The jury’s still out on that one, but the doing in of Westport’s Beaumont Club is a far easier crime to solve.
Let’s solve it right here, right now, shall we?
For starters, running a massive bar and concert venue (15,000 square feet) with a hefty five-figure rent ($20,000 a month) and questionable parking isn’t an easy proposition. And while the Beaumont made its mark in its early hey days mixing cool concerts and a dance floor packed with country line dancing types, those days have long since been over.
I spoke with that owner at the time and he expressed great relief for having unloaded the club, which had been behind the financial eight ball – rent, taxes – for some time even then.
A ton of money was then spent putting in a new stage and sound system, cleaning up the place and adding other amenities.
All of which might have served the Beaumont Club well were it not for the financial reversal of one of its lead investors, a wave of competition from other local venues, the inability to book outdoor shows because of noise complaints by the Tivoli theater, a neighboring tenant in Manor Square and the negative publicity and crowds generated by hip-hop club America’s Pub.
“How was the Beaumont supposed to stay open when the Power & Light District is putting on 50 free outdoor shows every year and the city is footing the bills?” says a source close to the situation. “And the Crossroads is doing 40 shows and the Midland is doing shows that only attract 600 people?”
As part of the Power & Light District the Midland also enjoys financial advantages over the Beaumont which has no Sugar Daddies outside of its ownership group.
The Beaumont might have fared better were more bands touring during the winter – indoor show – months because “it was built for doing concerts properly,” the source says. “But if you can’t get the business in the summer, how can you stay open?”
Therein lies the problem, ladies and gentlemen. It’s that simple.