Whisky River at St. Johns Town Center closes

Staff told Friday nightclub would not reopen; given final paychecks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Whisky River, a popular night spot at the St. Johns Town Center, closed abruptly on Friday.

"The management company for Whisky River Jacksonville has decided to close the store after four years in Jacksonville," Dana Nigro, a spokeswoman for the restaurant, said in a statement to Channel 4.

While it was business as usual on Thursday night, the employees were called together Friday and told the business would not reopen. By afternoon some of the estimated 40-50 workers were picking up their final paycheck at the Suite nightclub across the street.

After Whisky River closed its doors, it was the only empty club Friday night in the St. Johns Town Center. Many people walking by the night spot were surprised that the business was locked up and closed down for good.

"I'm just blown away, don't know what to think," said one patron.

Rosie Nino, who worked at Whisky River, had no idea that she wouldn't have to work Friday night until Friday morning.

"I was working last night. We're packed," said Nino. "First college night and I don't know, got a call this morning that we were closed today."

The popular nightclub, partly owned by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., told their employees without notice that they were shutting down. The management company is Bar Management Group, based in Charlotte, N.C. 

Nino said she showed up to get her last paycheck Friday night.

"What are you going to do?" asked Channel 4's Scott Johnson.

"I have no idea," said Nino.

Erikka Nicholson told Channel 4 she's concerned about the birthday party she had scheduled at Whisky River.

"I'm supposed to have my party here tomorrow, and I'm supposed to have my party and they're not here," said Nicholson.

Nicholson said she's not sure what she'll do.

"I think it's a sad, sad situation," said Nicholson. "You have patrons that are supposed to come, and I have to cancel and you don't have a sign, you don't have anything."

Channel 4 reached out to local managers of Whisky River for a comment, but phone calls were not returned.

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