Another popular Downtown Anchorage nightclub, which has been both the scene of late-night fun and a source of concern over closing-time trouble, is shutting down.
Platinum Jaxx announced Tuesday that it's closing its doors this weekend after more than eight years of business. It is the third bar Downtown to close in recent years.
The Anchor Pub closed last August and Rumrunner's closed in 2012, following criminal charges of a bouncer severely beaten a bar patron.
Like the Anchor and Rumrunner's, Platinum Jaxx has run into trouble of its own, adding to the debate over bar-break violence on Downtown streets.
After the Oct. 28, 2012 shooting death of 27-year-old Said Beshirov outside the club, Platinum Jaxx beefed up its security system adding technology that takes pictures of people so the bar can keep track of who's coming and going.
Since then, an incident like the 2012 shooting hasn’t occurred again.
Anchorage police say after other bars closed they didn’t see a difference in closing-time violence. That’s why this summer APD is increasing downtown patrols.
“We have our school resource officers working in the Downtown area and coastal trails, and beginning next week we will have the CAP team working late evenings and early-morning hours to deal with the other problems,” said APD Lt. Garry Gilliam.
One of the owners of Platinum Jaxx, Paul Stockler, said in a phone interview Wednesday that his club isn’t closing because of violence but because of the Downtown scene changing and the club's loss of revenue.
Stockler said the building’s lease is up at the end of the month, and the decline in customers in recent months made him lean against extending it.
“Business has steadily declined and the Downtown scene has changed over the last eight years -- so at least for me, I didn’t feel like signing another lease,” Stockler said.
Stockler said when the club first opened in 2006, there would be a line outside for an hour every weekend, easily welcoming 1,000 customers and the club would make $30,000 in revenue each weekend.
He said the last couple of Saturdays, it’s been a ghost town and the club is lucky to get a couple hundred people to come out, only making around $1,500 in revenue per weekend.
“When other clubs popped up, Rumrunner's and the Anchor, there was this kind of Downtown circuit where four to five thousand people would come down on the weekends and basically bounce from club to club,” said Stockler.
But after the closure of Rumrunner's and the Anchor, Stockler said that dynamic changed because fewer people were visiting the area.
“The volume of people coming Downtown changed dramatically to go dancing so the business model wasn’t working anymore,” Stockler said.
Stockler did say, however, that he was proud of some of the positives Platinum Jaxx has had on the Downtown bar scene. With the rare violent episodes outside of the bar and on the streets, Stockler said he knows hundreds of people that have met at the club who are now married and have kids.
“I think people are focused on the shooting, and I don’t think enough people are focused on the number of people over the last eight years that have come down and had a good, safe time and a good time dancing,” Stockler said.