Santa’s Pub – Bar Closing or $20K SCAM? [UPDATED]

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UPDATED: Just posted on WSMV – The GoFundMe page was not authorized  & ALL MONEY IS BEING RETURNED.

“Everybody who donated money, it will be returned to them,” said Santa’s Pub owner Elmer Irwin, who went on to say he’d post a message to Facebook advising anyone who donated money to get it back.


In the past 24 sants rules 2hours a GoFundMe page has appeared ‘claiming’ to be for Santa’s Pub – a supposed effort to keep the dive bar that a lot of East Nashvillian’s love from closing. Is it real? Is it even for Santa’s Pub? Or is it all just a scam? There are no official mentions or links from any officially recognized Santa’s Pub social media accounts to the GoFundMe page or any reference at all. Some posts associated with the GoFundMe page indicate that Santa’s Pub could close as soon as this Thursday (5 days from now) if they don’t raise $20,000! We can’t imagine anything that’s $20K that’s SUDDENLY due in 5 days – their rent is no where near that amount, and unless they’ve not paid any bills in the past 6 months, nothing could possibly add up to a 5 day close if 20K isn’t raised that quickly. Unless maybe he gambled the business license on a Superbowl bet? Who knows. What if they raise the $20K and continue to operate – we will never really know if it was needed or not – or just a cash grab from the owners, if really even from the owners, from their customer base. There is no where near enough info for this to be legitimate. Things need to be MUCH more transparent for this to be legitimate. The small explanation on the GoFundMe page simply says:

Santa’s Pub located in Nashville, Tennessee, is close to shutting down, possibly by Thursday! Due to expenses and bills and taxes and structural damage to the establishment, we’re here to ask for your help. Santa is one of the most generous and kind human beings in the world for anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of meeting him. It’s him and nothing else that makes Santa’s Pub one of the best bars in the world. Anything helps we appreciate any donation. Who loves ya baby?

santas rules

We do know their GoFundMe page has raised $995 as of Noon on Sunday at time of this article update, donated by 26 people. Their stated goal is $20,000 – and we’re still trying to figure out why a properly ran commercial enterprise would need to have $20,000 on hand within 5 days or have to close their doors – that just isn’t the way things work. Even their POs would have several weeks on them, and their landlord would take weeks if not months for a commercial eviction process to be completed – so it will be interesting to see exactly whose pocket this money is funneling into at the end of the day. And also, it’s setup on a personal GoFundMe Account, which is considered person to person gifts, and are not taxed by the IRS – which will make for an interesting conversion when/if the money is transferred onto the commercial books of the business and how it’s categorized.

santas a cowboy

*IF* Santa’s Pub is closing – then it certainly deserves to be closing. After all, if a dive bar hasn’t bothered to update their own social media page in over 4 MONTHS, what can they really expect? Their last social media post on Facebook was last year, in October 2015. We understand that a ‘dive’ bar has certain characteristics that some consider charming, like depending on word of mouth for business, etc… but if you’re 20K in the hole, then there’s a much bigger issue here, and you don’t know the first thing about running a business.

santas pub logoMismanaged is only one of many words we would use to describe this bar. They only take cash, so there is no credit card overheard cost. They do not have an indoor ATM in a cash only bar – they are missing out on a HUGE % cut of every ATM withdrawal – how can you not see the clear opportunity here for a captive audience trying to purchase your product/service? there is no wonder this bar is failing.  Add in a huge cloud of cigarette smoke in the bar, and an owner that kicks customers out who slip up and say a 4-letter “curse” word in their private conversations at the bar, and you have nothing but a recipe for disaster. We have no clue how they’ve stayed in business this long.

santa bw

Is Santa’s Pub really in danger of closing in the next 4 days if they don’t raise $20K? We call bullshit on this one – though we would certainly not miss the place if it closed up shop. Sure it was on ‘OK’ dive bar for karaoke and super cheap beer – but overall the place is/was a mismanaged business that has no place in the future nightlife of Nashville.

sants pub pin

Whether Santa’s pub is really closing as soon as Thursday – or in the next few weeks – or even if they’re closing at all, we do think it’s past time for this bar to be over with. We’re still confused why a bar would have to have so much due within five days to be able to keep the doors open. Unless they’re too broke to purchase beer – and there’s no way they need $20K for kegs – there’s no legitimate reason to need so much so quickly. This sounds more and more like a scam the more we l0ok into it.. or at the very least, a horribly mismanaged commercial enterprise. Is it an employee that’s disgruntled and attempting to use the name recognition to pull a fast one over on the bar’s name and customer base? It is just an owner that’s using the bar proceeds for personal use/betting/etc? Is it just a horribly mismanaged commercial enterprise that is belly up and is attempting to give it’s owner some cushion before it goes belly up and he runs away with the donations? We’ll let East Nashville patrons be the judge – or we can all just wait a few days and see how it plays out. We’re certain this story isn’t over yet – and there is more that we will learn in the coming days.

