Editor’s note: This article was originally published December 30, 2013
The Austin Chronicle broke the news this afternoon that Eastside community hub and sometimes music venue Cheer-Up Charlies has signed a lease on the property at 900 Red River vacated by Club DeVille. As Matthew Odam reported earlier this month, Cheer Up Charlie’s is closing its doors on January 15, making way for a new project from the La Corsha Hospitality Group (Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen and Bar Congress), which is purchasing the property at 1104 East 6th St. Bar Congress partner and entertainment director Scott Walker plans to the bar Wonderland with Bar Congress head barman Jason Stevens in the space.
The move across the highway into the Red River district seems like a good one for the CUC crew. As the Chronicle’s Kate Messer notes, before hipsters sipped top shelf whisky at Club DeVille, the space hosted a lesbian social spot, Chances in the 90s. Cheer-Up Charlie’s is run by a lesbian couple, Tamara Hoover and Maggie Lea. Although the club certainly isn’t exclusively a lesbian bar, it hosts regular lesbian nights and queer-friendly events. The venue is considered a modern cornerstone for Austin’s gay community.
Beyond the Red River spot’s history, the move into the newly designated Red River Cultural District could allow the club to flourish as a live performance venue. The East Sixth location hosted many a memorable show, including smashing SXSW day parties and the annual GayCL festival each fall, but it also struggled with noise complaints and permit issues. Lea, who handles the club’s bookings told the Austin Business Journal that she and Hoover hope to have live attractions ranging from music to comedy and film every night of the week in the new spot.
Cheer Up Charlie’s will close the East Sixth Street location after a final show on January 12. There is no scheduled open date for the Red River location at this point.