MONTCLAIR, NJ - Not only has COVID-19 claimed the lives of those near and dear to us, but it is also claiming many jobs and businesses. This week, the Montclair Social Club announced that it will no longer stay open.
Owner Jason Miller posted to social media that the Montclair Social Club "...has served its last smiling face."
Miller, who left his law profession to open the restaurant, said that he quit his day job to pursue his dream of opening a social club. More than a year ago, he opened in the former Rascal's Comedy Club, located on Bloomfield Avenue, which had been closed for nearly ten years.
In the heartfelt tribute, he wrote, "First and foremost, on behalf of MSC’s management team, we express our heartfelt gratitude to the entire dedicated MSC staff, without whom the vision could never have become the reality. We all worked hard, and we are incredibly proud of what our team accomplished, including our ambitious planned events hall which had been just months away before Covid."
In 2015, after leaving his position as general counsel for a hedge fund in New York City, Miller finally felt the time was right to fulfill his longtime dream of opening a restaurant/entertainment venue.
He took two years to plan and execute his concept, with the support of many friends, family and business associates, to bring his vision to fruition. Then after one year of construction and a full gut of renovations to include a bar,115-seat restaurant, and stage, the Montclair Social Club opened in July of 2018.
For so much planning to have gone into this vision, and COVID lasting much longer than anyone has anticipated, Miller's tough decision to permanently close, is felt in his parting words.
Miller continued, by thanking supporters, "But YOU, our dear friends, are the ones who created “The Social Club”! We just threw up the sign. This is what we will miss the most. We already do. We had an audacious dream, but YOU are the ones who embraced the dream and breathed life into it."
Miller's full announcement on the closure is as follows:
With great sadness, the time has come, too soon, for Montclair Social Club to announce that it has served its last smiling face.
What began as an intoxicating vision so many years ago and culminated in the convivial, always jammin’ “MSC” we hold dear to our hearts, had the lights forced out by the fateful pandemic which has undone so many dreams. MSC continued to grow by leaps and bounds right up to that fateful month of March. None of us expected this to be more than another heady bump along the journey, but here we are.
First and foremost, on behalf of MSC’s management team, we express our heartfelt gratitude to the entire dedicated MSC staff, without whom the vision could never have become the reality. We all worked hard, and we are incredibly proud of what our team accomplished, including our ambitious planned events hall which had been just months away before Covid. It was by sheer boorish intent that MSC thrived as an ever-evolving zag in a world that zigs, which shines as a testament to the unrelenting enthusiasm embodied by our staff.
But YOU, our dear friends, are the ones who created “The Social Club”! We just threw up the sign. This is what we will miss the most. We already do. We had an audacious dream, but YOU are the ones who embraced the dream and breathed life into it. We fed off of your energy as we worked, which made “going out on the town” for our team just “going to work”. When life and work began to meld together, we knew we were onto something.
We will NEVER forget all of the priceless memories. There are so many it’s difficult even for us to comprehend: from all of the heart-stopping live performances, to the elbow room-only dance parties which broke out in the blink of an eye, to the near countless amazing life events we had the honor to host within our walls, and to the good ole fashion joy we captured in your faces when we presented you with one of our equally scrumptious, whimsical desserts or expertly-styled cocktails. And if, to the uninitiated, there were an oft-heard utterance that might capture the spirit of MSC, it was, “Make sure you don’t leave too early ...!” Whether it was Daria Jones, Danielle, Andre, Lil Maceo, John Monnecka, Andy Mathusek, or one of MSC’s many other ubiquitous, world-class performers, our MSC family was ALWAYS in for an outrageous, mind-blowing time.
And, lest we forget the J-A-Z-Z! We loved our jazz every bit as much as our soul at MSC! Led by our famed, resident Mike Lee Trio, we might never fully grasp the breathless performances which became the norm on Wednesdays at MSC! Performances by some of jazz’s top luminaries were quite routine to those “in the know” at MSC. None of which might not have happened though without the immediate bond created between MSC and the Montclair Jazz Festival. We express our sincere thanks to Melissa Walker, Christian McBride, Susan and Chris Gifford, and the entire Jazz House Kids team for believing in MSC and contributing to help create a home for jazz at MSC. We will always cherish the incredible festival concerts we were entrusted to host and the enduring legacy this ushered in.
And, we will greatly miss our next door neighbor and partner, Montclair Film. We send much love and thanks to Tom Hall, Aran Roche, Lisa Ingersoll, and your dedicated team – thank you for the opportunity to work with you which all of us thoroughly enjoyed.
We only put our guests’ enjoyment ahead of our unending commitment to serving the best damn food, drinks and live entertainment around. Thank you so much for the memories. Who knows, perhaps we will ride again someday … Be safe.