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Three Red River Music Venues Close Permanently Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

Barracuda, Scratchouse, and Plush all shuttered in downtown Austin

A concert at Barracuda
A concert at Barracuda
Daniel Cavazos/Barracuda/Facebook

Three Red River music venues and bars are closing permanently in Austin, due to business hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic: indie music venue Barracuda, dance club and DJ spot Plush, and hip-hop venue Scratchouse.

Barracuda announced that “the time has come for Barracuda Club to bid adieu,” in its shuttering message on Facebook today. All forthcoming concerts are going to be rescheduled, and sales from its current stock of merchandise will be donated to the Austin Justice Coalition. Owners Jason McNeely, Johnny Sarkis, and Max Vandever opened the venue on 611 East Seventh Street in 2015.

Plush closed because of the “combination of ever raising prices and new regulations” which were “just too much,” according to a Facebook post by general manager Ryan Cunningham on May 23.

The plan, for now, is to eventually relocate the 617 Red River Street club to somewhere else that isn’t downtown Austin, according to the post. It was known for showcasing DJs since it opened in 2000 by co-owner Melissa Villarreal.

Scratchouse is now closed permanently because of “rent demands” during what would’ve been its temporary closure since March, according to manager Matthew Robertson. The 617 East Seventh Street venue took over what had been music venue Holy Mountain in 2016.

All three venues had closed down temporarily in mid-March, as part of the citywide shuttering of businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. During this time, Plush collected donations for its staff during this period through Venmo. Barracuda has been holding virtual concerts and its merchandise sales were benefitting its employees.

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