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A Longtime Pillar of New Orleans’s Live Music Scene Is for Sale

Iconic Frenchmen Street bar and music venue D.B.A is on the market

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D.B.A.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A 20-year mainstay of Frenchmen Street nightlife and New Orleans’s live music scene, D.B.A, is for sale, reports NOLA.com. Owner Tom Thayer told the newspaper he planned to put the beloved bar and music venue on the market prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but would have likely stayed open through spring if not for the resulting statewide bar shutdown.

The 3,516-square-foot building at 618 Frenchmen Street and the D.B.A. business are being sold via a sealed bid process, with bids due to French Quarter Realty by June 1. Thayer owns the property and most of of the business, with a small share owned by a minority partner who has been involved since the first D.B.A. opened in New York in 1994.

Thayer was an original employee of the New York City bar, eventually moving to New Orleans and opening the Marigny location in 2000. He planned to celebrate the club’s 20th anniversary in April and May during Jazz Fest, which has been postponed until the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. He told NOLA.com if the crisis had hit in June, “we probably would have just shut down for the summer.”

Thayer also referenced the evolution of Frenchmen Street over the decades, saying he finds himself going there less and that “the market has changed a lot.” Once known as the city’s best destination for live jazz and for a funky and low-key vibe, the years following Hurricane Katrina brought a slew of new construction and multi-level restaurants to the street, contributing to a more tourist-friendly atmosphere.

Offering a glimmer of hope to concerned fans, Thayer told NOLA.com that if offers for the club fall short of his expectations, he’ll continue to operate once city restrictions are lifted.

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