Purple Haze will close indefinitely until its owners can "evaluate best practices for providing a quality nightclub experience in Memphis," though they said that might not be possible now Downtown.
The move comes after four were shot inside the club Monday and after club owners won a recent court case that allowed them to keep the bar open until 5 a.m., just like other Beale Street bars.
"We understand that what happened Monday morning was a terrible event," club owners said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "As we have stated we are closing to evaluate how to move forward to provide a quality nightclub experience, however we are unsure if that is possible in the current environment in Downtown Memphis."
The statement says the club's security plan has been approved by the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Committee and it partially outlines that plan. Also, club owners say the bar has been unfairly portrayed by media and police as a hub of violence.
Here is the blue owner's statement in full:
"Purple Haze announced today that they are ceasing operations for the time being as management continues to evaluate best practices for providing a quality nightclub experience in Memphis.
As we stated earlier in the week, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting incident that happened early Monday morning at Purple Haze. As the safety and security of our guests and employees are the most important priority, we are not announcing a re-opening date as we continue to evaluate best practices in order to provide a quality nightclub experience in Memphis, Tennessee.
Our current security plan on file with the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission has been approved and details the security efforts that we have instituted for over seven and a half years.
Depending on crowd size, we employ five to seven strategically placed security guards paid at a minimum of $20 an hour and an armed off-duty police officer paid at $40 an hour that has the authority to uphold the law as needed. Our front door security officers use metal-detecting wands to check patrons as they enter the door. As our capacity is only 200 people, we believe we provide more security coverage per person than other venues in the area.
We understand that what happened Monday morning was a terrible event. As we have stated we are closing to evaluate how to move forward to provide a quality nightclub experience, however we are unsure if that is possible in the current environment in Downtown Memphis.
Many times, we have been portrayed in the news media as having been the location for violent events, when in fact the violent events happened on the street outside of Purple Haze and neighboring parking garages that we do not own or operate.
Police reports and media use Purple Haze as a landmark in the reporting of the events casting a negative light on our operations. Through our own research of on-file police incident reports, we have learned that there are clubs in the Historic District that have had significantly more incidents requiring police involvement than Purple Haze, yet seemingly less media attention.
Given the regularity of violent events that occur Downtown, we are concerned for the citizens and tourists of Memphis. We applaud Director [Michael] Rallings and the Memphis Police Department for their efforts for doing all they can to mitigate the violence, but violent events are going to happen despite everyone’s best efforts.
We urge the citizens of Memphis to take note and work with their representatives and city leaders to try to find a solution to decrease the violence in the city."