Infamous Egan’s Bar Closing After 42 Years in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
One of Tuscaloosa's most iconic and longest-standing establishments will host one last party before permanently closing later this month.
Egan's Bar, the infamous dive bar at the end of the Tuscaloosa Strip on University Boulevard, is shutting its doors after 42 years.
Since the bar opened in 1979, Egan's has been clear about what it offers patrons: thick smoke, dim lights and loud music. For decades, it has served as a home away from home for townies, professors, students and visitors alike. Countless bands have played intimate shows at the bar, and untold thousands of Crimson Tide fans have sung "Yea, Alabama!" there following every Bama touchdown on Saturdays in the fall.
For decades, the bar was run owned and operated by Bob Weatherly, who stepped away from the business in 2018 and handed the reins to a local beer distributor, Mike McWhirter.
In a Monday afternoon interview with the Thread, McWhirter said he originally intended to run the place for five or six years before retiring, but fate had other ideas. McWhirter said a few weeks ago, he was approached by Chris Coleman and Mac Maddox about selling Egan's.
Coleman has worked at the Red Shed since 2017 and has tended bar in several other Tuscaloosa establishments over the years. He was also one of the original founders of the Wheelhouse Sports Pub in Temerson Square, but not longer has an ownership interest there. Maddox owns and operates Pawn Royale in Northport.
McWhirter said Coleman and Maddox asked him earlier this month if he would be interested in selling the bar and he realized he was.
"It never occurred to me to sell the bar so soon until Chris and Mac approached me, but I realized it was the right thing at the right time for me," McWhirter said.
McWhirter said his son has recently launched a business in Fort Worth, Texas, and had previously floated the idea of Mike getting involved with it. He also has a young granddaughter there and ultimately decided that spending more time with his family was more important and valuable to him than continuing to run Egan's Bar.
Egan's will host one more night of live music and drink specials Saturday and host a dart league competition Sunday before McWhirter hands over the keys to Coleman and Maddox and the decades-old bar closes for good.
"It's going to be bittersweet to look up and not see the Egan's name over the door of that bar, but at the same time, things change," McWhirter said. "Egan's has always been like a family, and I appreciate the support of the people were here just about every day as well as the incredible staff. I'm really going to miss them because they were not just my customers and employees, they were my friends as well."
McWhirter also said one of his conditions for selling the bar was that any current employee who wants to stay on with the new ownership would be allowed to do so.
As for what's next, Coleman told the Thread that he and Maddox will take ownership of the bar Monday and close for a week to clean and redecorate its interior.
If all goes well, the doors will reopen a week later on August 9th under the new name "Unique."
"We're going to be changing it up, and it's going to be a new adventure for us there," Coleman said. "It's nothing against Egan's and its history, but we have a lot of different concepts we want to try and we think that building is the perfect place for it."
Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more details on Unique and other developments on the Strip as soon as they're available.