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2020 in Review: Popular Venues That Closed

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Andrew Boydston / Shutterstock.com

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy throughout 2020, and one industry particularly damaged has been the live entertainment industry.

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After all, no one wants to hold an indoor concert when that’s right where a virus could easily spread. And it’s hard to draw a big crowd when you need to abide by social-distancing requirements.

In April, the concert industry publication Pollstar estimated that coronavirus-related cancellations would cause nearly $9 billion in losses. Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group, estimated that 62% of all American artists are now unemployed.

NIVA, the National Independent Venue Association, launched a “Save Our Stages” benefit in September to help raise money for music venues. Although it has raised more than $1.8 million so far, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the losses this year.

Read on to take a look at 10 iconic venues across the U.S. that closed this year.

Last updated: Dec. 31, 2020

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California: Slim’s in San Francisco

The music venue, co-owned by Boz Scaggs, will shut its doors after 30 years. The club hosted such acts as David Bowie, No Doubt, Radiohead, Weezer and more.

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Georgia: The Music Room in Atlanta

The popular underground live music venue on Edgewood Avenue also had a hidden speakeasy-style bar and a barbecue joint. The venue was a beloved part of the Atlanta hip-hop scene.

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Illinois: io Theater in Chicago

The longtime comedy club on the North Side of Chicago bragged that it included Chris Farley, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler among its alumni.

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Massachusetts: Great Scott in Allston

Since 1976, this club had hosted bands such as Speedy Ortiz and MGMT. Over the years, it had transformed from a local bar featuring blues performers to a college dive with cover bands to a live music venue.

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New York: Shetler Studios in New York City

For 30 years, the unique facility in the theater district provided places for performances, rehearsals, readings and more.

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Pennsylvania: Warmdaddy’s in Philadelphia

The venerable blues club closed after 25 years. It had hosted such acts as Bluesman Willie.

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Tennessee: Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville

Home for country songwriters and rising artists, it hosted Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood and Blake Shelton, among others.

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Texas: Threadgill’s in Austin

This comfort food restaurant, bar and music venue in Austin had been open since 1933, first as a gas station and beer bar.

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Washington: Re-Bar in Seattle

Open for 30 years in the Denny Triangle area of Seattle, this nightclub hosted Nirvana, Riz Rollins among others. It’s planning on reopening in a new location in another part of Seattle in fall 2021.

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Washington, D.C.: U Street Music Hall

The subterranean club was known for its sound system and electronic DJs. More than 2,000 artists and DJs, including Diplo and Disclosure, performed there.

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