Black Cat closing, more bar shakeups

Where will we drink?

Where will we drink? There’s a rash of bar shakeups leaving their thirsty faithful, well, a bit parched. Here’s the download…
Black Cat: The freak flag flew high at this funky little Penngrove bar, and BiteClub for one is misty over its demise. Eight-year owner Robin Pfefer hosted some of the area’s coolest musical acts (squeezed into the tight corner) along with open mic nights and fostered a healthy community spirit where gay, straight, young, old and everyone on the spectrum could cozy up on the cracked vinyl seats and hang. All of us freaks. We’ll miss the mayor, the bras on the ceiling, le chat noir poster and the feeling that there was at least one last bastion the tan/gym/laundry crowd hadn’t infiltrated. The Cat hosts its final farewell on August 28, when the bras from above will be given to their owners/admirers. The bar will officially close in mid-September and has been purchased by the owners of Cotati’s Eight Ball, reopening in the fall as Mack’s. “It’s bittersweet,” said Pfefer, who is closing the bar in order to spend more time with her toddler son. “We had the greatest clientele, the greatest staff. But because the bar is gone doesn’t mean the people are gone. They’ll pick up the freak flag and fly it somewhere else,” she said. The only good news, Humble Pie next door will remain open. 10056 Main Street, Penngrove, (707) 793-9480.
The Vine: The ultra-lounge formerly known as Seven, and then The Vine, is officially closed. A for sale sign is posted in the window. Doomed from the start? It seems the ghost of Seven never quite left the building. 528 7th Street, Santa Rosa, (707) 527-5600
Stir: There’s no official word, but recently Stir hasn’t been stirring. We’ve seen this kind of thing before at the Mendocino Ave. cocktail lounge — one night packed, another mysteriously dark — so we’re not tolling the death bell just yet. But the phone has been “temporarily disconnected” and their Facebook fan page indicates that the swizzle sticks are on ice for now. The former Barcode has long been a challenging spot, but Stir seemed to be getting it right. Ste D, 404 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, (707) 284-7480.
Is there still hope? BiteClub hears through the grapevine that several other local spots are on the skids (though others are doing just fine, thanks). Why do some watering holes thrive while others head over the guardrail in just a few months? And while we’re at it, why do some bars swear they’ll never play hip-hop, only to throw it on the turntables a month later.
One insider we talked to said that he tells bar owners that they’ll be lucky to be full two nights a week. And if they can’t support that, then they’re swimming upstream. Especially in this market. What’s your take?
Personally, I’m voting for someone to open a burlesque bar atop the 440. Now that’s something we could all get behind…