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The Emerald Lounge: open since 1949, an ironworkers bar turned black pool hall turned premier local music venue turned . . . another lovely parking lot? Another corporate retail space? File this under "I can't believe it's happening again," but come September 15, the Emerald Lounge on Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road will be no more.

"The Emerald, as those of us have loved it, will no longer exist," says proprietor Greg Riggins.

Though obvious signs of construction around the bar had people speculating about a closure, Riggins was merely planning to close down for a short remodel until disagreements recently arose between himself and the owners of the building.

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Emerald Lounge

Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road

For the better part of a decade, the venue has showcased both established and fledgling local talent as well as under-the-radar national acts, offering a deep roster of music for those 21 and up. Always open to the experimental, the bar has regularly held events as diverse as the backyard theater of Gullaballoo and weekly events like Soul Trax, a freeform night hosted by Nuevo-jazz ensemble Sonorous.

An early supporter of First Fridays, the lounge hung original works monthly and featured large permanent installations by local artist Tato Caraveo.

While Riggins suggests the possibility of having live music elsewhere in town, he admits, "I don't know what I'm going to do in the future." We can only hope his future involves championing local arts and music. Stay tuned.

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