Never say never, right?
Well, almost never. But what’s left of the ship of state that was once Kansas City’s finest jazz club – Jardine’s – appears poised to tumble off a cliff from which there will likely be no return.
Sources say the club’s last and most-prized assets – it’s 3 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. liquor licenses – are poised to expire between now and July. And should they expire, liquor industry insiders say, it will be nare but impossible to replace Jardine’s all-important, 3 a.m. liquor license.
"I think one (license) expires at the end of June and one in July," says former Jardine’s co-owner and manager Pat Hanrahan. "I don’t remember which is which."
As for the prospect of someone buying the club and maybe – just maybe – reopening it as a jazz joint, "I talked to Beena a couple times earlier this week and there’s a couple of people who
have looked at the space recently," Hanrahan says. "And I know one guy is still interested, (he’s) from out of town. I think they still have a few weeks to go on the liquor license. And I know American Century has shown it to five or six different people."
Including, Hanrahan says, a chef/restaurateur and some nightclub/bar wannabes who had been trying until recently to open in or near the Power & Light District.
Speaking of which…
Whatever became of the gay dudes who convinced the Pitch they had bought Jardine’s and were poised to reopen the club this past January?
"I don’t know what the hell happened to them, I have no idea," Hanrahan says. "Every time I talked to them they said they were moving forward."
Attempts to contact one of said gents – Robert McCain – by text in mid-late April garnered no response. Another text in late May was answered by McCain with a, "Who is this?" but no further comment after I identified myself.
McCain’s last words to KCC were in late March when he texted that he had a call in to American Century.
"Funny how things all changed today after we did all the due dilligence," he texted then.
Which brings us to embattled Jardine’s owner Beena Raja who has been uncharacteristically silent in recent weeks as the grains of sand continue run out of Jardine’s hourglass.
Raja did not return calls, email or text requests for comment for this column.
Then there was the notice landlord American Century Realty affixed to Jardine’s front door last month.
"Notice To Tenant To Remove Personal Property," it reads."Subject to court order you have been evicted from the premises at 4536 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri."
Meanwhile, back at former Jardine’s owner and founder Greg Halstead‘s retirement ranch…
"That’s all come and gone," Halstead says of the eviction notice. "American Century just took all the proper steps. I’ve pretty much written everything off. It’s out of my hands."
For well over a decade Halstead had a good run, including for many years after he sold the club to Raja.
"You know, she paid me for 10, 9 years – something like that – plus she gave me a pretty healthy downpayment," Halstead muses. "But I always say, what goes around comes around and she’ll get hers. I’m just waiting to hear from American Century’s lawyer to see what I can and can’t have. But they have a claim against (the club) too because they’re owed rent."
The bottom line; as tiresome as this months-long mess continues to be; there still appears to be a slim chance Jardine’s could be saved. A very slim chance.
But isn’t that what Hail Mary passes are all about?