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Associated Press: Jul 3, 2002: Legendary Austin Nightclub Closes By The Associated Press

Austin, Texas - Wed Jul 3, 2002 - AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Hole in the Wall, a nightclub near the University of Texas campus that was a fixture in Austin's live music scene, has closed after 28 years.

The Hole in the Wall shut down Sunday after a last night of business that turned into a party for regulars, musicians and newcomers.

The club's lease expired at the end of June, and the building is for sale for $972,000. Renting month to month was an option, but the bar's liquor license was up for renewal in August.

"The combination makes it difficult," said co-owner Debbie Rombach.

Over the past month, some prominent musicians revisited the Hole for a fund-raising festival, donating their take to help the bar pay its debts, which mostly includes back payroll taxes.

The concert series, called 30 Days in the Hole, aimed to raise more than $15,000.

The profits barely made a dent in the debt, Rombach said.

She said she might reopen the Hole in another location if she can find a place where the rent isn't too high. The Hole opened in 1974 as a neighborhood bar.

Early on it was largely supported by the video arcade in the back room.

From the first year, it was a music spot. Nanci Griffith played there in 1974, earning $15 a night, along with tips and drinks. Steve Earle, John Reed and Charlie Sexton have left their musical footprints there.

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