TORRINGTON — Hanq’s, a popular bar and restaurant on Water Street, is closing for good.
Owner Kristopher Kelsey said Monday that he had reached a impasse with the building’s owner regarding his lease, and decided to close. His last night in business is Friday , when he’ll have a night of drink specials and a free buffet to say goodbye to his many loyal customers.
“We have an agreement to disagree on how the business should go, and we’ve decided it’s time,” Kelsey said. “I’m taking a couple of months off, and I’ve already been offered a few different locations to reopen (Hanq’s), and not just in Torrington.
“But there’s no rush to leave Torrington,” Kelsey added. “If there’s a good business decision to be made (on a new space here), we’ll look at it. We just don’t have a good location right now.”
Hanq’s opened in 2017, offering a seasonal menu and a fresh look to the upper-level space at 131 Water St. Since he opened the restaurant, Kelsey, a Las Vegas native with a flair for local food and live entertainment, has been a supportive member of the downtown business community, holding fundraisers and parties for the Litchfield Jazz Festival, CAFTA, animal rescue organizations and most recently, the Taste of Torrington at the Torrington Library.
Leaving isn’t easy — but he’s not really leaving at all. “Closing Hanq’s — it’s emotional, but business wise, we’re not allowed to do what we want on Water Street. But I have opened the Social House downtown, working with Steve Temkin from the Torrington Downtown Partners. He’s been phenomenal. I want a landlord who’s embedded in the community, and that’s what it is for the downtown partners ... I believe in social entrepreneurship, and that’s what the Social House is.”
Kelsey and one of his business partners, graphic artist David Garcia, are working together on Social House, which is on Main Street near the Warner Theatre. Gov. Ned Lamont made a point of stopping there during a recent walk around the city, he said.
“David Garcia is a partner and he’s an amazing artist. He works at Oliver Wolcott Tech,” Kelsey said. “The Social House is already booked for holiday parties and events.”
Social House, he said, is hard to describe in one sentence. “What I want to do, it has to touch every base. It’s the only way I know how to do business,” Kelsey said. “We took the idea of a storefront being unsuccessful, because of the internet’s (impact on retail) and took the concept of retail, entertainment and a bar, so you can shop, visit, hang out, drink ... it’s not something we’ve ever done before, or seen anywhere else.”
Customers can have food delivered from the many restaurants that line Main Street, he said, opening new opportunities for everyone. “It’s completely community oriented,” he said. “I think it’s the best start out idea I have had so far.”
Hanq’s will say goodbye to its customers Friday with food and drink specials, and all are welcome to stop by, the owners said.
To learn more about Social House, visit https://www.facebook.com/socialhousect/