The Penn State nightlife scene just lost a hot spot.
Less than seven months after it opened its doors, Duo Nightclub, located at 129 Pugh St., has been evicted. Onward State reported last week that owner Parag Parikh and his company P&P at PSU, LCC, failed to pay $12,000 in back rent and was served an eviction notice. According to a sign placed on the door of Duo yesterday afternoon, Parikh never acted on the notice and possession of the building is back in the hands of Sammark Inc. owned by Tony Sapia.
Rumors swirled at the end of last semester that the nightclub was planning to close. Those rumors came true as Duo closes its doors less than seven months after it opened.
Since Onward State’s report last week, five former workers at Duo reached out independently to us, claiming that Parikh owes most of the waitstaff a month’s worth of pay and that it was not uncommon for paychecks to bounce. The former staff members who reached out did not agree for Onward State to use their name but they are considering legal action.
It is yet to be seen what will move in to the building on Pugh St. that has seen so much change over the last decade. The building is owned by Tony Sapia’s Sammark Inc. Tony’s Big Easy and Lulu’s — both defunct Sapia-owned establishments — were formerly located where Duo is now. The locations were plagued with liquor law woes, including happy hour violations, minors law violations, and most notably, a 2006 fatal stabbing outside of Club Love, which preceded Lulu’s, that resulted in the death of Penn State student Michael Donahue.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board revoked Sapia’s liquor license, calling Sammark bars a “risk to public safety.” After several appeals, Sapia was forced to sell the license, but several PLCB penalties stuck. Sapia was able to keep the building but the owner of the new license would be forced to limit drink specials, stop alcohol sales at 1 a.m., and make sure 75-percent of revenue came from food sales — an impossible task for a college nightclub like Duo.
A new establishment will likely need to be independent of Sapia and primarily a restaurant if it wants to have its license renewed. The current liquor license is still listed in Parikh’s name in the Centre County database.
Neither Sapia or Parikh could be reached for comment. Sapia’s lawyer Robert Rayman, declined to comment in case there are appeals.