Irish native Aisling Jumper and her fiancé Scott Mathews-Novelli, both 32, paid $14,000 for their August 9 wedding at Brooklyn hip hotspot reBar only to find that the venue was abruptly shut down due to bankruptcy.
“ReBar is closed and bankrupt. DO NOT ENTER,” read the sign greeting workers at the pub on Friday.
The unexpected closure has left 53 employees without a job and many panicked couples who had booked weddings there.
Aisling and Scott had met with reBar staffers only the day before to iron out final details and were given no warning that the place was about to be shuttered.
“My family is literally flying in from all over the world,” Jumper told The NY Post. “Our date is not movable. We’re getting married that weekend.”
Later on Friday, she said she was thankful that the reBar workers were trying their best to help them.
“The staff are being amazing. They don’t know what happened but are doing everything they can to make it right,” she said.
There are nearly 200 weddings booked at the 147 Front St gastropub from Sunday to several months out, according to staffers. One couple, scheduled to get married there on Saturday, were able to move their wedding across the street to Buca di Beppo, whose staff jumped in to help them out.
“We’re trying to do it just one wedding at a time,” distraught manager Dina Thaverne, 36, said. “Everyone got hit at the same time.”
Local businesses, such as Brooklyn Winery, Superfine, 3 West Club and Forino, have offered to help couples left in the lurch by reBar by offering them a break on their bills.
ReBar’s owner, Jason Stevens, sent an email at 6:19 a.m. on Friday to his managers, telling them to get rid of their keys and asking them to forward the bad news to the rest of the staff.
“He apparently took off with whatever money the business had and no one has been able to get in touch with him,” said Thaverne.
“He took the money and ran,” she said. “If you think about it, there are people that are calling in who had weddings ranging from $6,000 to $35,000. They’re expecting to have a wedding here. It looks like that’s not going to happen.”
Orlando St Preux, another manager who has worked at reBar for seven years was shocked.
“Business has been great, we have weddings every weekend. We didn’t see any of this coming. We took deposits and everything from people yesterday. If I saw a bride and groom yesterday and I knew it was coming, I would’ve told them don’t give your money,” he said.
To make matters worse for reBar staffers, Friday was payday.
Bride-to-be Aisling Jumper sympathized with the workers, saying, “It sucks for them. It’s not a fly-by-night place. It’s an established business.”
Jumper, who is a lawyer, said that she and her fiancé plan to take legal action to try and get their money back.
“We’re starting back at square one,” she said. “We’re supposed to be almost done with it. We have no money. We’re broke."
Here's an advert for reBar's wedding service posted to YouTube just a week ago:
Top movies about Northern Ireland's Troubles