Call / Text Kurt NOW! 615-479-0550

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14 Thoughts to “Santa’s Pub – Bar Closing or $20K SCAM? [UPDATED]”

  1. Notanidiot?

    It’s not in East Nashville. Atleast try to google something before you post about it…..blerg

    1. Gabby Rivers

      our intention was to say that it was a favorite of ‘East Nashvillian’s’ not that it was located in east nashville, apologies for the confusion.

  2. Wes

    “Sure it was on ‘OK’ dive bar for karaoke and super cheap beer – but overall the place is/was a mismanaged business that has no place in the future nightlife of East Nashville.”

    Cool story. Welcome to Nashville. You obviously moved here recently, otherwise you would know that Santa’s isn’t remotely close to East Nashville.

    1. Gabby Rivers

      our intention was to say that it was a favorite of ‘East Nashvillian’s’ not that it was located in east nashville, apologies for the confusion.

  3. You're an idiot

    I can’t even read this trash. The link that is posted is by one of the guys that work there. It is a DIVE bar and many of them don’t take credit cards. That’s part of its charm. You also don’t know any of the reasoning for why they are needing the money, so why write an article having no information? You should maybe give them a call to answer your lingering questions. What a pointless post.

    1. Gabby Rivers

      we did give them a call.. in fact two people that work there have said there are no financial issues and no problems, and this was done without their authorization.

  4. Chance Ricketts!

    My mother and Santa are two of the most genuine bar owners who will ever open a bar in nashville and I hope you feel great about your self for the trash you are writing about my family. It must be easy to sit behind your little blog and act like you know anything about anything and where as my family chose not to put there business out there one of thier loyal friends and employees took it upon them selves to ask for help because I assure you santa is a man of complete integrity and will not ask anyone for help!!! And I for one as will with thousands of others from business and club owners to my family’s patrons of the bar will do all we can to keep our local piece of history alive.. But I promise you I hope you sleep well speaking the insinuations about my family because there legacy will be here long remembered after your rudeness!!

  5. Frank Candor

    “Santa is a man of complete integrity”

    Really? A man who has repeatedly lied about “going overseas and fighting in The Vietnam War.” A man who has lied in interviews about owning other bars and being shot.
    Is that the new definition of integrity?

    Sounds like an old ruse of a sad story and a bail out.

    Great article, by the way.

  6. elexis

    Whether it is closing or not, whether it is a scam or not, is what this article should be about. I feel like it was unnecessary to take this topic of a GoFundMe scam to state your personal opinions on Santa’s and how you think their business is being ran terribly. There is a reason it has lasted this long, its a staple in Nashville and was on maxims top 19 dive bars in America which for what you consider a “horribly mismanaged commercial enterprise” is a a lot better than a million other greatly managed commercial enterprises. Santa’s has character, any other bar can have all the things you said Santa’s does not but would never get a second glance and would never last as long as Santa’s because there is no character. Just because it is not your cup of tea does not mean it is not for many other locals and tourist. Personally it is my dad’s favorite place to come when he comes down to Nashville. And it is also a place that most people are told what to expect before going there. It is not like a broadway bar that you see and walk into. Santa’s is not a place you are just going to stumble upon, if you find Santa’s it is because you have been told about it and also told what to expect; like it was done to me and any other tourist that others and I tell to go there. It is sad to see a site that i go to often to read articles post something so hateful towards a place many people love. Best of luck in your future articles.

  7. Cajolery Swindlers

    Wow. Is this greed or stupidity?
    Santa of Santa’s Pub is at risk of losing his bar due to thousands of dollars owed on taxes, and his sister, Nana of Nana’s Diner in Nolensville, is being sued for not paying her workers thousands of dollars in overtime.
    Didn’t this family learn any business ethics before opening these dives?

    And people actually fork over their hard earned money to online funds for such foolishness?

  8. People need to get there stories straight. Santa’s is not closeing anytime soon
    You need to stop using other peoples comments from another magazine. I’v never said
    anything I can’t back up.
    Read the story then her remarks I got engaged went in the Army and went overseas. Which I did. Came back found Angelina in 2000 got back together. Was married in that time with
    kids. Which I’m friend s with on face book. Had two bar s one I shot in off Broadway.One on Spence Lane. Little Jimmy Dickens band played for me and Billy Cox even dropped in and played with them. I can back up everything I say.The woman that made comment wouldn’t even sign her real name.She owens little place to I believe in karma what goes around comes around.Could say some things but two wrongs don’t make a right.Santa’s is doing great. What was done was done out of love was just trying to help me. But everything is good

  9. Zilla

    So… If Santa’s has no financial issues why are you asking your patrons for 20+ thousand dollars… Sounds like a load of crap to me. It doesn’t take a genious to know that a cash business evades taxes….

  10. Who ever writes this crap wish you would come see me. You have never called me as you said you did so be man enough to come talk to me. Or take this crap off.

  11. Santa, never been to your place, sounds like a road trip I need to take. Just remember, when you wrestle with a pig, all you do us get muddy and the pig loves it! Some folks ain’t worth your time. We’ll wishes all around. Bill in KY

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