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White Horse Inn will close its doors

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Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:00 am

White Horse Inn, 112 E. Green St., Champaign, is closing Saturday.

The bar, which reopened a year and a half ago, greatly suffered financially this year, said Aidas Mattis, one of the bar owners and a graduate student.

“Obviously the economy is a huge factor,” Mattis said. “Our sales are way down from last year.”

Mattis said the bar’s prices, which needed to accomodate students, made it difficult to do business in Champaign.

“It costs the same amount of money to do business here as it does in Chicago, but you can’t charge the same price,” he said.

Mattis said he thinks many students have less money right now because their parents have less to give them. This leads to students opting for more affordable options, such as “pre-gaming,” he said.

“Instead of hitting capacity at 10 or 11 like we were last year, we’re now hitting capacity at one,” Mattis said. “Across the board the liquor industry in town has seen a huge drop in sales,”

While he has lost money, Mattis said he and the other owners are getting out early enough, escaping financial bankruptcy.

Another reason for the bar’s lack of success, Mattis said, is its distance from the heart of Campustown.

As White Horse Inn has it’s final hoorah this week, he said, crowds are expected to be much bigger than usual.

“The turnout pretty much from now until Saturday is going to be insane,” Mattis said.

Wednesday night, the bar’s last karaoke night, was going to be especially busy, said Bill Roche, White Horse Inn employee and recent University alumnus.

“This place has got a lot of character,” Roche said.

Roche said he started coming to White Horse Inn as a sophomore.

“It’s not like a Joe’s or Kams or Brothers where it gets super busy and you go there because you want to get super drunk and dance. You come here to have a good beer and hangout with a good crowd,” Roche said. “For the people that do come in here, it’s disheartening to see it go, but what are you going to do? Bars are failing all over the place.”

The man who comes in for open-mic night on Tuesdays was so sad and almost teared up, Roche said.

Matt Brummond, senior in LAS, and Chad Borkgren, senior in Engineering, said they were the first two to arrive at Wednesday night karaoke.

“It’s pretty sad I’m not going to lie,” Brummond said. “It’s very chill, very relaxed. even Murphy’s can get pretty crowded, pretty crazy. I like it here.”

They said they came to the bar at least every week last year.

“I used to love coming to watch the live bands here, but karaoke’s always been a staple for the Wednesday nights,” Borkgren said. “This will probably be the last night for us. It’s a sad, sad night.”

The two said that they will not be replacing their going out nights with the newly opening C.O. Daniel’s.

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