Downtown’s popular wine bar The Must was unexpectedly evicted last weekend, finding owners Coly Den Haan and Rachel Thomas under the initial impression that they had been robbed after their furniture and stock was removed. L.A. Downtown News reports that the lock change and property removal is due to a property dispute with landlords and new neighbor David Holtzman, who recently purchased the Weeneez space next door, thereby taking control of two additional spaces held by the previous landlord, one of which is The Must. So how are Den Haan and Thomas responding?
Through the wine bar’s website, the owners explain the history of the dispute and argue that "No representative of The Must received any prior notice that anything was going to happen. It paid its rent as usual on June 30. It locked its doors as usual at 2:00 a.m. on July 3rd. The move-out occurred July 3rd at approximately 2:45am. Julie Rico, Sid Carter and the supposed, "new owner", David Holtzman, hired movers to strip The Must of everything including furniture, wine, food, computers and documents." They also plan to defy the forced closure, claiming "We are not going anywhere, we will always be downtown. This IS our home."
While Den Haan and Thomas contacted the LAPD to report an illegal lockout, the previous landlord and current owner announced plans to L.A. Downtown News for a new restaurant concept coming to The Must and Weeneez spaces.
The Must has had kind of a tricky year, maintaining a consistently full house while fighting untrue health code violation hearsay and battling its landlord for months. To keep their heads up and bellies full while appealing to the state judicial system, The Must’s owners are holding an open bar fundraiser to support staff who lost their employment. Held at The Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank Building, a $20 door charge provides access to beer, wine, and the restaurant’s house D.J.s from 7:00 to 11:00 P.M. this Saturday.
Popular Wine Bar Closed Amidst Property Dispute [L.A. Downtown News]