PJ's Lager House 'closed for foreseeable future' following new COVID-19 shutdown

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It could be the end of an era for a Corktown bar and rock venue.

According to a Facebook post on Wednesday, PJ's Lager House is "closed for the foreseeable future."

"Our business and staff have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic," owner Paul "PJ" Ryder wrote. "Our business model is based on bringing people together, and COVID makes that all but impossible."

As the coronavirus continues to surge in Michigan and beyond, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced new restrictions on businesses that went into effect at midnight on Wednesday. That includes closing all bars and restaurants for carryout, delivery, or outdoor dining only, as well as a ban on social gatherings between more than two households, for at least the next three weeks. Aware of the economic toll of the new shutdown, Whitmer called on President Donald Trump to work with Congress to pass new coronavirus relief legislation.

In the meantime, PJ's Lager House has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay for overhead.

"In the absence of any additional financial relief, we are turning to you — our customers and community — for help," Ryder wrote. "Help keep this iconic rock & roll bar alive. Anything helps."

The Lager House's problems started before the pandemic. In fact, they started soon after Ryder bought the Lager House in 2007. In 2009, Ryder was the subject of a CNN Money story, "How to lose money fast: Open a business."

Ryder listed PJ's Lager House for sale for $2.2 million last year, citing a variety of factors, including his age and the changing character of the neighborhood. Ford Motor Co. is moving forward with its ambitious plan to renovate the hulking nearby Michigan Central Station for a new autonomous car lab.

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