Buoy Tavern, a longtime dive bar in Morro Bay, has closed as a result of increasing rent prices.
The business officially closed its doors at 2490 Main St. on June 30, a month before its lease was up for renewal.
Buoy Tavern owner Brian Rozario chose not to renew his lease because he and the landlord could not come to an agreement over price, according to lead bartender Kelly Rae.
"(The price increase) was pretty astronomical for a little local dive bar in Morro Bay," Rae said.
Rozario could not be reached for comment.
Rae said Rozario did not wish to disclose the price increase or the name of his landlord.
She added that Rozario did not harbor harsh feelings toward the landlord — and although he is sad, the bar has closed, he is looking forward to retirement.
Rozario bought Buoy Tavern in 2008.
Rae said he transformed the bar from a rowdy spot with a reputation for fights and noise complaints into a friendly neighborhood hang-out.
"There's a sense of camaraderie there and a real feel of family,” Rae said. “That's why I stayed for 10 years and wasn’t planning on leaving until after I finish (nursing) school.”
William Wheeler, a Morro Bay resident who has lived across the street from Buoy Tavern for two years, said that he's heard many rumors about what the landlord will do with the building, from making it a Starbucks coffee shop to keeping it as a bar. However, none of those rumors have been confirmed.
"It's actually been a good bar to live behind," Wheeler said. "You know, I'm not going to miss the drunks running out of here. But that was actually a nice little place and you have a lot of people from the neighborhood that (would) come down here and have a cocktail."
Several community members shared their thoughts on Facebook about the tavern closing — including Avila Carpentry owner Nathaniel Avila, who wrote, "I'm going to miss the hell out of you, Buoy."
Rae said she's grateful for the overwhelming support the bar has received.