brickhouse

The Brickhouse owners had to make the decision about which locations could remain viable in the future. 

Seven dollar pitchers and Thursday karaoke nights will be no more, because a popular JMU student bar and restaurant, Brickhouse Tavern, has permanently shut its doors.

General manager Vegas, who has asked the Breeze to not use her last name for safety reasons, has worked at Brickhouse for the past four years. She said she loved working at the bar and helping students host their formals at Brickhouse.

“It’s just very sad and disheartening that we had to close,” Vegas said. “It’s going to be a lot of businesses that I think aren’t going to make it, unfortunately.”

Brickhouse Tavern has locations in Harrisonburg, Newport News and Williamsburg. The location in Harrisonburg was formerly a Buffalo Wild Wings.

“We always had a blast — it was a great time and everyone was very respectful,” Vegas said. “There were so many good memories, it’s sad that it’s gone.” 

Vegas said that the owners looked at some of the loans provided by the government, but what the country considers a “small business” is under 500 employees. Many larger businesses received the money before smaller businesses, which may have a staff of under 100 people, had the opportunity to receive aid.

Since many restaurant owners own multiple properties, some are having to choose which of their restaurants can and can’t sustain revenue losses, Vegas said. The Brickhouse owners have to make a decision about which locations can remain viable in the future. Additionally, some of the loans required individuals to attach a home or equity to receive the loan, which is risky.

“It was my favorite place downtown — I just loved the atmosphere and it was really fun,” Noah Harilla, a senior nursing major, said. “I don’t think I missed a Thursday from fall semester all the way through spring break.”

Harilla said his friends would always go to Brickhouse Tavern early Thursday evenings and then would often go to Ruby’s Arcade afterward. He planned on coming back to visit it for the rescheduled graduation in August, but was disappointed to learn that the bar permanently closed.

Harilla said it’s tough watching the coronavirus impact so many people. But, he said that the lasting effects on some students’ favorite downtown hangout spots are being overlooked.

Some of the Brickhouse staff will be relocating to a soon to be announced live music venue in Harrisonburg, Vegas said in a statement. She thanked the JMU family for all of its support. 

“I was completely shocked,” Erin Miklosey, a senior finance major, said. “I can’t believe it’s permanently shut, especially because it was always packed on Thursday.”

She said some of her favorite memories of Brickhouse Tavern were singing karaoke with friends, and even waiting in line, just because it was fun to be with her friends after a long week of school.

Miklosey said she’s sad for younger students who won’t get a chance to visit her favorite spot in Harrisonburg. She said all of her friends feel just as upset.

 “Maybe we went too hard that they knew it couldn’t be up much longer — we went out with a bang,” Miklosey said. “Having senior year come to an end was unexpected, and Brickhouse closing was the cherry on top of being upset.”

Contact Matthew Sasser at sasserma@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.