Aces and Eights owner Jevan Damadian thought he was making a shrewd move with his personal fortune when he decided to back the bar's expansion from the Upper East Side. But in an interview with the Lo Down, Damadian explains the backstory of the failed project and how everything quickly went wrong. It's kind of long, but lucky for you, we pulled the key points and present to you the Eater Guide to Investing in a Bar. Hopefully it will help you avoid Jevan's costly mistakes.
1. Find Another Investment: Damadian got rich through his family's MRI business and thought a bar was a better play than the then plummeting stock market, but boy was he wrong. If you are the main (or only) money man, a bar isn't an investment, it's a full time job.
2. Find Good Partners: Damadian lived above the original Aces and Eights and became friends with the owner, Solomon Eljashev. That's how he decided to bankroll his downtown expansion. Big mistake. First, the East Village is a different animal than the Upper East Side so it would be wise to find someone with some downtown experience. Second, not to be prejudice or anything, but bar owners and hospitality workers in general can be strange folk. You have to really be able to trust someone and make sure they have skin in the game before deciding to partner up. Damadian obviously missed big on this one.
3. Stay Involved: Damadian says the trouble started quickly when "Eljashev shut him out of the business, failed to make loan payments as agreed and fell severely behind on the rent". Any of these should have been a giant warning sign that something was burning in the proverbial kitchen. Any smart investor would have immediately stepped in to make sure there weren't more problems. Don't just assume that your partners have it handled, otherwise you find out that they did some other weird things, like opening without an Operating Permit from the City.
4. Cut Your Losses: Damadian, bless his heart, is trying to make a go of the space, telling the Lo Down that his, "aim is to run an establishment that will meet the approval of the community." But when the SLA pulls your liquor license and the Community Board hates you and you've sunk way more money than you thought into a turkey of a project, it's probably time to cut your losses and cash out.
Heed these simple rules and hopefully your investment in a bar will work out better than Jevan's.
· Aces and Eights’ New Owner Pleads His Case [LD]
· Aces and Eights Coverage [~ENY~]