Athena Peters: 'have a good time.'
Athena Peters: "We have tried multiple pivots ...."

UPDATED, July 23, 2020: Adventure Pub, at 190 Mass. Ave., plans to close July 31, an East Arlington business casualty to the coronavirus pandemic and possible redevelopment.

The "gastro gaming pub" has been open since December 2018 in the former bank space occupied by Bistro Duet and flora. In addition to food and drink, the space offered tabletop games and rooms for rent for gaming experiences.

The closing may be part of larger plans by the Pasciuto family, which had its plans for the block across from Arlington High School approved July 20 by the Redevelopment Board. The family also owns the historic former Five Cent Saving Bank building, where Adventure Pub is, and other locations up to Lake Street.

Asked about development plans July 21, a representative of the family said they were possible and asked a reporter to call back next week. Attorney Robert Annese said July 22 that he is aware that plans may be in the works, but he could report nothing specific yet.

Athena Peters, a co-owner of Adventure Pub, provided a statement, reporting that she has been unable to negotiate a deal to stay despite steep costs related to the pandemic.

'Reached out multiple times'

"While I do not know what the Pasciuto families' long-term plans are with the 190 and 192 property that I currently lease, I do have three more years on my lease with them. Unfortunately, since the outbreak of Covid, our business that was built around filling this 7,000-square-foot space with dinners and board games has been hit hard.

"While we have tried multiple pivots to still keep revenue flowing in for the last five months, we have been reduced to 20 percent of our usual revenue.

"We have reached out multiple times to our landlords to try and negotiate some sort of relief for these months on our $16,000-per-month triple net lease, on which we also pay property, liability insurance and quarterly tax bills. Our most recent real estate tax bill was $7,368 for the quarter.

"Every response we have received so far from the Pasciutos is that because they assisted us with some off-set rent last year while we were trying to open that they would not be offering any relief to us during this crisis, and we are still in debt to them for the full occupancy costs of this space. We have been sending what little we can to them over the last five months, but with revenue not even meeting the occupancy costs of being in this space, and timelines for a vaccine when we could get back to business as usual not expected until 2021, we have run out of funds and will have to shut down.

"It is an unfortunate situation that I know many small businesses are facing. PPP loans were based on just two months of payroll amounts and not occupancy costs or lost revenue. Business Interruption Insurance is not covering the revenue lost because it was caused by a virus. And even economic injury disaster loans and grants were based on only 2 months of revenues and we are now past month five. Without occupancy cost relief from landlords and/ or the government, businesses like ours that rely on large gatherings to offset overhead are forced to just sink themselves further into debt or close under the weight."

'Beautiful, historic bank'

She noted that 190 Mass. Ave. "is a beautiful, historic bank building, though, and while it is certainly showing its age and has not been maintained well over the years, I do hope that an effort is made to retain the structure itself."

Peters is working with Isabel Strobing via Mainvest. They used its small-business crowd-investment platform to raise capital last year.

The closing was first announced on Facebook: "No one can plan for a pandemic and the inability to gather safely with our community has caused irreparable damage to businesses like ours that depend on gathering," a post on Adventure Pub's Facebook page says. "Unfortunately, this Adventure ends here. Over these next few weeks we invite you to come and say goodbye to our home.

"She deserves the biggest party we can muster. Let us celebrate all the wonderful times we have had and share the memories of a truly special place. Our staff would love to hear from you, our fellow Adventurers, about any special moments or things you enjoyed most about coming to visit with us. This is incredibly heartbreaking for all of us, so we'd like to have the light shine brightest before we go."

Other tenants in the block, including Little Q Hot Pot, have been asked for comment. The site of the former Christo's market is vacant. At Fantasy Nails, a closed sign is on the door.

 This news announcement was published Monday, July 20, 2020, and updated to a news summary July 22, with info added July 23.