As we all near the inevitable ending to FiddleGate, the rough-and-tumble saga of a popular three decade old Hollywood pub to save itself from eviction, it’s time to take stock of what we know, what we’ve heard, what’s happening now and what to expect moving forward.
By way of a recap, let’s recall the initial bombshell news about the Cat & Fiddle’s impending closure, as first reported back in October. Longtime customers, neighbors and management themselves were understandably up in arms over the seemingly sudden closure, with owner Ashlee Gardner asserting from the beginning that the folks who own the building weren’t acting in good faith to try to keep them around.
For their part, the management partnership (headed by a very vilified Jesse Shannon) that owns the land maintains that Cat & Fiddle were paying rent that was far below market value, and that they have every right to put the property they own to the best commercial use possible. They even went so far as to drop a couple of hints as to the next tenant for the space, noting that it’s going to be a "first class operator" sporting a well-known name.
So that’s what we know. But ever since word first dropped of the upcoming shutter, the rumor mill has been in full effect with possible new restaurants moving into the building. Cat & Fiddle folks maintain that it’s going to be a large national chain (Cheesecake Factory, anyone?), while other whispers point to something less sinister but equally shocking: a West Coast outpost of an exceedingly popular New York institution like The Spotted Pig. For what it’s worth, Shannon and his management consortium deny both.
In the meantime, Cat & Fiddle is gearing up for their final wind down on December 15. There’s a campaign still underway to help "save" the restaurant, though exactly what that means has always been a bit hazy — more than anything, the improvised group of supporters seem intent on trying to help them locate a new space. And if you needed any further reason to know for sure, one final time, that the place won’t be given a last-minute reprieve, here’s this post from the Cat’s Facebook page, indicating a sell-off of many of the items still left on property. Whether that’s kitchen equipment and flatware or just a silent auction for the sign out front is unclear.
Even if you don’t feel like taking home a piece of the place yourself, Cat & Fiddle closes for good on December 15, and they’re planning to blow the place out with one final party worthy of their more than three decades in Hollywood. So you’ve got between today and Monday to get in one last drink out on that beautiful patio; just remember that it’s supposed to rain buckets from now through Friday.