Capital changes hands, again

The Capital Hotel closed this weekend, but may soon reopen under a new owner. The troubled bar lasted a little more than a year under the direction of Keith Jacobsen, who ran Coasters Bar & Grill before it went under in July.

The Capital Hotel closed this weekend, but may soon reopen under a new owner.

The troubled bar lasted a little more than a year under the direction of Keith Jacobsen, who ran Coasters Bar & Grill before it went under in July.

Despite its prime downtown location, the Capital has been a difficult business venture for the last decade.

Jacobsen purchased the Capital from the Whitehorse Cattle Company Ltd. in 2008 in an attempt to resuscitate the drinking hole, which had been the location of numerous drug busts since 2003.

The Capital cost Jacobsen $800,000. But he soon discovered a laundry list of repairs – decrepit floors, weak walls and ancient plumbing, to name a few.

The bar was one of the first to be built under new liquor laws no longer requiring drinking establishments to have hotel rooms, a relic of Gold Rush days.

Politicians waited 11 months before finalizing a decision to erase the old requirements last year.

“Them taking their time probably cost me $160,000,” said Jacobsen in a May 2009 interview.

There were also fewer people willing to buy stock in the Capital than he expected, he said in the interview.

In the last year, the bar has hosted numerous musical acts and game nights. Though popular, the bar was often derided for charging customers a higher-than-normal price for pints.

When Coasters went under two months ago, Jacobsen told the News the Capital was doing fine.

But on Saturday, the Capital closed its door.

That came after Whitehorse Cattle filed court documents claiming Jacobsen had missed payments of the original $800,000 last Thursday.

A court hearing between Whitehorse Cattle and Jacobsen will be held on October 5. Jacobsen could not be reached by cellphone this week.

In the meantime, a new owner has purchased the Capital, said Ken Eby, the president of Whitehorse Cattle.

“There is a new owner and I think he’s going to open it on October 1,” said Eby.

“Just two or three weeks so he can get his own feel for the place,” he said.

There were a few people interested in renting the Capital.

“We had a fairly good response for requests for new owners,” he said.

Eby wouldn’t provide the name of the new owner.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com

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