A few weeks ago, Cheers was supposed to be a new gay bar set to open during Pride week on Franklin and Lyndale in Minneapolis.
That was before manager Emad Yousef Abed was accused by the Twin Cities online queer community of posting violently anti-Semitic opinions on Facebook—stuff like “Israel and it’s [sic] people must be eliminated from existence.”
Soon after screenshots of these posts came to light, Abed told various news outlets that they were not his and that he may have been “hacked” or framed, but not before an explosion of outrage engulfed local forums. A protest was scheduled, boycotts were planned, the Cheers Facebook page disappeared entirely, and Abed’s Facebook profile went on lockdown.
It turns out Cheers may have had other problems. While this Facebook “nightmare,” as management put it in an interview with City Pages, was unfolding, the bar was about to get slapped with an eviction notice.
Last week, the notice was filed in Hennepin County District Court by the property owner alleging Red Star Group LLC—the company behind the bar—owes over $21,000 in unpaid rent and fees.
According to the complaint, Red Star has not paid its nearly $8,667 in monthly rent for May or June, and it’s been missing monthly $715 common area maintenance fees since January. An eviction hearing is scheduled for June 21. Abed and bar management declined to comment for this story.
In the meantime, it appears Cheers has plans of its own. The bar’s website says it’s now “rebranding” as an “alternative bar with nightly live music.” A Facebook post about the transformation from a user named Imad Abid has been circulating on the Queers Against Cheers protest page, and the responses are… skeptical.
“What on Earth does that even mean?” a commenter asked.
“It’s an alternative to a bar,” another answers. “One that never opens and never makes any money.”
Some speculated that the eviction notice might have explained the original reason Cheers was on the community's radar: a Gofundme page created by Cheers management, asking for a million or two in order to buy the building and “preserve it” for “generations to come.” Without a word from management, it’s impossible to know for sure.
As for the protest, it’s supposed to take place on Friday during Pride weekend. But organizers say it will be rescheduled or canceled if the grand opening gets pushed off, or simply never happens.