One of downtown New Bern's busiest bars and night spots served its last customers on New Year's Eve 2021.
After being a staple in the area for nearly eight years, The Brown Pelican has closed its doors.
Owner Heather Haiss said she received a letter from her landlord stating that they were planning to take the property in a different direction and would not be renewing her lease in the new year.
The Brown Pelican opened at 411 Broad St. in October 2014. Haiss, who started working as a bartender when the business first opened, purchased the bar from its former owner in 2018.
"I never thought I would open a bar," Haiss said. "It was just a great opportunity."
The bar was open seven days a week and featured live music on six of those days.
Haiss said she will miss the music and her customers most of all.
"It was like a melting pot where everyone that came through the door felt comfortable," Haiss said. "Everybody felt a sense of home, it was a unique experience. Closing has been very difficult. We were like a whole family. It was more than a bar, it was a community."
Penny Gay was a frequent visitor to the business.
"I made a lot of friends there," Gay said. "I enjoyed the atmosphere and the friendly people that visited there. It was like a big family. I was from out of town and they treated me like I was part of that family."
Haiss said that as sad as she is about the closing of the business it may have been good timing.
She was diagnosed with lymphoma prior to becoming a bartender at The Brown Pelican. The disease has since progressed into a more aggressive form of lymphoma called Sezary Syndrome.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Sézary syndrome affects the skin, blood and sometimes the lymph nodes. The disease is most common in middle-aged and older people. The disease progresses quickly once it develops. Having Sézary syndrome increases your risk of other cancers.
Haiss is currently undergoing chemotherapy as part of her treatment.
However, she is still looking for a new location for the bar.
"We had found a place and were going to relocate but decided it would not be a good fit," Haiss said. "We are still looking and hopefully we will find something that will work. It can't be recreated unless its the right place."
Since closing, she is still keeping busy. She currently has a cleaning business where she cleans homes as well as local Airbnb's and specializes in doing short-term rental properties.
She is also offering commemorative apparel for The Brown Pelican such as T-shirts and hoodies, which are available for purchase by contacting her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by sending money through Venmo at @hhaiss or cash app $HeatherHaiss. The last day to place an order is Feb. 5 and items will be available for pickup by the end of February.
For more information and updates, visit The Brown Pelican's Facebook page.
This article originally appeared on Sun Journal: The Brown Pelican, a bar located in downtown New Bern, has closed