The normally verbose Jim Flanagan says that, under the terms of his sales agreement, he can’t talk about the closing of Flanagan’s Central Station in Whitefish.
“There’s nothing for me to confirm right now, except for one thing,” Flanagan says. “My mission is to buy another liquor license down in Missoula and to continue with the economy that I’ve created and take that economy down to Missoula.”
The only other clues to the club’s future are three sentences on its webpage: “Flanagan’s would like to thank everyone for their support over the last three years! It’s been a great run, and we hope to see you again in Missoula! Watch for upcoming shows throughout September and please stop in and say goodbye to the crew and the club!”
Since New Year’s Eve 2004, Flanagan’s has been the hub of the Flathead music scene, bringing in such acts as Sam Bush, The Gourds, The Jerry Garcia Band, DJ Logic and Galactic.
Exactly why the club is closing is unclear.
In its early years, Flanagan had trouble with attendance, but in a January 2007 interview he told the Independent, “We’ve weathered the storm.”
Also, since the summer of 2005, the club had received four alcohol violations that put its liquor license in jeopardy.
An official at the Montana Liquor License Bureau would not comment on the status of Flanagan’s license.
Flanagan says he’ll be able to talk next week.
Until then, Whitefish residents will likely be wondering who the buyer is.
In recent years, two developers have shown interest in buying downtown properties. One possibility is William Foley, majority shareholder in both Winter Sports LLC, which owns Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly Big Mountain) and in a company that owns The Craggy Range, MacKenzie River Pizza, The Corner House Grille and Mambo Italiano’s, all in downtown Whitefish.
Also, developer Tom Donahue has purchased the building that previously housed Truby’s Pizza, directly across Central Avenue from Flanagan’s, and the empty lot directly across First Street from the club.
Calls to both developers were not returned by press time.