KENSINGTON — It’s been the social hub of the community for decades, a place where many have celebrated all sorts of occasions, shared a drink or two and rocked out to bands of all genres from all corners of the Island.
Now, the Kensington Club Lounge, “where friends meet,” is closing its doors.
Saturday will be the club’s final day, news posted Tuesday on its Facebook group.
“After many great years of serving the community, it is with very heavy hearts that we make the following announcement,” read the message. “We will be sure to post the plans for the final day as soon as we have everything finalized but we think it will suffice to say that we want to go out with one hell of a bang.”
Board president Ryan Simmonds said the decision didn’t come lightly, adding the seven-member board has struggled to keep non-for-profit organization afloat.
“It was unable to sustain itself on a day-to-day basis,” Simmonds said Tuesday. “It is definitely very disappointing.”
He added the closure is a sign of the times, with an economy that is struggling and a public with little extra money to spend on a night out.
The building will be put up for sale with the hope a buyer comes forward to revamp and reopen the club, a place Simmonds called the heart of the community.
A dozen full and part-time employees worked at the club, one for at least a decade.
Membership in the club has dwindled in recent years to about 75. Those members paid yearly dues to be part of the club, receiving some perks, said Simmonds.
“It’s been operated for over 50 years and it has always been a non-profit,” he said, adding that any profits at the end of the year were funneled into local groups.
“As a board of directors we have tried everything and worked diligently in the last two years. We can’t operate any business without being able to make a profit. Our whole goal, being a non-profit group, was to raise money and help the service groups of the community.”
Events such as dances, weddings and its most popular yearly gathering — the New Year’s Levee — brought together the community, he added.
That’s why it was important to have one last “hurrah” before closing its doors.
The public is invited to come out to the club Saturday. Also, a big party is being planned that night, with a band to be announced.
The club also housed the Black Horse BBQ and Grill.
Comments on the club’s page started coming in shortly after the news was posted.
“I was soooo looking forward to checking this out when I come to the Island in September,” wrote one person.
“That's a shame. There are so few places to have some good food and some good times at anymore,” wrote another.
Simmonds, too, has fond memories of time spent at the club with friends.
“It’s going to be a big blow to the community. When we close on Saturday night it’s going to really hit home with a lot of people,” he said. “You don’t appreciate what you have until its gone.”