Even though Saturday marked the last day the Artist's Escape Cafe, Bar and Arts Gallery was open for business, regulars hope to carry its essence next door.
The Artist's Escape, located at 137 E. Franklin St., had a liquidation sale Saturday morning, selling most of the furniture and leaving much of the cafe bare.
"Everyone has a feeling of sadness," said Rafael Tosado, a friend of the former owners, who was helping serve drinks for the night.
But in May, regulars hope to open a cafe that also will cater to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, and its friends. The new cafe will be located in a space next door, which has been vacant since Rock Art closed its doors.
Meredith Weiss, one of the former owners, said rent for the Artist's Escape is $3,000, and the space next door would rent for around $1,500. Conveniently, the patrons already had raised around $1,700.
Fund-raiser Lee Davis said the new place will have a different name but that not much else will change. It will serve only desserts but will maintain the traditional coffee shop atmosphere and will serve beer and wine.
"It will be inspired by the ideal created at the Artist's Escape," Davis said.
The Artist's Escape showcased local art, live music, coffee, food and a lounge with couches and a jukebox.
Weiss compared the closing night to the last day of high school. "People were exchanging numbers and e-mails," she said. "It was the last time we will all be meeting here."