-1by Brian Clarey

Downtown Greensboro Inc. Board Chair Gary Brame announced on Monday that his long-running downtown business, Jules Antiques & Fine Art, will be closing by the end of the year.

It was a hell of a good run — nine years downtown in a tough business, opening back when that stretch of South Elm Street was being marketed as the Arts & Antiques District.

The neighborhood, now known as South End, has changed since then. Elsewhere came in, and then the Mellow Mushroom. The Railyard happened, and West Lewis Street is viable block that now boasts a brewery, makerspace, co-working space, planned distillery and, maybe soon, a grocery store. The peanut-butter-and-jelly place opened this year. And Eric Robert picked up a space on the east side of the intersection that will undoubtedly be something cool.

So the question now is: What comes next for the space formerly known as Jules Antiques?

It’s a spot meant for the public, of course, with a welcoming doorway and street frontage that would be inviting if you pried those bars off the windows. A fine courtyard at the interior adds value to the spot.

Here’s the run: We’ve got bars, and we’ve got restaurants, and we’ve got clubs. That’s not to say the space at 530 S. Elm St. shouldn’t serve alcohol or food — but it needs to be more than a bar and grill, something with cultural cachet that will have people coming and going all day or night.

The first thing that jumps to mind is another It Just Might Work written last year by then-intern Kelly Fahey: the barcade.

It’s a bar/coffeeshop with arcade games, pinball, air hockey, maybe one of those long shuffleboard tables, and they’re killing it in cities like New Orleans, Raleigh, New York and other places. And dammit, I want one here.

Not saying I’ll go that much, but surely I’ll stop by more often than I do antique stores.

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