Kartabar Owner Gets Liquor License for Former Custom House in Providence

Thursday, February 08, 2018


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Kartabar's liquor license -- and owner Philipe Maatouk -- are moving downtown to a new bar and restaurant, at the site of the former Custom House Tavern.

The owners of Kartabar -- the former Thayer Street restaurant and bar that closed in November -- are one step closer to opening a new establishment at the location of the old Custom House Tavern in Providence.

The Providence Board of Licenses voted Wednesday to transfer Kartabar's liquor license -- with a 2 a.m. closing -- to their new restaurant and bar, "Layali," at 1 Custom House Street, pending a valet license under review with the parking administrator.

Kartabar's exit from Thayer Street after 18 years marked the latest in a series of departures of longstanding businesses. In 2016, real estate developer Ken Dulgarian said he estimated that parking meters had business on the street down 40%.

Meanwhile, new businesses, including chain food establishments B. Good and By Chloe, have opened on the commercial strip in recent months. 

Latest for Kartabar

GoLocal was first to report that Kartabar on Thayer Street was closing in November. 

As GoLocal reported:

Owner Philippe Maatouk made the announcement on Facebook on Tuesday -- stating that Thayer Street had become "difficult."

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Signs in the window are already advertising for the new downtown location.

"After 18 unforgettable years, Kartabar is closing its doors on Sunday the 25th of November. We want to thank all of you who came here weekly and monthly and yearly. Those of you who chose to spend your precious moments with us, those of you who got engaged here, who had their birthdays and anniversaries, and all of you who dropped by just to say hi and chat. Thank you for allowing us to become a part of your life. This has been one undeniably wonderful journey, so many extraordinary people, remarkable experiences," wrote Maatouk. 

VIDEO: Watch Maatouk on LIVE HERE

"We thought we had found a real home at this location, but unfortunately Thayer street has become difficult for us to make it work here.  Now it is time for us to say goodbye and move on. Our best wishes and hopes remain for the future and we thank you all for the past," added Maatouk. 

Newest Iteration for Custom House

In 2015, GoLocal reported that after having been closed for years -- and undergoing renovations -- the Custom House Tavern would open as The Diamond Room, which had a full liquor license -- and valet parking. 

At the time, the property, which was valued at $643,100, had $170,000 invested in the construction.  The most recent assessment of the building has it valued at $720,800.

The Diamond Room closed in 2016. 

The following was the decision made by the Board of Licenses on Wednesday. The liquor license was held by Basha, doing business as Kartabar at 284 Thayer Street. 

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