- Associated Press - Sunday, July 27, 2014

HOMER, Alaska (AP) - You just can’t keep a good bar down.

Yeah, that was the story in 1976, when the Club Bar rose from the ashes after a fire destroyed it. That was the story in 2007, when after three years Alice’s Champagne Palace, its name since 1980, once again reopened. That was the story in 2009, when after a summer hiatus, it opened for the fall.

And now, that’s the story once more, as Dr. Todd Boling and his wife Beth and partner Matthew North have announced they have purchased Alice’s Champagne Palace from English Bay Corp., which has owned the bar since 2004.

The Bolings are buying the liquor license and North and the Bolings are buying the building and property. Next door to the iconic bar on Pioneer Avenue, English Bay also owns a lot, an old building on it and the Heritage Hotel. Boling and North said they plan to open the bar as soon as they can get the liquor license transferred, probably in October or early November.

“We’re in no hurry. We’re going to open when we get it right,” North said.

The idea to buy Alice’s came about from some nostalgia the Bolings and North had about Alice’s closing.

“We were kind of sad to see it close, and then when this came up, it was too good to be true,” Boling said.

North, a financial adviser with Edward Jones, serves on the South Peninsula Hospital board of directors with Boling. The two would drive by Alice’s.

“I said, ‘I just really miss the heck out of that place.’ The conversations started,” North said.

Boling said his idea of buying Alice’s began when he thought of starting a brew pub. He looked at buildings with Angie Newby, owner of Homer Real Estate, and wondered if Alice’s would be for sale. Newby called Don Emmal, president of the English Bay Corp. board of directors.

“I told him I had a client who was a perfect fit,” she said of Boling. “A lot of the qualities that he would bring to the acquisition were things that were appealing to English Bay Corporation.”

“She did some sort of magic, because it just happened,” Boling said of Newby. “The deal as an investment made a lot of sense. The deal made sense from a real estate standpoint, just a community standpoint. I’m happy to see it happen.”

Alice’s traces its history back to 1946, when it was built next to the Heady Hotel, now called the Heritage Hotel. First run as a café, it became a bar in 1955. Alice Cochrane bought it in 1968, and then sold it to Billie Bedsworth. The Club Bar burned down Sept. 2, 1976, and reopened in its current structure on New Year’s Eve 1976.

Brad Hughes painted a mural of a phoenix flanked by two nude figures on the barn-like front. Unveiled for the New Year, the mural ignited one of Homer’s more memorable controversies when some citizens objected to the art. That lead to a rowdy community meeting, the largest ever for its time.Bedsworth agreed to have the nudes painted over.

Eventually, Cochrane reacquired the Club Bar, and named it Alice’s Champagne Palace. Dave and Trudy Ritchie bought Alice’s from her in 1998 and English Bay bought it in 2004.

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