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Ill-fated city club closes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A notorious nightclub in downtown Charleston appears to have closed for good without any fanfare.

The front of a building that formerly held the Sky Lounge at 26 Capitol St. has been covered by a large yellow banner advertising "bar/restaurant available for lease."

Inside, the building appears to be empty, save for a few neon signs advertising alcoholic beverages hanging in the second-story windows.

The establishment has been closed for several weeks, but its business and liquor licenses are still active, according to state government databases.

Sky Lounge was founded in October 2010 by Morgan Pauley, with the promise of an "upscale" establishment.

But that element never came to fruition.

Instead, the nightclub became the site of numerous violent incidents during the brief period it was open.

Most recently, a person was stabbed inside the bar during a large brawl in August. In March, a West Side shooting was believed to be a retaliation for a shooting at Sky Lounge in September 2012 that injured three people.

The 2012 shooting resulted in the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration temporarily suspending the bar's liquor license.

After that incident, Pauley said she would re-open the bar under the name, "Martini Bar." While the trade name was filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, the change never fully happened.

Pauley did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Another phone number listed for Sky Lounge did not work.

According to her Facebook page, Pauley has moved to Miami and was selling what appeared to be the bar from Sky Lounge.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has been critical of the management and violent incidents at the Sky Lounge.

"Sky Lounge never contributed anything positive to that block," he said Thursday. "We're glad it's closed."

Jones said he didn't want to issue future permits for bars or clubs on Capitol Street "unless somebody makes a huge investment in a kitchen."

"There's nothing positive for the city," he said of establishments like Sky Lounge.

The closing of Sky Lounge comes after another ill fated bar, the Impulse Nightclub, closed in February when that club's owner voluntarily surrendered its liquor license after a stabbing occurred inside. After Impulse closed, a local entrepreneur built a second iFITT24 gym location in the space at 205 Capitol St.

So far, no development for the property has been announced.

The building that housed Sky Lounge is also the home of Smallridge Enterprises, which owns the property and has been in existence since 1984. A phone call to the business wasn't immediately returned Thursday.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4817. Follow him on Twitter @DMLocalGov and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ DailyMailLocalGov.


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