Owner places Youngstown music venue on eBay
Regulars have just one wish: that this one-of-a-kind melting pot and its weekly 'krapaoke' lives on beyond the auction block.
By KATIE LIBECCO
YOUNGSTOWN -- A staple of the local music scene is currently known as "Item 280032265440" to eBay bidders.
Greg Barratt, 37, owner of the Nyabinghi on Salts Spring Road, has listed the indie and alternative rock club on eBay for 150,000. After operating the Nyabinghi since 1998, the sale is just something he's been thinking about, he said.
"I've been doing this for awhile," Barratt said this week.
He formerly owned and operated another bar in Morgantown, W.Va., which was also known as the Nyabinghi. Now it's known as 123 Pleasant Street.
"Owner is motivated, and ready to sell. Business is a turn key operation. New owner would own property and all equipment, plus rights to name, websites, and images related to Nyabinghi," the eBay listing reads.
The property includes three connected parcels of land with an additional parcel across the street for parking. The purchase also includes all of the bar and sound equipment.
Barratt said he's had a few out-of-towners and a few locals inquire about purchasing the bar. Nothing definite yet, but he's sure it'll sell. "It has to," he said.
Why choose eBay to sell the place?
"It's the easiest, cheapest way. You reach out to a lot of people that way," Barratt said. "I'm really familiar with it."
He's known as 'gearking' to the online world, with a positive feedback rating of 1730.
His eBay listing for the Nyabinghi offers his explanation for the sale under a subhead that reads, "why we're selling":
I've been in this business for a long time, and need a change. I have other ventures which take up too much of my time to both run the bar and continue with my other projects."
Barratt said he doesn't think he'll stay in Youngstown after the bar sells. He wants to pursue some "other business, other stuff," but was vague about the details.
"I've got a lot of different things going on," he said.
On the Nyabinghi's MySpace page, Barratt lists Ohio Vintage Cycle and www.stainlesscycle.com as companies in addition to the Nyabinghi. His wife also owned and operated a vintage clothing store in the upstairs apartment of the Nyabinghi, known as Sassypants Vintage. The store is generally open a few days a month, but shoppers can also access the merchandise through eBay.
Barratt said he will continue to operate the bar until the new owner takes over. And if no one buys, he'll keep it up and running, he said, assuring his loyal patrons there's no reason to fear the place closing. For now.
"I'm still booking shows, I'm just going to keep doing that for now," Barratt said.
In the eBay listing, he writes, "I'm willing to train new owner the live music end of things, or new owner can do as they wish with the business."
He's also said he hopes, and is optimistic, that a buyer will keep the bar's atmosphere the same.
"I don't see how they could change it. What else are they going to do with it?" he said, noting the amount of sound equipment included in the deal.
One regular, Dave Woodard, 26, said the atmosphere was one of his favorite aspects of the Nyabinghi.
"It's a one-of-a-kind place in Youngstown. There's really nothing like it," Woodard said.
Woodard hangs out at the Nyabinghi every Wednesday -- one of the bar's most popular nights. Patrons come every Wednesday for a night of "krapaoke," their version of karaoke, usually featuring obscure songs and extreme acts.
"You'll find every kind of person at the Nyabinghi. It's really interesting because it's a melting pot -- the bands that come in, even the music in the jukebox," Woodard said. "It's great that way. It's rock and roll and I love it."
Another regular, Adam Berry, said the variety in music was one reason he frequents the Nyabinghi.
"It's the only place around here that gets really good bands, and they're all different genres," Berry said. "It's also my favorite place to have a Double Chocolate Stout."
Berry, 21, said that if any future owner tried to change the atmosphere, it'd be a "huge financial mistake."
"Whoever buys it better keep it exactly the same," Berry said.
The Nyabinghi is open to guests 18 and older on nights of shows and for Krapaoke on Wednesdays.