Eugene’s Hi-Fi Music Hall will close its doors for up to three months to reapply for a liquor license under new management, owner Danny Kime announced in a press released on Thursday. The venue will be closed starting on Dec. 13.
The venue will also undergo a series of renovations during the closure, which includes adding a speakeasy-style bar that will require a membership for entry, Kime told the Emerald on Thursday morning. The bar will be a high-end space that serves craft cocktails.
Kime said the Hi-Fi is going through an ownership change, which requires the venue to receive a new liquor license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Kime said the bar is in good standing with the OLCC and has never had a violation.
“It’s simply because of an internal restructuring,” Kime said of the music hall’s temporary closure.
The OLCC granted the Hi-Fi a temporary license that allows the venue to reopen for the seven shows that are scheduled through December.
Kime said that he and his former business partner, Mike Hergenreter, split in June of 2017 following a disagreement about the future of the Hi-Fi. Kime said that Hergenreter will no longer be involved in the venue’s business operations moving forward.
The former business partners dissolved their co-owned company, Treehouse 6 — the Hi-Fi’s parent company — following the disagreement. Local businessman Shane Cavanaugh is now partnering with Kime in ownership of the music hall. Cavanaugh owns Eugene’s Amazon Organics marijuana dispensary.
Kime said that the potential of adding cannabis consumption to Hi-Fi was a point of contention between himself and Hergenreter. Kime added that he and Cavanaugh are interested in allowing cannabis consumption at the Hi-Fi if there is change in Oregon’s regulations surrounding where cannabis can be consumed.
“We came in contact two and a half years ago and it was in part of future plans to include cannabis with music,” Kime said of Cavanaugh. “We have some idea moving forward, in the future, for when regulations change. That’s a big part of what we’re planning for.”
Kime said he’s optimistic that the there will be changes in the state’s cannabis consumption laws in the coming years.
“There’s been a lot of surplus of cannabis in Oregon,” Kime said. “One of the moves to decrease that surplus is by increasing consumption in legal settings and public settings."
Kime said that the speakeasy could be easily converted to be a marijuana bar if Oregon’s laws were changed.
“If the times come that it becomes legal, and the way that they do it is membership based — if that’s the direction they go, which seems like it would be — we would be well-equipped to turn the speakeasy into a something like that,” Kime said.
Kime added that the Hi-Fi is looking to retain most of the staff that currently work there.
“We’re really excited about this new direction and additions to Hi-Fi will make it more dynamic,” Kime said. “Hi-Fi Music Hall should become one of the premiere music venues on the I-5 corridor because the venue is in a much better position financially with a cooperative and enthusiastic management team that can help us operate the entire business in a more efficient way.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Kime and Hergenreter stopped working together in the fall of 2018 when the duo actually split in June of 2017. This article has been updated to reflect the accurate timing of ownership change.