The Needle Vinyl Tavern won’t reopen, while ownership of the Jasper Avenue building where the bar is located is being renegotiated. This comes after the club closed its doors following sexual harassment allegations.
“I can guarantee it’s going to be different,” Tegan Martin-Drysale, president of the RedBrick Group of Companies, which co-owns the building, said Wednesday.
Last November, the Needle shut down “indefinitely” following social media reaction after employee Brittany Rudyk alleged she was sexually harassed on the job in March. She said the person who harassed her was “disrespectful” to several staff that night.
Neither Rudyk nor the owners publicly revealed exactly who was being accused, though the bar in a statement apologized for the incident.
Martin-Drysdale declined to break down the building ownership group’s percentages. Needle co-owner Rob Campbell is also a part owner of the building, separate from RedBrick.
For months, the Needle’s business and assets have been for sale — but no deal has materialized.
Martin-Drysdale said of the Needle’s owners: “They have been in talks with several people about different structures. I haven’t been party to those discussions. The last I heard is it didn’t come to fruition.”
The owners did not return requests for comment.
“There’s two options,” said Martin-Drysdale. “Somebody comes in — a new operating group, new ownership. They assume the existing contents. They reopen obviously under completely new ownership, management, brand. It would be up to them.
“The second option is it’s a whole different use. All the contents get removed. Those are two options being looked out at this time.”
As part-owner of the building, Martin-Drysdale said it’s about more than wanting rent to be paid.
“You’re not going to compromise the quality of tenancy just to pay rent. Obviously, we’re strongly vetting based on what’s happened there,” she said.
“We can’t have somebody open and have some similar incident happen again. That comes from a more vigorous vetting process than most landowners would be looking at.”
The building’s tenants include Alberta Music, Edmonton Digital Arts College, Homestead workspace, Mr. Barber School and Next Architecture.
Originally owned by Neil Bosch, Rob Campbell and James Leder, the Needle opened in March 2016 hoping to become “Edmonton’s music venue.”