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Duluth's Red Herring Lounge to close

After being listed for sale for more than a month, the Red Herring Lounge in downtown Duluth will permanently close its doors on June 10 "barring some sort of wildly unforeseen circumstance," said owner Bob Monahan in a recent Facebook post.

Bob Monahan of Duluth sits at the bar at the Red Herring. (file / News Tribune)
Bob Monahan of Duluth sits at the bar at the Red Herring. (file / News Tribune)
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After being listed for sale for more than a month, the Red Herring Lounge in downtown Duluth will permanently close its doors on June 10 "barring some sort of wildly unforeseen circumstance," said owner Bob Monahan in a recent Facebook post.

The closure will mark five years to the day since the music venue and bar opened at 208 E. First St.

"It's most certainly every bit to do with the fact that I don't want to have a fifth birthday party and then close a month later. Also at this point for me, and for my mental and spiritual health, the sooner I sort of wrap it up over there, the better," he said in a phone interview.

Monahan's business has struggled since he let go of his entire staff at the Red Herring in October, citing " rather intense financial distress " at the time.

Reflecting on the experience, Monahan wrote on his Facebook post: "It has been a wild ride to say the least ... a ride I would not like to continue to ride at this point."

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Monahan explained it was time to cut his losses, saying: "At this point, the stress of being broke and on top of that, owing a bunch of people/businesses has gotten the best of me. It's no way to live, people!"

He declared his intention to "move on to bigger and better things," namely a local hostel he recently launched, called the Hostel du Nord. It's located in the former Garon Bros. Diamonds building at 217 W. First St.

"It is super exciting," said Monahan of his new venture. "I expect to be wearing many hats at the hostel. I'll be anywhere from cleaning the lobby or cleaning the bathrooms to maybe leading field trips for guests," he said.

"What I'm starting to discover - and it's always been part of the sort of philosophical foundation of hostels - what I'm discovering is there really is a tremendous market for that kind of lodging experience, where you're actually getting a taste of more than simply going to your hotel and then going on Yelp and seeing what has the best reviews or something like that," he said.

"I hope that when people come to our hostel they can really connect not just with the local neighborhood ... but really all the Greater Duluth and North Shore communities, because people who stay in hostels tend to be more adventurous," he said.

"So attracting that kind of clientele and encouraging them in every way that we can to go out and have an adventure and explore is really where it's at," Monahan said.

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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