TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — “Thick Smoke. Dim Lights. Loud Music. Welcome to Egan’s.”
These are the words that hang above the entrance of Egan’s Bar, a staple of Tuscaloosa’s bar scene that has stood along the Strip since 1979. This Sunday, the storied bar will close its doors, taking its name and countless stories with it.
The news, first reported by Tuscaloosa Thread, marks the end of an era of a small strip of road that has drastically changed through time. With many restaurants and bars having come and gone throughout the years, Egan’s remained.
Mike McWhirter, owner of Egan’s who took over the popular bar from Bob Weatherly in 2018, said he made the hard decision to sell the bar within the last month due to a job opportunity he had in Texas with his son.
McWhirter, who grew up in Tuscaloosa and frequented Egan’s for years before taking it over, said the decision to close was bittersweet.
“To see that era end is a little difficult and I’ve had my reservations, but being with my family is incredibly important to me,” McWhirter said.
Chris Coleman, who previously had an ownership stake in The Wheelhouse in Temerson Square, and Mac Maddox will take over the space, closing it for a week and reopen as another bar with a new name. Coleman could not be reached for comment at deadline.
McWhirter said what has made Egan’s special over the years has been its customers, many of whom have been regularly coming to the bar for years.
“We have a very loyal, faithful crowd,” he said. “They’ve supported us through the good and bad and it’s been home for a lot of people.”
Nonetheless, McWhirter wishes Coleman and Maddox well with whatever will go in the former Egan’s location.
“I support them 110%,” he said. “I’m happy for them.”
A “Last Call at Egan’s” will be held Saturday and Sunday at the bar with last call being 11 p.m. Sunday.