leather ballBy Bob Vitale

Rumor Patrol: Exile is not closing.

Not. Closing.

“I keep getting asked, ‘When’s your last day?’,” said Rob Wagner, owner of the bear and leather bar in Columbus’ Italian Village.

His answer? “I’m not bailing out. We’re not closing down.”

Here’s how the rumor got started…

Wagner used to own Exile’s building at 893 N. 4th St., which sits across the street from newly built apartments and condos in an area close to Downtown and the Short North that’s enjoying a rediscovery.

He sold the property in November to a new owner who plans to rebuild on the land, meaning the current Exile would be razed.

But here’s the rest of the story…

Redevelopment plans likely will take a few years to come to fruition, which keeps Exile in business and in place for a while.

Wagner has an option to rent space in whatever is eventually built to replace the bar’s current home on N. 4th Street, and he plans to find a temporary home for Exile whenever construction would begin.

“We would close on Sunday and open on Tuesday at 4p [Exile is closed on Mondays] at a new location,” Wagner said. “I’ll have movers all set up to relocate the bar in a 36-hour period.”

If he likes the temporary home – he’s not looked for one or thought about it yet because no timetables have been set – Wagner might keep Exile wherever it ends up. Or it might move back to any new building at its old address.

Until then, Wagner said, BackTrax and Leather Night and Bear/Biker Happy Hour and everything else will continue as always.

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