Keeper of the Plans

Old Town bar forced to close after rent increase, owner says

Restaurants Wichita lost in 2018

Beloved Wichita restaurants that closed their doors in 2018.
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Beloved Wichita restaurants that closed their doors in 2018.

There’s now one less place to get a beer and catch live music downtown.

Peerless Bar, 919 E. Douglas, closed at the end of business on Saturday, its owner Travis Hatfield confirmed in a text message to The Eagle.

Hatfield said the bar’s lease was up for renewal, and its landlord “wanted to raise the rent to an unreasonable amount.”

He said the landlord also wanted to “keep us from having live music, so unfortunately we had to close.”

Last month, Peerless’ space at 919 E. Douglas was listed as “for lease” for $3,500 per month through J.P. Weigand — though the listing is no longer active.

It’s currently unclear what’s planned for the former Peerless space, which sits adjacent to District Taqueria. The building is owned by an limited-liability company called Douglas & Washington Development.

Hatfield said he is looking for a new location for Peerless, though he has not found a spot yet.

The 3,000-square-foot space at 919 E. Douglas was renovated and opened in 2006, after sitting vacant and covered in cinder block for more than five decades.

The Alibi Room opened there in 2007 and closed nearly a decade later in 2015 — after which a short-lived concept, The Office Bar & Lounge, filled the space.

Hatfield opened Peerless in 2016. The bar became known for its popular ping-pong table in the rear.

It’s just to the west of Douglas and Washington — less than a block from where Cargill recently opened its state-of-the-art downtown headquarters.

Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.