road construction.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
A long-established Superior nightclub is closing today, and its owner blames road construction.
Labelles, 1014 Tower Ave., will close for good after business this morning, longtime owner Burnie Williams said on Saturday.
Area bars already were taking a hit from the economy, Williams said, but it had become much worse since Tower Avenue construction began in April.
“Our business is about half what it should be just to break even,” said Williams, 78.
“There’s other bars that I’ve been told are getting close to closing,” he said. “There’s no parking. You can’t walk up and down the sidewalk.”
The establishment is one of the older bars in Superior, said Williams, who has owned it for 28 years. He talked to a customer on Saturday who said he bought his first drink in Superior there in 1958.
Back then, it was named after owner Tommy Byrnes.
“It had a reputation for being the place to come in for a snit and a snort (a draft beer with a shot of whiskey on the side),” said Williams, who lives in Duluth.
After Byrnes died, his nephew took over but eventually lost it to the bank, Williams said. Two Europeans purchased it — one from Yugoslavia and the other from Greece. They named it Labelles in homage to La Belle, a West Berlin discotheque in which two American servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed and dozens injured in a terrorist bombing in 1986.
Under his tenure, Labelles has been most like a “big neighborhood bar,” Williams said. “We probably had the most reasonable drinks in the Twin Ports.”
He probably should have closed a month ago, Williams said, but a bartender has been there more than 20 years and a couple of other employees almost as long.
“We had emotional reasons to keep operating,” he said. “It’s not in the cards, I guess.”