Joey Walter / Sun File Photo

December 31, 2015

Dunbar’s Closes Doors After 36 Years in Collegetown

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After more than 36 years in operation, Dunbar’s is the next Collegetown watering hole to shut its doors, according to former manager Brian Rettger.

A Collegetown fixture established in 1979, Dunbar’s is known to many Cornellians for its dive bar atmosphere, with ceiling tiles and walls scribbled on in permanent marker and six dollar “Group Therapy” special.

Rettger told The Sun Thursday that owner Dave Pepin had decided to close the establishment over break, and that the “timing is unfortunate.”

Though Rettger was unable to provide details on the reason for the bar’s closure, Pepin had decided to put the bar up for sale in 2013 due to his desire to spend more time with family, The Sun previously reported.

The closure of Dunbar’s follows the shuttering of a number of Collegetown bars in recent years. The building that housed Pixel Lounge was demolished this summer to make way for a new residential and commercial development on Eddy Street. Stella’s Restaurant, Bar and Café — located at 403 College Ave. — also closed this year, and is now occupied by StartupTree.

The iconic Chapter House pub was destroyed in an early-morning fire on April 14, though management has stated that they hope to reopen by next August.

The Royal Palm Tavern — known as “The Palms” — closed in February 2012, and both Johnny O’s and Dino’s shut their doors the year before.

Rettger said that for him and Pepin — who both attended Ithaca College — Dunbar’s was their connection to Cornell and the community.

“Pep has been a long time supporter of wrestling and hockey, as well as a big fan of all athletics at Cornell,” he said. “Several alumni brought the Stanley Cup to the bar during the time he owned the place. I know those are fond memories for him.”

For Rettger, who stayed in Ithaca after graduation but has since moved away, Dunbar’s “was always a bit like coming home.”

“And the jukebox. Loved the jukebox,” he said.