From grand opening to a very surprise and hush-hush grand closing: The cat's meow of downtown Santa Fe, Rouge Cat, closed its doors Saturday night.
Surprising regular patrons and performers of the club with an Irish-exit of a goodbye, the neon-pink sign on the corner of Marcy and Lincoln has lit up for the last time Saturday night.
As of Sunday, Rouge Cat was gutted by former resident DJ's Steven "Samma Lone" and Oona Bender. "Everything that was in there is either in storage or at Oona's house right now," says Steven.
The club was leased month to month to Heidi Spar, the owner. Though sources admit to SFR that the club has been for sale for a long time, no one saw the close coming. Spar has not returned SFR's calls.
"It was abrupt and quick and we were all totally shocked,” says Ashley Hatfield, the host of ALMA, a weekly open-mic series that has been held at Rouge Cat on Wednesdays since August. A longtime regular at Rouge, Hatfield’s late husband, Justin, had been a DJ at the nightspot for the past two years before passing last May.
Citing a nightlife scene that’s been on the decline for the past three years, local DJ Mark Fortin-Reed, says, “I don’t know the legalities of it but I personally believe a big part of it was that people did not support other people’s shows.” Fortin-Reed, the host of the monthly Thursday dance party “Lunar Sessions” with DJ John Luna, will continue at the Den. "I was djing at the VFW when I heard," says Fortin-Reed, "and I cried a little."
While rumors are circulating the club will re-open following a remodel, sources have yet to confirm whether the Rouge Cat has hung up its disco shoes for good. For now, fans have taken to the club's Facebook wall to mourn the loss:
“What the hell! This sucks, that was my favorite place. This was the classiest place, our community needs you, dang.” –Kat Siler
“Yesterday [Saturday] was so bittersweet. It was like clearing out ones office.” Steven SkeetTraxx Incrocci
“Like all true love it withered on the vine.”-Mike Hinnenkamp
“Bella is very sad to say that the Rouge Cat is closed. Thank you for giving Bella a chance to shine. Thanks to the entire staff. I love you!!!”-Bella Gigante.
Featured image via Facebook.